Verstappen takes F1 championship lead after Bottas wins Turkish Grand Prix

Red Bull driver six points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in title race

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas won his first race of the season as he took the chequered flag at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen reclaiming the championship lead.

Verstappen finished second to take a six-point lead in the driver's race ahead of Bottas' teammate Lewis Hamilton, who could only finish fifth.

Sergio Perez, in the other Red Bull, took third with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in fourth.

Mercedes' seven times world champion Hamilton went from 11th on the grid to fifth but was unhappy that a late pitstop denied him a possible podium finish. He had been two points ahead of Verstappen going into the race.

"It's been a while, but feels good. I think from my side probably one of the best races I've had ever," said Bottas, who started on pole. "Apart from that one little slide, everything was under control."

The victory was the Finn's first since Russia in September last year.

Verstappen, who started on the front row, had a quiet race and said it was all about tyre management.

"I'm happy to be on the podium. I think it's been close the whole year and I'm pretty sure in Austin it will be a good battle with Mercedes, so we just have to keep pushing, keep trying," he said.

Hamilton might have also been on the podium but Mercedes called him in for a late stop from third place for a fresh set of intermediate tyres with the track drying.

"We shouldn't have come in man. Massive [tyre] graining. I told you," said the angry Briton in heated radio exchanges.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff later said on Sky Sports News: "We balanced between pitting or taking a bit of a gamble and finishing third.

"It was measured and obviously he didn't see how much he and Leclerc were dropping off. He was one-and-a-half seconds off the pace. In the car you have a limited amount of information.

"The correct call would probably have been taking it very conservative and pitting when everyone pitted for the intermediate, coming out behind Perez, probably behind Leclerc and then fighting with them on track for P3. But this is only in hindsight after the race."

Spaniard Carlos Sainz was voted driver of the day for going from the back of the grid, due to power unit penalties, to eighth for Ferrari.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly was sixth with Lando Norris seventh for McLaren and Lance Stroll ninth for Aston Martin.

Updated: October 10th 2021, 2:37 PM