Valtteri takes his 10th win in F1 with a dominant drive for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team at the 2021 Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix. Lewis secured P5 having started the race in P11 after taking a ten-place grid penalty for an ICE change, completing a number of fine overtakes in the opening stages.
Today was frustrating but it is what it is – it felt good to be in third and I thought if I could just hold on it would be a great result from 11th. Strategy calls in conditions like today can be so tough. I’m naturally a risk-taker and being third, I was aiming to miss the stop when everyone pitted for new Inters, hopeful that I could get the opportunity to switch to slicks later and gain some good positions. Then the team made the call to come in and you have to rely on your team, accept the choices they make and hope it’s the right one – as I always say, we win as a team and we lose as a team. Overall, the car was great this weekend and Valtteri did a great job today. If we can continue to perform like that over the next few races, we’ll be in a good position come to the end of the season.
Today was probably one of the best races I’ve had ever – apart from that one little slide, everything was under control. The car has been fantastic in every possible condition this weekend and I had great confidence with it. It’s not easy to choose the strategy here with these conditions – when to stop, which tyre to choose – but I’m glad everything went smoothly for me. When there’s only one drying line it doesn’t take much for you to go off, you need maximum focus all through the race and so today feels like a well-earned victory. My first win of the year too which feels great and I was happy to bring it home. It also took points off Red Bull so great for me and the team.
Absolute dominance from Valtteri today, a 10/10 drive from the get-go from him. He had the race under complete control, not only with his pace but his management of the tyres was fantastic. Well done Valtteri, a very strong weekend.
For Lewis, we had difficult decisions to take throughout the race. We thought we could maybe hold out with him, not stopping, and take third place. Or, if a dry line appeared, maybe even bring him in and switch to the Soft tyre. The balance for us, therefore, was between pitting, taking it conservatively and fighting with Leclerc and Perez on track for P3 or, by taking a calculated gamble, have a chance to win the race or finish P3.
As it unfolded, we could see Leclerc’s pace dropping off on the old Inter, shortly followed by Lewis and then we knew we couldn’t go until the end and needed to stop. At that stage, Lewis was losing 1.5 secs to Gasly and Perez and it would be a matter of time before he was caught. We settle for P5 and I’m happy with the decisions we took.
There is always an absolute view and a relative view. The relative view is that in the last race, Red Bull were very happy to only lose 7 points from a grid penalty – today we lost 8 points so it isn’t the end of the world. The absolute view is that today, we could have scored another 3, 4 or 5 points more. But that’s fine, the championship is wide open and the fight continues.