Formula 1

Portuguese Grand Prix RECAP: Lewis Hamilton WINS with Verstappen second and Bottas third

F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?

Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead at the top of the driver’s standings by eight points in an action packed but ‘tough’ Portuguese Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen second and pole sitter Valtteri Bottas third.

Mercedes were pushed to their limits by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen throughout the race, with the Dutchman sweeping past Hamilton for second place on the restart thanks to a brief Safety Car period.

But it was short lived after a mistake from Verstappen gifted Hamilton an opportunity to get back to second and reel in his team-mate for the lead, who was struggling with a sensor issue in the latter part of the race.

Hamilton snatches his 97th career win.

 

Lewis Hamilton:

“I am telling you, that was such a tough race. Physically and mentally keeping everything together – it was very windy out there so it was very easy to put a foot wrong.

“Just didn’t quite get as good of start as Valtteri, and lost out on the [Safety Car] restart which was not good, I was not happy about that naturally.

“I really had to try and position myself the best I could, i can’t remember – I think Max made a mistake at some point in the lap, which was perfect, and I knew that was going to be the lap that I was going to be as close as I could to him in the last sector.

“And then with Valtteri I had to make the move early on before the tyres were destroyed and managed to just get him at turn on, but right on my limit.

“Next few days is about recovery. Alot of debriefs, obviously a lot to download from today – there’s imporvements that we can make.

“Today wasn’t all perfect, so we look at those areas and try and turn over the stones.”

Bottas, Verstappen and Hamilton (Image: GETTY)

Max Verstappen: 

“It was pretty decent, I had a good restart [after the Safety Car] 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 again, and then after the pit stop, the warm up is super hard on these tyres.

“But I think once we resettled in second, you could clearly see around here we were lacking a bit of pace compared to them [Mercedes].

“But still, second and fastest lap on the last lap.”

Verstappen hadn’t been told his fastest lap, which is worth a point and went to Bottas instead, was deleted for track limits at turn 14.

“Really? That’s a bit odd because they were not checking track limits at turn 14, but whatever.

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

Scrap that, Verstappen has lost the fastest lap just at the end of the race. Lap deleted. Point goes to Bottas. 

LEWIS HAMILTON WINS THE PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX

It’s been quite the race for Lewis Hamilton, who started second on the grid.

Fastest lap of the race, and with it an extra point, meaning Hamilton has just a 7 point lead at the top of the driver’s standings.

“Get in there Lewis, awesome race,” says Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington.

“WHOOO, thanks Bono! Lot of work to do. Keep pushing,”replies Hamilton.

After Verstappen told of fastest lap – he responds “Phew, That was not easy.” 

HAM VER BOT 

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton (Image: GETTY)

LAP 65/66:

YES, is the answer.

1 POINT 9 SECONDS. A ridiculously fast pitstop from Red Bull.

Verstappen comes in and pits for a fresh pair of softs, Bottas vs Verstappen for fastest lap now.

LAP 64/66

“Yesss, yes” radio message to Schumacher as he sweeps past the Williams of Nicholas Latifi for P17.

The Haas team have been dead last all season so far.

“Box, Box” is the message to Bottas – he comes in for a fresh set of softs, but is it too soon?

LAP 61/66

Five seconds between Hamilton in the lead and Verstappen, five seconds behind is Vatteri Bottas in third.

“Keep pushing, we might get the opportunity for a free stop,” Bottas is told on the radio.

LAP 59/66

Nice battle between Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi for P17. Schumacher looking racy. 

Meanwhile out at the front, Bottas reports: “Feels like I’m slow on the straights.”

LAP 57/66

Problems for Bottas? Complaining of loss of power on the radio.

HAM, VER, BOT, PER, NOR, LEC, OCO, SAI ALO, RIC

Bottas seems back up to speed now.

LAP 51/66 

Lewis Hamilton takes the lead of the race back overtaking Sergio Perez for the lead.

Perez now finally told to box and come into the pits for a new set of soft boots.

Verstappen’s team-mate comes out P4.

Five second time penalty for Nikita Mazepin for ignoring blue flags.

LAP 50/66

Lando Norris is told the gap between himself and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc behind – the response is: “Yeah just let me drive, I’m flat out – I’m doing what I can.”

UNDER INVESTIGATION: Nikita Mazepin and Sergio Perez: TURN 3 INCIDENT, ignoring blue flags.

TOP 10: PER HAM VER BOT NOR LEC OCO SAI RIC ALO

Important to remember that Perez still not yet to pit.

LAP 48/66

Don’t hear this much – team principal Toto Wolff comes on the radio half way through the race: “Hunt him down Valtteri, you’re the quickest car,” is the message.

“Plan A +10” is the news to Sergio Perez, which probably means plan A plus 10 laps. He still has the net lead of the race at the moment.

Fastest lap goes to Bottas again – a 1:20.983.

Near tangle from Perez, who is leading the race, and back of the pack Nikita Mazepin, who fails to move for the faster car. “F**king idiot” says Perez.

LAP 41/66

Bottas now sets the fastest lap with a 1:21.407s – “This tyre is resilient, you can push to the end on this. you are the fastest man out there.”

Slow stop for Daniel Ricciardo after all of that hard work – 4.8s for McLaren. He fought his way up from P16 to the top 10, but rejoins P10.

LAP 38/66

Hard tyres for Max Verstappen, 2.3s – a quick stop for the Red Bull team. Big lock-up coming into the pits for the Dutchman, but the hard tyres take much longer to warm up – will this work out?

“Pick up the pace” is the message to Valtteri Bottas however a lap later, Bottas comes in for a set of new hard tyres – a 3.3s stop.

It hasn’t worked out for Bottas as Verstappen has warmed up his tyres and takes a net second place at turn 5 at the hairpin. 

LAP 35/66

“This is going well,” Daniel Ricciardo told on the radio by the McLaren team as the Australian currently sits P5 after starting P16.

LAP 32/66

Lewis Hamilton sets ANOTHER fastest lap of the grand prix, this time a 1:21.934.

Bottas has dropped 4 seconds behind the later, with Verstappen closing in on the Finn.

Verstappen has been complaing on the radio that his third gear is lagging, and that he can’t use it.

LAP 31/66

Nicholas Latifi on the hard tyres sweeps past George Russell – not a good day for the Brit.

Hard or soft is the choice for the leaders. Who will pounce first…

LAP 29/66

1:21:199 – Hamilton is enjoying himself out there despite complaining about his tyres.

“If the gap goes over 3.5,” Bottas will pit first the Finn is told on the radio.

George Russell meanwhile pits and ccomes out P18, not what he was hoping after starting P11 in the Williams.

LAP 27/66 

“You got the pace here,” Verstappen being told.

Half a secoond between Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

None of the top three have pitted for new tyres yet.

1:22.138 – looks like Lewis Hamilton has some clean air as he sets the fastest lap of the grand prix.

LAP 21/66

HAMILTON LEADS!

He didn’t look close enough to make that work, but after an UNBELIEVABLE move, Hamilton leads the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Similar move to Verstappen on Hamilton at the SC restart, Hamilton sweeps round the outside of his team-mate at T1.

“Tyres are pretty shot” comes the radio message from Hamilton.

Verstappen now closing down on Bottas…

LAP 19/66

Not much has changed. Pit window is now open – most on the mediums probably looking at a 1 stop strategy.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo gets past Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin to make his way up to the points-paying position after starting 16th.

Top 10: BOT HAM VER PER NOR SAI LEC OCO GAS RIC

Portugal GP

Portugal GP (Image: GETTY)

LAP 13/66

HAMILTON BACK INTO SECOND RACE

What a scrap! Turn 14 mistake from Verstappen gave Hamilton the DRS on the start finish straight, he sweeps past Verstappen on the inside into T1.

“Just a sitting duck on the straight, it’s unbelievable” – Verstappen yields second place after he slips out of DRS range.

LAP 10/66

“Attaboy” Verstappen told after sweeping past Hamilton on the SC restart.

Top three seperated by less than a second…DRS enabled – once again, GAME ON

Verstappen is hunting down Bottas for the lead.

LAP 7/66

Fantastic restart from Valtteri Bottas who waited until the very last minute to launch.

All the way round the outside of turn one, and Verstappen takes second place from Hamitlon. Full commitment from the Dutchman.

BOT, VER, HAM, NOR, PER

LAP 6/66

“To confirm we still think plan A” Lando Norris told on the radio – on the softs right now.

“Keep an eye on the brakes” says Hamilton – “Copy, nothing to worry about,” is the reply.

SC in this lap.

LAP 5/66

Bottas told his rear brakes are ‘very hot’ with a little bloom of smoke – Bottas now trying to speed up under SC to get more air flow through the breaks.

Debris on the track too – Hamilton warned it’ll be on the left of the start/finish straight – the racing line.

LIGHTS OUT

Relatively clean start to the race, Bottas has a fantastic launch off the line, Hamilton slots in behind with Verstappen still third.

The order remains

BOT, HAM, VER

Kimi Raikkonen is in the gravel at the first corner after losing his front wing after driving into the back of his team-mate. Messy from the Finn.

FULL Saftey Car now out.

3pm

Formation lap getting underway, tyre warmers removed, just the cars and the drivers left on the grid.

Max Verstappen has never led the driver’s standings in his entire F1 career, Lewis Hamilton meanwhile has won the past three races starting from second place.

Game on…

2:55pm:

Nico Rosberg is having his say on Sky Sports F1 today. Speaking of the launch from Max Verstappen last time out in Imola, Rosberg replied:“Behind closed doors, Lewis Hamilton is not cordial, Lewis Hamilton is angry.”

And when asked if that was just specific to him as a former team-mate, Rosberg added: “Max is also the kind of guy, you really hate to be beaten by Max Verstappen because he’ll really rub it in you know.

“So don’t worry, the intensity is there in exactly the same way [when you’re not Hamilton’s team-mate]”

Dry race ahead- not long until lights out now.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton (Image: GETTY)

2:45pm

Sky Sports F1 now chatting with Toto Wolff with his drivers locking out the front row.

However – Nico Rosberg, chatting with his old boss, asked Wolff what he was speaking to Russell about…

He replied: “We were having a bit of a laugh about recent events. I got quite some criticism, I mean Nico [Rosberg] criticised me, that I shouldn’t have gone so hard but we’ve known each other for such a long time, we are in a good place with George.

“It’s about learning from the mistakes, it was a good chat.”

And Rosberg pipped up to say “I just remembered how painful it was for me when you criticised me publicly back in the way, so that’s why I just wanted to convey my message to maybe go a bit easy on George.”

“But it made you a better person, no?” replied Wolff. “You made me into a world champion, so it was all good,” replied Rosberg.

2:24pm

George Russell spotted chatting with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, I doubt it was about anything hugely exciting, but the TV deemed it worthy of showing.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports F1 have been chatting to McLaren CEO Zak Brown with Lando Norris starting P7 and Daniel Ricciardo idown in P16.

Brown says he told Ricciardo not to try not to “be a hero” on lap one, and that it’s a slow and steady fight – but that he’s “awesome” and “still has to get used to the car.”

Lando meanwhile is “very quick” and “very in control and predicts a top 5 finish for the Brit.

2:20pm

The calm before the storm. The drivers start suiting, booting and climbing into the car to make their way to the grid.

So here’s a lowdown of the track 

Circuit length: 4.653km

No laps: 66

Lap record: 1:18.750s Lewis Hamilton, 2020

Sergio Perez is told on the radio: “Wind is looking notably lower than yesterday.”

Air temp: 19C/66F
Track Temp: 39C/102F
Humidity: 40%

2pm – an hour to go until lights out

Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s live blog of the Portuguese Grand Prix happening live in Portimao!

Valtteri Bottas is the man who took a shock pole position ahead of the race, as Max Verstappen’s fastest lap, which would’ve been enough for pole, was deleted on Saturday.

After the session Verstappen said:

“Qualifying was very difficult to drive, I was struggling a lot with the grip.

“That first lap in Q3 was decent, but I just had a big moment at 4, so went a little bit off track, but I was quite confident we could do another good lap, but in the last sector there was a car in front, in the last two corners it just disturbs you.

“Especially with the low grip we already have, and the tough wind out here, basically it cost me a lot of lap time, but it is what it is.

“Hopefully everything stabilises a bit more because up until now, it’s not been a lot of fun to drive here.”

Meanwhile Hamilton was perplexed by his performance too – but with just a point seperating the two, expect fireworks off the line at 3pm!!

Full Grid: 1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 6. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) 7. Lando Norris (McLaren) 8. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 9. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) 10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) 11. George Russell (Williams) 12. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 13. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) 14. Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) 15. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) 16. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) 18. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) 19. Mick Schumacher (Haas) 20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas)


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