Championship Swings Back to Verstappen as Red Bull Secure a Double Podium

When the weather forecast predicted rain for the Turkish GP, F1 fans found themselves braced for a repeat of the Russian GP. It was strategy – and not the weather – that decided the podium spots for the Turkish GP. Valtteri Bottas secured his first win in over a year as Red Bull stepped out in their special white livery to celebrate their partnership with Honda on what should have been the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

While Turkey may not have been as exciting as some recent races, it could prove crucial in the fight for the championship. With Bottas delivering a flawless race, Verstappen secured second place, while his Red Bull made his return to the podium. 

Bottas wins as Verstappen regains Championship lead

It’s been over a year since Bottas’ last won an F1 race, suggesting that 2021 could be his second season with Mercedes without a race win. A consistent race without any errors saw that Finnish driver claim what may be his final F1 win with Mercedes. 

His only competition came from Ferrari’s Leclerc, who momentarily led the race after the Mercedes driver pitted for fresh tyres, while Ferrari debated staying out to the end of the race. With Bottas back on the top step of the podium for the first time in over a year, it’s never been a better time to pick up his navy colour Mercedes driver cap. 

This race saw Hamilton starting outside the top 10 due to an engine penalty, giving Verstappen his best chance to regain the Championship lead. An impressive performance on a track that leaned more towards Mercedes saw him finish second, turning a point deficit into a 6-point lead.

With Perez on the podium alongside his teammate, Red Bull have closed the gap in the Constructors’ Championship to 36 points. Since Silverstone, neither Hamilton nor Verstappen has led the championship by more than 8 points. If anything is clear, it’s that this Driver Championship could well be decided in the final laps at Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes strategy sees Hamilton finish fifth

One of the most controversial moments of the Turkish GP came in the final laps as Hamilton argued with the Mercedes garage about pitting for fresh tyres. The British driver appeared keen to run the full 58 laps on one set pf tyres, initially ignoring calls to pit. It took several laps for Hamilton to accept the call to ‘box, box’, with the delay seeing him come out behind Perez and Leclerc, leaving him stuck in fifth place.

Earlier in the race, Hamilton entered a fierce battle with Red Bull’s Perez, delivering one of the highlights of the race. Perez’s ability to quickly regain his position put Hamilton on the back foot and away from the fight at the front of the race. Want to show your support for Perez? Check out the 2021 Perez T-Shirt here.

Elsewhere on the grid at the Turkish GP

One loser from the Turkish GP was Sebastian Vettel, who fell out of the top ten after switching to slick tyres in a gamble that didn’t go his way. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly secured his fifth top-six finish of this season after two disappointing races, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz delivered most of the entertainment for the race after coming from the back of the grid to finish 8th.

With only six races to go, it’s all to play for. Make sure to check back for our recap on the U.S. Grand Prix later this month and explore our latest F1 merchandise releases. Whether you’re supporting Verstappen, Hamilton, or Norris, we have the merchandise you need to cheer on your favourite driver.