Lewis Hamilton won the 2021 Portuguese GP after pulling off some well-timed overtakes on Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas. This hands the seven-time F1 world champion his second win this year and more crucially, extends his championship lead over Verstappen.
Hamilton wins in Portugal by 29.148 secs
Verstappen 2nd; has fastest lap time deleted
Bottas 3rd after power unit sensor issue
Read on to find out how the Portuguese GP played out:
Hamilton defeats Verstappen and Bottas at Portimao
The initial stages of the race saw polesitter Bottas comfortably holding onto the lead after making a clean getaway. Hamilton, meanwhile, dropped to 3rd after the Safety Car - triggered by Kimi Raikkonen losing his front wing – with Verstappen getting the best of him on the re-start.
But the Red Bull Racing driver couldn’t hold on to 2nd place for too long, with Hamilton re-claiming the position just four laps later. The Briton then made a decisive move on his Mercedes teammate Bottas, on the outside into Turn 1, to move into the lead.
From there on, there was no looking back for Hamilton, who went on to win by a margin of 29.148 secs. “That was such a touch race, physically and mentally just keeping everything together,” he said.
"It was very windy out there obviously, so it was very easy to put a foot wrong. I just didn’t quite get as good a start as Valtteri and then lost out on the restart, which was not good; I was not happy about that naturally. I think Max made a mistake at some point through the lap which was perfect and I knew that was going to be the lap that I would 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. I managed to just get him at Turn 1, just right on the limit. Great race.”
Following his Imola GP crash, Bottas was looking for redemption at Portimao. But he could only finish 3rd, with a power unit sensor issue on his Mercedes W12 allowing Verstappen to pull away. Verstappen was also gunning for the fastest lap, but had his lap time deleted for a track limits infringement, handing the bonus point to Bottas instead.
Red Bull has appeared to have the strongest car on the grid so far this season, with the aerodynamic rule changes hurting low rake cars, like Mercedes’, far more. It remains to be seen if Mercedes’ form in the Portuguese GP is just a one-off, or the first evidence of the team turning its fortunes around.
Alonso and Ricciardo charge up the order
Sergio Perez secured his best result of the year with a 4th place finish. The Red Bull driver once again proved to be impressive with tyre management, extending his first stint on mediums to 51 laps. McLaren’s Lando Norris finished behind him in 5th place, continuing his streak of finishing in the top five in every race so far this year. He was followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Portimao proved to be an especially strong venue for Alpine, with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso crossing the line 7th and 8th respectively. Returning F1 champion Alonso, was particularly strong in the closing stages of the race, pulling off some skilled overtakes on hard tyres.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo also pulled off an impressive fight up the field, going from 16th to 9th. Finally, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly scored the final point in 10th place.
2021 F1 drivers’ championship
Heading into the Portuguese GP, Hamilton was leading the standings by just point. But his latest win sees him extend his championship lead to eight points over Verstappen.
F1 returns in just seven days with the Spanish GP at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 9.
2021 Portuguese GP results
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||66||+29.148s|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||66||+39.735s|
|12||Antionio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||65||+1 lap|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||65||+1 lap|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||65||+1 lap|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||65||+1 lap|
|16||Geroge Russell||Williams||65||+1 lap|
|17||Mick Schumacher||Haas||64||+2 laps|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||64||+2 laps|
|19||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||64||+2 laps|
|NC||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1||DNF|
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