The championship board has changed for the fourth time in the last six races and now Max Verstappen is the leader ahead of rival Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull concluded the Turkish weekend with a double podium, a result that both Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez described as the “maximum they could have achieved”
Drivers' Championship lead 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗱 🔝🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/1rLpDys1af— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) October 10, 2021
Max Verstappen powered back to the top of the Formula 1 Drivers’ standings with a superbly executed drive to second place in the Turkish Grand Prix. The party was double thanks to Mexican Sergio Perez climbing up till third place and claiming his first podium finish since the French Grand Prix.
While Max enjoyed a solid, though the slightly lonely drive to the second step of the podium behind race winner Valtteri Bottas, Checo found himself duelling with Hamilton for a fourth place soon after half distance.
And when Hamilton attacked on lap 42 it looked like the Mexican driver might not hold him off. But while Checo was forced wide at the final corner in a furious tussle with the Mercedes driver, he stayed calm and held his line to push in front again at the start of the following lap and hold his position. And when Hamilton pitted late and dropped back to P5, Checo was able to close in and pass Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the final laps to claim an excellent 13th career podium finish and seal the Team’s second double podium of the season.
“As a team, I think we managed to maximise the result”
“Valtteri was of course a bit faster – but I think this whole weekend we were a bit behind in pace compared to Mercedes,” commented the Dutchman. “But as a team to finish second and third here was a very good result.”
Verstappen was glad the race was over – indeed, with his usual sarcasm he said the hardest thing to do today was “staying awake”. Albeit not particularly exciting, the 2021 Turkish GP was characterized by some tense moments, especially in terms of tyres management and strategy choices.
“The race was all about managing tyres, to make sure they lasted to the end which means it wasn’t the most fun race to drive as you always want to push hard”.
“Nevertheless, I think we maximised the result today and it’s good to be leading the Drivers’ Championship again. I do wish I had a bit more pace in the car but we are still in the fight, we’ll keep pushing and we’ll see in the coming races how competitive we will be”.
𝐓𝐮𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐃𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 for our second double podium of the season 🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/dzpgaz79Hc— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) October 10, 2021
With only six rounds left, Verstappen would have hoped for even better performance, aiming to consolidate his six-point lead in the drivers' standings, he said: “I wish I had a bit more pace in the car so it would have been a bit easier but we are in the fight and we keep fighting, and we’ll see in the coming races how competitive we are going to be.”
Despite the great result in Turkey, Mercedes managed to outscore Red Bull by 36 points to 33, meaning that the Silver Arrows now have a 36-point advantage in the battle for the Constructors’ Title. Next up is the race in the United States at the Circuits of the Americas, which at least on paper should slightly play at Mercedes’ advantage.