Hamilton is victorious at Portimao

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton was victorious in the Portuguese Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.

Such was Hamilton’s commanding position approaching the finish, Verstappen and Bottas stopped for an extra pitstop to chase the fastest lap bonus point, which extended his gap at the chequered flag.

At the start, Bottas leapt off the front row best, with the polesitter then racing down to the rapid right-hand Turn 1 to extend his advantage as Verstappen had a half look at passing the Hamilton before backing out.

Behind the leaders, Sergio Perez lost fourth position with a slow getaway, which allowed Carlos Sainz to jump up to fifth on the run to Turn 1, with Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris battling over sixth further around lap one – the McLaren driver moving by on the outside run through Turn 11.

Valtteri’s lead at the end of lap one of 66 was 0.8-seconds, but that was soon gone as the safety car was called out to allow the Portimao track marshals to clear debris caused by Kimi Raikkonen after colliding with his Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi as they started lap two.

The collision, with Raikkonen closing on Giovinazzi, broke the 2007 world champion’s front wing, which became wedged under his car and meant he skated straight on into the gravel at Turn 1, where he retired.

The race resumed at the start of lap seven – the pack brought twice through the pitlane under the suspension as the main straight was cleared – Bottas waited until he reached the grid hatchings before roaring back to speed, which caught out Hamilton.

Verstappen was therefore able to close in on the world champion and pass him with a thrilling move around the outside of Turn 1 before chasing after Bottas.

For the next few tours it looked as if Hamilton was struggling to hang onto the leaders, but Verstappen sliding coming out of the penultimate corner on lap ten gave the Mercedes driver the chance to attack as the Red Bull lost DRS to Bottas.

Hamilton attacked at the first chance, using DRS to shoot to the inside line at Turn 1, sealing the move before Verstappen attacked back on the outside of the ever-tightening right of Turn 3, where Hamilton ran him out of road on the outside and chased on after Bottas.

For the rest of the race’s opening third, Bottas and Hamilton edged slightly clear of Verstappen, but he remained resolutely in play as they all worked on keeping their medium tyres in shape.

After a cagey period with Bottas holding firm in front as the leaders regularly lapped in the mid-to-high 1m22s, Hamilton gained considerably running onto the main straight at the end of lap 19, and with DRS at the start of the next he attacked for the lead.

Bottas defended the inside line, but Hamilton swept around the outside line to seize the lead for first time, quickly scampering out of DRS range ahead of his teammate.

As the race approached half-distance, Hamilton had worked his lead above three seconds, with Verstappen remaining within DRS range of Bottas but unable to get close enough to mount a move for lap after lap.

Just as Verstappen dropped out of DRS threat, Red Bull called him to take hard tyres at the end of lap 35 – the Dutchman locking up both front tyres approaching the speed limit line.

Mercedes brought Bottas the following time by, where a stop taking one-second longer than Verstappen’s – 3.3 seconds versus 2.3 seconds – meant the Red Bull was able to get close going through the opening turns after Bottas rejoined.

The Mercedes driver lost momentum with cold tyres coming out of Turn 3, which gave Verstappen his chance to pounce with warmer rubber, and he attacked out of Turn 4 and took second down Bottas’s inside at the hairpin.

Up front, Hamilton came in at the end lap 37, also taking hards – albeit a slightly used set compared to the brand-new ones on Verstappen’s car.

Once the pitstop sequence had shaken out, Hamilton’s lead was 3.2 seconds over Verstappen, who initially started to eat into that advantage before falling back again over the next few laps as Hamilton recorded a string of fastest laps.

Hamilton’s lead was never under threat from there, although he had to make one more pass for the lead – an easy DRS overtake on the main straight to get by Perez, who had cycled into the net lead by completing a very long opening stint, the second Red Bull only coming in at the end of lap 51 and taking softs.

Hamilton’s margin of victory was 29.1 seconds at the flag, with Verstappen initially just keeping Bottas at bay over the initial laps of the second stint, much as the Finn had done in reverse towards the end of the first half of the race.

The gap between the pair was then grew when Bottas spent two laps approaching the final ten laps losing two seconds each time to Verstappen due to an exhaust temperature sensor briefly robbing him of top speed.

As Bottas was far enough ahead of Perez, who had taken the fastest lap with his softs, Mercedes brought its second car in with three laps remaining to try and sneak back the bonus point.

Bottas did achieve that with a one minute, 19.865 seconds, but only because Verstappen’s one minute, 19.849 seconds was deleted for running too wide exiting the penultimate corner on the final lap.

Behind the top three came Perez, who had run behind Norris after the restart after the pair had shuffled Sainz back.

The Red Bull then soon brought its pace advantage to bear to retake fourth and Perez began his long drive to extend the life of the mediums he had started on.

With Perez gone ahead, Norris saw off Ferrari’s attempt to undercut at the pitstops – where he and Sainz exchanged softs for mediums – and the Briton then kept the softer rubber alive much better than his former teammate.

Sainz tumbled to P11 at the flag, with the drivers initially behind him taking hard tyres at their stops and enjoying much fastest pace across the rest of the race.

Norris did not face this problem, as he came home fifth ahead of Charles Leclerc, who had been the first driver to start Sainz’s plunge shortly after half distance.

Ocon finished seventh ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso, who made notable progress the longer the race went on, enjoying his time on the hard rubber to the finish.

Daniel Ricciardo rose brilliantly from P16 on the grid in the early stages, making up several places in the early laps, then executing a long first stint that meant he was on the attack late-on, albeit passed by Alonso when the Alpine was demonstrating superior pace.

Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten ahead of Sainz.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton by scoring his 97th career win in Formula 1. A super impressive achievement. The battle between Max Verstappen continues as the Spanish Grand Prix follows next weekend.

Portuguese Grand Prix, race results:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34:31.421
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 29.148
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 33.530
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 39.735
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 51.369
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 55.781
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1’03.749
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1’04.808
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.369
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1’16.463
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1’18.955
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari Alfa 1 lap
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1 lap
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1 lap
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1 lap
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
17 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 2 laps
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 2 laps
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 2 laps
– Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari DNF

4 thoughts to “Hamilton is victorious at Portimao”

  1. Portimao race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    A brilliantly managed race from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton saw him take his second win of the 2021 season at the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Briton finishing ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, as Hamilton’s polesitting team mate Valtteri Bottas came home third.

    With Hamilton starting second on the grid, an early Safety Car after Kimi Raikkonen had crashed into his Alfa Romeo team mate Antonio Giovinazzi saw the seven-time champion drop to third behind Verstappen at the Lap 7 Safety Car restart.

    But Hamilton then fought back brilliantly, passing Verstappen back for P2 four laps later before claiming the lead with an incisive pass on Bottas into Turn 1 on Lap 20 of 66 – eventually coming home for his 97th F1 victory, and extending his lead at the head of the drivers’ championship.

    Like Hamilton, Verstappen maintained his record of finishing all three races of 2021 so far in either P1 or P2 – but had to be satisfied with the latter result, the Dutchman able to pull away from Bottas in the latter stages of the race after the Finn suffered a sensor issue on his power unit, but having been unable to do much about Hamilton at the front.

    Meanwhile, after late stops for both Bottas and Verstappen to try and claim the fastest lap bonus point, it was ultimately Bottas who got the job done, after Verstappen had a faster lap deleted for a track limits infringement.

    Sergio Perez still has yet to finish on the podium as a Red Bull driver, but at least claimed his best result of the year with P4, ahead of Lando Norris, the McLaren driver having now finished in the top five at every race this season so far.

    Norris in fifth led the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in sixth, while the Alpine pairing of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso completed the team’s fine weekend with P7 and P8 – Alonso in particular having driven brilliantly in the race’s latter stages.

    After starting a “grim” P16, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo fought back to P9 at the chequered flag, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly taking 10th after a late pass on Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

    At the front though, the story of 2021’s fascinating Red Bull vs Mercedes battle had another chapter added to it at Portimao – with the wind now in the sails of the Silver Arrows.

    As the drivers lined up on a sun-bathed and breezy Portimao track, all eyes were trained on the four medium-shod cars at the head of the field, Mercedes’ polesitter Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at the front, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez immediately behind.

    Both Mercedes moved away in tandem as the lights went out, with Bottas keeping enough momentum to hold P1 from Hamilton after the 302-metre run into Turn 1. Verstappen was well off the mark too to hold P3, but Perez was less brisk, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – the highest-starting soft runner – using the advantage of the red-walled compound to nab P4.

    McLaren’s Lando Norris was past Alpine’s Esteban Ocon for P6 into Turn 1, the duo trading places again at Turn 5, before Norris claimed the position definitively with a sweet move around the outside of the Frenchman at Turn 11.

    Bottas had already built a handy cushion over Hamilton by the time he crossed the line at the end of Lap 1. Behind, though, Kimi Raikkonen was slipstreaming his Alfa Romeo team mate Antonio Giovinazzi for P12 down the main straight when he simply ran into the back of the Italian, Raikkonen losing his front wing as he speared into the Turn 1 gravel and brought out the Safety Car.

    That crash was good news for McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, though, contributing to him climbing from P16 to P13, the biggest gainer after the opening gambit.

    Bottas got the race going again on Lap 7, brilliantly bamboozling Hamilton, who appeared to be caught off guard at the restart, with the Finn scampering away as Verstappen perfectly timed his own acceleration phase to pass Hamilton immediately around the outside of Turn 1 for second place.

    A mistake from Sainz into Turn 3 dropped him from fourth to P6 and allowed Perez back up to P4 – but not for long, as Norris attacked into Turn 5 to claim the place from the Mexican, Ocon falling to P8 as Ricciardo climbed another two positions to P11.

    Hamilton exacted his revenge on Verstappen on Lap 11, the Mercedes DRS-ing past the Red Bull on the main straight, with Verstappen complaining to race engineer GianPiero Lambiase: “We’re a sitting duck” – with Hamilton then quickly putting a couple of seconds between himself and the Red Bull.

    Perez had complained about Norris’ Safety Car restart pass on him, saying the Briton had completed the move outside of track limits – but the matter was rendered academic when Perez then passed the McLaren for fourth on Lap 16.

    As Bottas crossed the line to start Lap 20 of 66, Hamilton had his DRS open and was coming at his team mate fast, Hamilton switching to the outside and sweeping through to claim the lead. That made the order Hamilton from Bottas and Verstappen – who was lurking close at hand – with Perez a further 8s adrift. Norris led the midfield in fifth, ahead of Sainz, Leclerc, Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Ricciardo, who’d passed his former Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel for P10 on Lap 18.

    Sainz was the first driver to pit on Lap 21, taking on mediums, with McLaren covering off Sainz by bringing Norris in a lap later, the pair emerging 10th and 11th, Norris retaining the advantage. Leclerc had been the outlier of the midfield runners as the only one of them in the top 10 to start on mediums – with Leclerc then bolting on hard tyres on Lap 25, and providing some invaluable data for the yet-to-pit frontrunners.

    With Verstappen making no impression on Bottas as Hamilton built a 3s gap at the head of the field, Red Bull brought their man in for new hard tyres on Lap 35, with Bottas mirroring him a lap later. Bottas was held a second longer than Verstappen had been, though – and despite emerging just ahead of the Dutchman, Verstappen was more confident out of Turn 4, using the DRS to move ahead of the Finn.

    Hamilton was having no such dramas, meanwhile, retaking the net lead after his stop for hards on Lap 37 (albeit behind actual leader Perez, who had yet to pit) 4s clear of Verstappen. Having climbed to P5, meanwhile, Ricciardo finally stopped for hards on Lap 41, but missed his marks in the pit box and was stopped for 4.8s, the Australian emerging P10 and behind Gasly, as Norris made it back to fifth, the 21-year-old beginning to come under pressure from Leclerc.

    Meanwhile, having been sharking behind Sainz for a number of laps, a hard-charging Ocon was passed for P7 on Lap 44, the Alpine driver enjoying strong race pace on his own hard tyres.

    Perez at the front found himself held up by the Haas of backmarker Nikita Mazepin, with the Russian handed a five-second penalty for his transgression as Perez eventually pitted for softs with 15 laps to go, emerging in P4.

    By that time, Hamilton had built up a five-second gap to Verstappen, who was given some breathing room from Bottas when the Finn suffered a power loss – with Mercedes tracing the issue back to an exhaust temperature sensor failure, which was quickly reset.

    With Hamilton clear at the front, Verstappen and Bottas had time in hand to make late stops to try and take the fastest lap. But although Verstappen ultimately did the quickest one of the pair on his final tour, it was Bottas who would take the bonus point after Verstappen was deemed to have left the track during his effort, and had his lap deleted.

    Up at the front though, Hamilton had everything covered, deciding not to bother getting involved with the fastest lap shenanigans and instead easing across the line at the end of Lap 66 to take win number 97 – a fact which more than made up for not having taken pole number 100 the day before.

    Behind, Verstappen had a clear run to second, while Bottas was left lamenting a “tricky” race, after seeing his pole position turn to P3 – with Toto Wolff having been moved to try and boost the Finn’s morale over team radio midway through the race. After the travails of Imola two weeks previously, however, the Portimao podium would have at least been something of a tonic for the Finn.

    Sergio Perez never looked like getting involved in the fight at the front, but at least came home P4, his best result as a Red Bull driver, but with Mercedes stretching their lead over Red Bull from seven to 18 points.

    Lando Norris’ status as one of the stars of the season was shored up by another excellent drive to P5, with Leclerc’s attack having been kept at bay in the latter part of the Grand Prix, as the Monegasque came home sixth. One of the stars of the race’s final stages, however, was Fernando Alonso, who passed Ricciardo and Sainz in quick succession to come home P8 behind team mate Ocon – Alpine having enjoyed by far their strongest weekend of 2021 so far.

    Ricciardo put in a solid recovery to take ninth after his own late move on Sainz, with Gasly doing the same to take the final points-paying position, as Sainz could only claim 11th. Giovinazzi recovered from his contretemps with a “gutted” Raikkonen on Lap 2 to take 12th, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll – the two Aston Martin drivers having struggled for race pace around Portimao, after Vettel had brilliantly put in his first Q3 performance in 15 races on Saturday.

    It was a quiet race for Yuki Tsunoda in the second AlphaTauri, the Japanese coming home 15th and ahead of Williams’ George Russell, who’d started a promising P11 but complained of his FW43B being “undriveable” at points in the race, as he finished 16th.

    A strong outing from Haas’ Mick Schumacher saw him pull a late pass on the second Williams of Nicholas Latifi to claim P17, Latifi taking 18th as Mazepin rounded out the order – with Raikkonen the only retiree from the Portuguese Grand Prix.

    So, it’s Hamilton who stretches his lead to eight points in the title fight over Verstappen. Is the tide beginning to turn towards Mercedes? Or can Red Bull fight back in Spain? There’s only seven days until F1 fans will find out.

  2. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen commented that losing a championship point for fastest lap was “odd”. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Max Verstappen called it “odd” to lose his Formula 1 fastest lap bonus point at Portimao, having incorrectly believed that track limits were not being monitored at Turn 14.

    Verstappen finished second for Red Bull in the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday, losing ground on race winner and Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

    Late pit stops for Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas gave Verstappen a window to take a free stop and go for the fastest time with one lap remaining.

    He was able to snatch the bonus point away from Bottas on the final lap, beating the Finn’s time by 0.016s with an effort of 1m19.849s.

    But Verstappen’s joy was short-lived after race control reported that he had broken track limits at Turn 14, causing the time to be deleted.

    Verstappen was not aware until the post-race interview in parc ferme, where Paul di Resta informed him the time had been deleted.

    “Oh really? That’s a good one,” Verstappen said. “That is a bit odd, because they were not checking track limits at Turn 14, but whatever.”

    Verstappen’s claim was incorrect. The updated race notes issued by Michael Masi on Saturday morning ahead of final practice at Portimao added Turn 14 to the corners being monitored for track limits.

    “The track limits at the exit of Turn 14 are defined as when no part of the car remains in contact with the red and white kerb,” the updated race notes read.

    “Drivers must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not leave the track without a justifiable reason.”

    The loss of the bonus point meant Verstappen slipped to eight points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ championship after three races.

    Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton for second place after an early safety car, only to fall behind the Mercedes driver four laps later.

    The Red Bull driver managed to jump Bottas for second place after getting the undercut at the pit stops, taking advantage of his rival’s warm-up issues to make a pass at Turn 5.

    “It was pretty, pretty decent,” Verstappen said in review of his race.

    “I had a good restart and then of course I tried to put the pressure on Valtteri, but at the end, I think we just lacked a little bit of pace overall, so Lewis got by once again.

    “After the pit stop. I think the warm-up is super hard on these tyres. But yeah, I think once we settled in second you could clearly see around here we were lacking a bit of pace compared to them.

    “I think this was in general a bit of an odd weekend in terms of grip, and we were not on top of it here, but we’ll see again what we can do in Barcelona.”

  3. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton explains costly “split-second” glance at restart. Motorsport.com provides the story.

    Lewis Hamilton says a “split second” glance checking Max Verstappen at Formula 1’s 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix restart let then-leader Valtteri Bottas escape and meant the Red Bull overtook him.

    Hamilton was following his teammate ahead of the race resuming after an early safety car period had been called so the Portimao track could be cleared of the debris thrown up by Alfa Romeo teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi colliding on the pit straight at the start of lap two, a clash that put for the former out with a broken front wing.

    Bottas led the pack around for the restart but, because of the headwind running down the main straight, waited until he reached the grid hatchings before accelerating back to racing speed.

    Hamilton appeared to be caught out at the vital moment, which meant he lost ground to the leading Mercedes and was then overtaken by Verstappen on the outside run into the first corner.

    “It was interesting,” Hamilton explained in the post-race press conference after successfully repassing Verstappen, hunting down Bottas to take the lead, and then dominating proceedings to the finish to take victory.

    “Because I was naturally focusing on Valtteri and literally just for a split second I looked in my mirror just to see where Max was and in that split second, that’s when Valtteri went.

    “And so, I lost out to Valtteri and that wasn’t great! Then, I was in Valtteri’s tow, and [Verstappen] was about to pull out, and I pulled out and gave [him] Valtteri’s tow.

    “And I was like ‘you idiot!’ to myself.

    “Then, after that, being behind [these] two – what a great track, it enabled us to fight close in that first stint I think that’s really what the fans want.

    “That’s definitely what I want from a racing point of view.

    “This track was really great because you can have certain different lines at certain corners – a bit like Austin. So, it was really awesome.”

    After claiming his second win of 2021 and his second in succession in Portugal, Hamilton reflected on his “very tight” eight-point lead over Verstappen in the drivers’ standings.

    Hamilton said: “I saw that he had gone in for the fastest lap and got it, but obviously Valtteri ended up with it at the end [after Verstappen’s faster lap was deleted for running too wide exiting the penultimate corner on the last lap.

    “As you can see, it’s a great fight between Mercedes and Red Bull, and I’m sure also down the field, and I think it’s clear that we just have to continue to… [that] we’re going to be pushing each other right to the last race.

    “We’re going to be sick of each other at the end, I would imagine! Or at least sick of racing because there’s so many races!”

  4. Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was the only retirement in the Portuguese Grand Prix and The Iceman takes blame for Portimao crash with teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Kimi Raikkonen has taken responsibility for colliding with Alfa Romeo Formula 1 teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in the Portuguese Grand Prix, explaining he was distracted changing switches on his steering wheel.

    The Finnish driver made an impressive start to the race in Portugal, making up two places on the opening lap, but at the start of the second lap he ran into the rear of Giovinazzi which ripped off his Alfa Romeo’s front wing and it became lodged under the front wheels of his car.

    Raikkonen skated into the gravel at Turn 1, which forced him to retire from the race, while his teammate escaped any major damage and finished the Portimao race in 12th place.

    The 2007 F1 world champion conceded it was his mistake and explained he was looking at his steering wheel to change a switch when he misjudged the closing speeds on Giovinazzi ahead of him.

    “Basically it was my mistake, I was checking something on the steering wheel, changing a switch that I got wrong coming out of the last corner so I had to change it again and then I just drove into him, so clearly my mistake,” Raikkonen told Sky Sports F1.

    Giovinazzi was uncertain how much the clash impacted his Alfa Romeo’s performance but was thankful he avoided a puncture and was able to continue without any serious problems.

    “I didn’t speak with Kimi yet but the team told me that he was changing something on the steering wheel but it is OK,” Giovinazzi told Motorsport.com. “Luckily we had no puncture and after that it was a clear race from my side.

    “I had some fun with Fernando at the beginning and some fun with Sebastian at the end.

    “We started P12 and today we were faster than the Aston Martins but slower than the Alpines so it was not enough to get into the top 10.”

    Giovinazzi conceded even without the clash it was difficult for him to score points in the Portuguese GP without any more of his rivals retiring from the race, as Raikkonen ended up being the sole driver who failed to finish.

    “I think we are at a point that is better than last year but still not really in the top 10, so when it is like this, that nobody stops in front, it is difficult to score points,” he said.

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