Hamilton pips Bottas for Portuguese GP pole

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Portugal, Autódromo Internacional do Algarvept

Lewis Hamilton took his 97th pole position in the qualifying session for the Portuguese Grand Prix, narrowly beating his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc ended up fourth fastest with another brilliant performance.

Four Ferrari-powered cars out - Q1

When the lights at the end of the pit lane switched to green, drivers were in a rush to head out to the track with all of them opting for Pirelli’s soft compound. There was huge traffic on the relatively short Portimao track, but even the C3 tyres held on for a second hot lap.

Following the first run, every driver headed out for a second run except the top five fastest. There were no major changes in the order, but a fierce battle shaped up for the 15th place, the last position that gives drivers the chance of getting themselves through into the next qualifying segment. Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen posted a 1m18.201 to briefly emerge as the 15th fastest, but a very late charge from the Williams racer George Russell saw the Briton secure a place in Q2.

At the end of the first qualifying segment, Kimi Räikkönen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi were eliminated, meaning that they will line up in the order at the back of the grid.



Tyre poker at Ferrari – Q2

In the middle part of the qualifying, drivers were divided in terms of tyre compounds. Ferrari and Mercedes drivers rolled out on the yellow medium tyres as they sought for a possible strategy advantage for the race. Using their dominant car, Hamilton and Bottas easily set the fastest laps despite being on the medium compound.

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel found it much more difficult to set fast enough laps to get themselves through into Q3. For the last laps, Leclerc opted for another set of mediums. Although he was unable to improve his time, his previous time was fast enough for securing a place in Q3 which means that he will start tomorrow’s Portuguese Grand Prix on the theoretically better C4 compound.

Following his first lap on the medium compound, Vettel was far away from the 10th fastest time, but he, interestingly, stuck to the Yellow compound for his last lap. The German was unable to improve significantly which left him with the 15th fastest time.

The dying seconds of the session saw Daniel Ricciardo lose his car at Turn 14, spinning out into the gravel trap. However, the Renault driver could get his car going again and limped back into the pit.

Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat, George Russell and Sebastian Vettel got knocked out at the end of the second qualifying session.


Ricciardo out of action- Q3

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to take part in the battle for the top positions in Q3 following his spin in the previous session. Although Renault were adamant to change the rear wing on the Australian’s car, they failed to get the R.S.20 ready for Ricciardo.

For the last qualifying lap, Lewis Hamilton wanted to use the medium rubber as he found a better balance on that compound. Interestingly, Bottas also needed to roll out to the track on the yellow boots despite setting the weekend’s fastest lap on the red compound in Q2. Hamilton changed his strategy for the closing stages of the session, completing a five-lap stint with two hot laps.

In the end, the Briton beat his teammate with a time of 1m16.652 who only completed a single flying lap on his last stint.

Sergio Perez was the only Racing Point driver in the Q3 after Stroll was knocked out in the previous session. The Mexican put an excellent lap together to secure the fifth fastest lap. Alexander Albon ended up sixth fastest, but he was once again over half a second down on his teammate Verstappen.

Carlos Sainz emerged as the faster McLaren driver, but he only beat his teammate Lando Norris by a small margin of 0.005 seconds. Pierre Gasly continued to show his impressive form, ending up 9th fastest.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
144Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:16.8281:16.8241:16.65221
277Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:16.9451:16.4661:16.75417
333Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:16.8791:17.0381:16.90423
416Charles LeclercFERRARI1:17.4211:17.3671:17.09023
511Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:17.3701:17.1291:17.22321
623Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA1:17.4351:17.4111:17.43729
755Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT1:17.6271:17.1831:17.52024
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT1:17.5471:17.3211:17.52524
910Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:17.2091:17.3671:17.80326
103Daniel RicciardoRENAULT1:17.6211:17.48117
1131Esteban OconRENAULT1:17.7751:17.61418
1218Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:17.6671:17.62622
1326Daniil KvyatALPHATAURI HONDA1:17.8411:17.72822
1463George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:17.9311:17.78817
155Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:17.4461:17.91920
167Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:18.20112
1799Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:18.32312
188Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:18.36412
1920Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:18.50810
206Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:18.77711