Valtteri Bottas on his way to victory Sunday in the Turkish Grand Prix. (LAT Images Photo)
Valtteri Bottas on his way to victory Sunday in the Turkish Grand Prix. (LAT Images Photo)

Bottas Sails To Turkish Grand Prix Triumph

TUZLA, Turkey – Valtteri Bottas powered to his first Formula 1 victory of the season during Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park while the battle for the championship continued between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas, who started from the pole after Hamilton was demoted to 11th after taking a new power unit prior to the race, took command at the start of the race that was run in damp conditions and continued in that position until making his pit stop on lap 38. 

Charles Leclerc inherited the lead and, for a time, it appeared he was prepared to gamble on not stopping for tires in the damp conditions. However, he gave up that gamble and pitted on lap 48 to hand the lead back to Bottas.

That put Bottas back in control and he held the top spot for the remainder of the race, eventually beating Verstappen to the finish by more than 14 seconds.

“Today was probably one of the best races I’ve had ever – apart from that one little slide, everything was under control,” Bottas said. “The car has been fantastic in every possible condition this weekend and I had great confidence with it. It’s not easy to choose the strategy here with these conditions – when to stop, which tire to choose – but I’m glad everything went smoothly for me. When there’s only one drying line it doesn’t take much for you to go off, you need maximum focus all through the race and so today feels like a well-earned victory. My first win of the year too which feels great and I was happy to bring it home. It also took points off Red Bull so great for me and the team.”

The runner-up finish by Verstappen promoted him back into the Formula 1 championship lead by six points ahead of Hamilton, who finished fifth. Hamilton was running third after Leclerc made his stop on lap 48. He wanted to gamble on staying on his starting tires, but he eventually pitted on lap 51 and fell to fifth in the running order. 

Sergio Perez completed the podium in third, with Leclerc finishing fourth ahead of Hamilton. 

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