Verstappen maintained second behind Bottas at the start of the race, settling a couple of seconds behind him.
The Dutchman dropped to over six seconds behind Bottas before switching to fresh intermediates on Lap 37.
Mercedes responded with Bottas a lap later to cover off the threat of the undercut.
With Bottas extending his advantage, Verstappen settled for second in Turkey – a result that saw him reclaim the lead of the drivers’ championship.
“No, I could already see after a bit in the first stint that he was too quick, Verstappen told Sky Sports F1. “I did close the gap a little bit at one point but he pulled away again.
“My tyres were gone, I just tried to hang on. Even Charles [Leclerc] behind was quite quick and once I pitted I basically just drove it to the end as I knew I didn’t have the pace so it was just having the tyres in a better shape towards the end so you don’t hit trouble.”
Verstappen complained of a gearshift-related issue during the race, however, he confirmed that it didn’t impact his performance at Istanbul Park.
“I didn’t have gear shift problems, I just had a message next to my number of what gear I would be – after one setting [change] it was gone and it was not limiting the performance,” Verstappen added. “It was just about managing your pace to make the tyre last to the end because I tried to do that as good as I could. It seemed like Mercedes still did a better job at that, especially Valtteri today.
“I tried to follow him around a bit but still, they had a bit more pace in hand and they were looking after their tyres a bit better than us. Overall on a weekend where we were off the pace compared to them, to come away with second here and third with Checo, as a team, was a great result.”