Bottas dominated a race of mixed strategies, taking his first victory since Russia last year. Verstappen retakes the lead as Red Bull take a double podium at Istanbul Park.
It was a wet start at Istanbul Park, with all cars starting on the intermediates. Bottas, Verstappen and Leclerc had a storming start, maintaining their positions. Alonso was unable to make it through the first corner unscathed and was relegated to the back of the grid after spinning. Gasly received a penalty for the collision.
The drama wasn’t over for Alonso just yet, the Spaniard caused Schumacher to spin out on the first lap after tapping the rear right of the Haas car. Like Gasly, Alonso recieved a penalty.
Hamilton started to make moves early, dispatching Vettel for 9th early on. However, he struggled to take Tsunoda for 8th. It took 8 laps for the Briton to get past with a superb move through turn 3. A lap later he was p7 after overtaking Stroll.
On lap 13, Hamilton breezed past Norris to take 6th, setting 3 consecutive fastest laps in the process. This now bought him up to the back of Gasly.
Despite starting from the back of the grid, it only took 14 laps for Sainz get into the top 10. Albeit with a very bullish move on Vettel.
Mixed Up Strategies
Ricciardo was the first to blink, pitting as a test on lap 23. He was 16th at the time with nothing to lose. Initially, there was no clear advantage to the new tyres. But, 4 laps later, his times started to match the leading drivers.
Slow motion footage showed the intermediates closer to resembling slicks than their original compound. Alonso was the second car to stop, pushing him down to 18th.
Hamilton finally caught up to Perez on lap 31, at this point, Hamilton was 14s behind Verstappen. Perez was defending well and, similarly to Tsunoda, Hamilton wasn’t able to get past straight away. Then, there was a phenomenal battle throughout the entirity of sector 3 and into turn 1. The cars were side by side without touching, each driver having just enough room. But Perez made a superb lunge into turn 1 to keep his position.
Verstappen was the first of the front runners to pit, the Red Bull coming in on lap 37. Although he lost a position, Red bull called it perfectly, with Verstappen coming out just in front of Perez and Hamilton. Verstappen had essentially recieved a free stop from his championship rival.
Vettel suprised everyone, switching onto the medium compound tyre. This attempt was doomed from the start and he pitted again a lap later, after struggling around the track.
Bottas and Perez pitted next, both enjoying clean stops. Hamilton was now released from one Red Bull, but wasn’t able to start closing on Verstappen.
Late Race changes
Leclerc now inherited the lead and questions were being raised as to whether he would attempt to complete the entire race on one set of tyres.
Hamilton was told to pit for new intermediates, but ignored the call, staying out on track. 2 laps later, Hamilton was starting to believe that the track might suit dry tyres before the race ended.
Bottas was all over the back of Leclerc with just over 10 laps to go, it didn’t take long for the Finn to retake the lead, lunging past the Monagasque into turn 1. Leclerc stopped a lap later, coming out behind Hamilton, with 8 laps to close the gap. Hamilton responded with a pitstop, dropping him behind Leclerc and Perez.
Out of nowhere, Perez managed to squeeze his way past Leclerc, stealing the last podium position away. A lap later, the storming Hamilton closed up to Leclerc. But, his pace dissapated and Gasly was now right up on Hamilton. Hamilton was very vocal about this on the radio, his emotions spilling over.
The cars remained in formation, however as Bottas took his 10th victory in dominant fashion. Red Bull’s one-off livery had a doiuble appearance on the podium as Verstappen retakes the championship lead by 6 points. Leclerc was unlucky to miss out on the podium, but took good points against McLaren. Hamilton finished 5th, despite running 3rd, ahead of Gaslt and Norris. Sainz did well to recover to 8th, while Stroll and Ocon rounded out the top 10.
Full race Results:
- Verstappen +14.584
- Perez +33.471
- Leclerc +37.814
- Hamilton +41.812
- Gasly +44.292
- Norris +47.213
- Sainz +51.526
- Stroll +82.108
- Ocon + 1 Lap
- Giovinazzi + 1 Lap
- Raikkonen + 1 Lap
- Ricciardo + 1 Lap
- Tsunoda + 1 Lap
- Russell +1 Lap
- Alonso + 1 Lap
- Latifi + 1 Lap
- Vettel + 1 Lap
- Schumacher +2 Laps
- Mazepin + 2 Lap
It’s to the Circuit of the Americas now as we enter the final 6 races of this enthralling season. To hear more news and race reviews, check out the new Overtake Motorsport podcast ‘Where the Hell is KERS?’ available on audio platforms.
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