Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted his frustration at a late pit-stop which cost him a podium finish at the Turkish Grand Prix and crucial points in the title race.
Hamilton, who had started from 11th after a grid penalty, was third when Mercedes called him in to pit with eight laps to go, ending up fifth and almost slipping further amid late pressure from Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly.
The Briton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas claimed the chequered flag with a faultless race at the front after starting on pole.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen re-claimed the championship lead with his runner-up finish where he was unable to push too hard, amid wet conditions.
Sergio Perez rounded out the podium, with Red Bull claiming two spots in the top three to narrow the gap in the Constructors’ Championship too.
But Mercedes’ miscalculation in pitting Hamilton to change to intermediate tyres was the major talking point, costing him five points, with Verstappen now ahead in the F1 title race by six points.
“It felt good to be in third, and I was like, ‘If I can just hold on for this, this is a great result from 11th,’” Hamilton said immediately after the race. “This is worse but it could be worse.
“I think probably in hindsight, I should have either stayed out or come in much earlier, because when you come in with eight laps to go you dont have time to go through the graining phase of that medium tyre on a drying track.
“Then I went through this whole sliding phase where I nearly lost more positions. So yes, a bit frustrating, but it is what it is.”
Meanwhile, the triumph was Bottas’ first Grand Prix victory since the Russian Grand Prix in September last year. The Finn will leave Mercedes at the end of this season.
“I think from my side, I have to say, probably one of the best races Ive had ever,” Bottas said.
“The car has been good in every condition and I had good confidence with it and could really control it.”
Verstappen admitted his Red Bull didnt have enough pace to contend with Bottas but was content to consolidate his lead in the title race.
“I wish I had a bit more pace in the car so it would have been a bit more easier but we are in the fight and we keep fighting,” he said. “Well see in the coming races how competitive we are going to be.”