Red Bull secured a double podium finish at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.
On a weekend that saw Milton Keynes-based team pay tribute to engine supplier Honda with a special red and white paint job, the team saw Max Verstappen finish second and Sergio Perez take third.
Second was enough for Verstappen to retake the Driver’s Championship lead off rival Lewis Hamilton, who only came 5th on a weekend where he took a grid penalty for a new engine.
While the Dutch driver rarely troubled race winner Valtteri Bottas, a reasonable drive was still enough to take second.
Perez took his first podium since the French Grand Prix in June, and did have a busier afternoon. Starting from 6th on the grid, he was able to get past Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso on lap one – if aided by the two colliding when coming down the hill from turn 1 – while he also won out a hard-fought wheel-to-wheel duel with Hamilton and overtook Charles Leclerc late on to take third.
Verstappen leads the standings from Hamilton by 6 points with six races left in 2021, while Perez remains fifth but closes the gap on 4th place Lando Norris to 10 points.
In the Constructors Championship field, Red Bull are still second. The team sit 36 points behind Mercedes and 157.5 points ahead of third place McLaren.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen said it wasn’t the most entertaining race but was still a productive result for the team.
Verstappen said, “As a Team, to finish second and third here was a great result. It was a pretty straight forward race today and I think in general we had a decent day. 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.”
Perez said, “This podium is very special because it was not an easy race for me, it was hard and exhausting at times, so I am very happy this evening. It has been a while since I have been up there, I think the last two or three races we should have been on the podium, but we have been so unlucky.
“I didn’t feel comfortable in the first stint with the car and I lost a lot of ground but then the second stint was all about pushing at the right time and using my experience to get a podium for the Team. Lewis was closing in really fast and at that time I was struggling quite a lot with my tyres, he had good pace and I thought he might get past me but it turned into a good fight and I came out on top. Lewis is a top driver and it was enjoyable racing with him. When I was standing on the podium I saw a lot of Mexican flags in the grandstands, we are so far from home here in Turkey so it was lovely to see.”