Hamilton frustrated as Mercedes team-mate Bottas wins Turkish Grand Prix

By Sports Desk October 10, 2021

Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated by Mercedes' decision to pit late during the Turkish Grand Prix, helping Max Verstappen take over the Formula One championship lead in Istanbul.

Hamilton had claimed pole in qualifying but was handed a 10-place grid penalty due to an engine change, meaning Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas started in first place.

It was a lead Bottas only relinquished briefly to Charles Leclerc, though the Finn regained it with a brilliant move on the inside of the Ferrari with 11 laps remaining to ensure his first win of the season.

With Verstappen claiming second, it was Hamilton's decision to hold off pitting in the wet conditions that proved crucial in the title race.

Well in the hunt for a podium place at the time, Hamilton was finally instructed to come in by Mercedes on the 51st lap.

Yet the decision to switch to intermediate tyres did not pay off, with Hamilton left furious with his team, stating: "Why did you give up that place?”.

While one half of the Mercedes garage will be left pondering their decision, the other was celebrating a flawless drive from Bottas, who endured a miserable race in Turkey last year.

Behind Bottas, it was a fantastic outing for Red Bull, with Verstappen securing a six-point lead over Hamilton in the championship standings and Sergio Perez completing the podium places.

Hamilton ultimately finished fifth, holding off Gasly but unable to gain ground on Leclerc, who missed out on the top three after pitting late on himself.

Perez and Hamilton do battle

Hamilton thought he had nipped ahead of Perez heading into lap 35, with the pair going wheel-to-wheel for five corners in a fantastic tussle.

Though Hamilton had the faster acceleration, Perez pushed at Turn One to regain the place and even though the Red Bull driver subsequently pitted, he had done enough to keep the seven-time world champion at bay and hand Verstappen a real boost.

Alonso hits out at Gasly

Fernando Alonso made a strong start in Istanbul, but he found himself spinning off the track on the first corner after a clip from Pierre Gasly.

By the time he rectified the situation, Alonso had dropped from fifth to 15th. Gasly, for his part, explained that he got "sandwiched", though the Frenchman was nevertheless handed a five-second penalty that cost him a place in the top five.

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  • Verstappen slapped with further 10-second penalty for second incident in dramatic Saudi Arabian GP Verstappen slapped with further 10-second penalty for second incident in dramatic Saudi Arabian GP

    Max Verstappen received a further 10-second penalty plus two penalty points following a wild Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton levelled the Formula One title race with victory on Sunday.

    Verstappen had already been slapped with a five-second penalty for the Turn 1 incident – the Red Bull star and championship leader was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage going off track.

    The stewards imposed a further punishment after the race for a Turn 27 collision, which ultimately did not impact Verstappen's finish, having crossed the line in second behind Mercedes rival and reigning F1 champion Hamilton.

    As a result, Hamilton and Verstappen will still head into the final Grand Prix of the 2021 season, Abu Dhabi, level on 369.5 points.

    Verstappen's secondary penalty was for causing a turn 27 collision with Hamilton when he braked suddenly, causing the Briton to clip the car head, damaging his front wing.

    Hamilton was critical of Verstappen after the race, saying his driving was "over the limit" while claiming he brake-tested him in the Turn 27 incident, leading to the 10-second penalty.

    "I definitely feel that there were scenarios where that was the case," Hamilton told reporters when asked if he thought Verstappen drove dangerously.

    "This is not the first time that I've had to avoid a collision, that's how I felt at the moment, but you know sometimes you say things in the heat of the moment and you go back and re-watch things and then you maybe feel differently but in the moment that's how it felt. But I really just tried to recompose myself and chase down and keep fighting."

    The incident was the latest flashpoint between the two title rivals, but Verstappen indicated he felt he was harshly penalised.

    "I find it interesting that I am the one who gets the penalty when both of us ran outside of the white lines," Verstappen told reporters after the Turn 1 incident. "In Brazil it was fine and now suddenly I get a penalty for it.

    "You could clearly see both didn’t make the corner, but it's fine. I mean I also don’t really spend too much time on it. We have to move forward.

    "We're equal on points on now and I think that's really exciting, of course, for the whole championship and Formula 1 in general but I said it earlier on my in-lap, I think lately we're talking more about white lines and penalties than actually proper Formula 1 racing and that's, I think, a little bit of a shame."

    The stewards report on the Turn 27 incident said: "In deciding to penalise the driver of car 33 [Verstappen], the key point for the Stewards was that the driver of car 33 then braked suddenly [69 bar' and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration.

    "Whilst accepting that the driver of car 44 [Hamilton] could have overtaken car 33 when that car first slowed, we understand why he [and the driver of car 33] did not wish to be the first to cross the DRS [line]. However, the sudden braking by the driver of car 33 was determined by the stewards to be erratic and hence the predominant cause of the collision and hence the standard penalty of 10 seconds for this type of incident, is imposed."

  • Hamilton labels Verstappen driving 'over the limit' after Saudi Arabia drama Hamilton labels Verstappen driving 'over the limit' after Saudi Arabia drama

    Lewis Hamilton described Max Verstappen's driving conduct  as "over the limit" after landing a drama-filled victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to pull level in the title race.

    Hamilton and Verstappen will head to the final race of a remarkable Formula One season tied on 369.5 points, the Briton prevailing in Jeddah on Sunday after a race dominated by their intense rivalry and a string of controversies.

    Having started on pole, Hamilton lost the lead after diving into the pits on lap 10 following Mick Schumacher's crash that brought out the safety car, with a subsequent red flag allowing Verstappen to change tyres without using a pit stop.

    The Mercedes driver looked to have got ahead on the restart, only for Verstappen to illegally maintain the lead by going beyond track limits, with several crashes behind the pair forcing another red flag. Esteban Ocon was on pole for the second restart, but Verstappen – after Red Bull agreed to cede position to Mercedes – surged down the inside of both Ocon and Hamilton to take the lead again.

    Yet a series of virtual safety cars kept Hamilton in touch with Verstappen and the Dutchman went beyond track limits again on lap 37 to remain in the lead on turn one.

    Red Bull instructed Verstappen to give the place back but, as he slowed to do so, Hamilton crashed into the back of him, accusing his rival of "brake-testing" him.

    Verstappen's second effort at letting Hamilton past, which he did successfully before using the DRS zone to immediately take the place back, was deemed unsatisfactory.

    The third time proved the charm and a five-second time penalty and tyre degradation ended Verstappen's hopes, setting up a thrilling finale next Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

    The battling drivers were set to go before the stewards in the meantime, and speaking to reporters after the race, Hamilton said: "For me, I really had to try and just keep my cool, which was really difficult to do.

    "I've raced a lot of drivers through my life, I've come across a lot of different characters, there are few that are over the limit, rules don't apply. I just tried to keep my car on the track, do it the right way."

    On the collision, Hamilton said: "He obviously brake-tested to try to get the DRS into the last corner. I thought that I lost my wing.

    "He's over the limit. I've avoided collision on so many occasions with the guy. I didn't get the information [that Verstappen was conceding position] so I didn't really understand what was going on, it was very confusing.

    "The message started coming through as he hit the brakes so hard. It will be interesting to see what happens [with the stewards]."

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