Verstappen regained the top of the table Mercedes shared the joys and sorrows

Verstappen regained the top of the table Mercedes shared the joys and sorrows

Valtteri Bottas finished first, but delaying a tire change at the end of the race cost Lewis Hamilton the top spot to Max Verstappen. This is the first time Bottas has won this season, and that partly helps the Finnish driver forget the bitter drops during his time playing under the Mercedes shirt for many months.

Verstappen regained the top of the table Mercedes shared the joys and sorrows

However, the leadership of the German racing team was indifferent to Bottas’ victory, when the beloved driver Hamilton lost the battle to chase rival Verstappen (Red Bull team) on the Istanbul Park track (Turkey).

The decision to take Hamilton to the pit to change tires in the last laps made the British driver angry with the house instructors over radio waves when he fell from 3rd to 5th and was almost beaten by two juniors Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri). and Lando Norris (McLaren) attack as soon as they return to the track. Mercedes’ safety-leaning choice made Hamilton lose the top of the personal table when he was 6 points behind Verstappen after the Turkish Grand Prix.

It rained lightly before the race started, so the riders all started with intermediate tires (for light rain). Bottas performed impressively when he was soon out of sight of Verstappen – who did not take advantage of his forte in the rain to challenge the Finnish driver.

Hamilton, starting 11th after a penalty of 10 starting points down for using the engine’s limit of components, quickly made a breakthrough thanks to the impressive car. The W12 soon climbed to 5th after 12 laps and continuously closed the gap with the upper group including the quartet Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc and Perez

When the race had 10 laps left, while most of the drivers had already returned to the pit to change tires, Hamilton was still solid in 3rd with the average worn-out tires that he had used all the way from the start. Mercedes’ plan for Hamilton is to try to wait and bet the weather on the track to change direction and change tires.

As time progressed towards the end, Mercedes noticed that the surface of the track still showed no sign of drying and the possibility of Hamilton maintaining the starting tires until the end of the race was very small. Witness Leclerc struggling with old tires and had to pit a few seconds earlier. The German racing team decided to call the home driver to change the tire to ensure safety, although this step makes Hamilton definitely overtaken by Verstappen in the individual standings.

Hamilton had resisted a barrage of calls from Mercedes instructors but with eight laps remaining in the race, the British driver was forced to comply. When returning to the track, the fact that he was almost caught up by two juniors Gasly and Norris when the new tires were still unstable, making Hamilto angry over radio waves “I told you not to return to the pit. The tire surface is getting worse. got mad. I’ve said this before.”

If they keep the 3rd place with the starting tires, Hamilton will only be one point behind Verstappen. However, Mercedes also has a reason to call the British driver to change the tire. Television images when Hamilton changed tires showed that his old tires were flat and smooth even though the tires were originally slotted intermediate tires.

Mercedes’ choice can be confirmed by a real example. One driver who decided not to change tires was Esteban Ocon (Alpine) who dropped a lot in the last laps and almost fell out of the top 10 due to too worn tires. The French driver ran slower than his opponent, Antonivio Giovinazzi, from 3-5 seconds per lap in the last 6 laps and was almost overtaken by the opponent.

Ferrari faced a similar difficulty with Leclerc when he struggled with the starting tires in the second half of the race. The Monaco driver took the lead after Verstappen and then Bottas returned to the pit to change tires when the race had more than 20 laps left. At this time, Leclerc is still determined to maintain the top position until the end of the race.

However, Ferrari’s tires quickly wore out and were overtaken by Bottas with 11 laps remaining in the race. Leclerc went to the pit shortly afterwards while Hamilton struggled to hold on, feeling he would be able to keep his place ahead of Leclerc and Perez for a final finish in the top three, but Hamilton’s choice was opposed by Mercedes.

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