Hamilton sails to 92nd Formula One victory

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Portugal, Autódromo Internacional do Algarvept

It's victory number 92 for Lewis Hamilton in Portugal, and combined with fastest lap and pole position, that made for another perfect weekend for the reigning World Champion. Nearly half a minute behind, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen finished 2nd and 3rd to complete the podium.

As the lights went out to start the race, drops of rain promised an interesting first few laps, which certainly proved to become true.

The start itself was still more or less dry, with Hamilton taking the best getaway and Verstappen soon passing Bottas for second place. Bottas though rapidly returned to second place at Turn 3 to restore the top four order. The move though put Verstappen in an unusual position, allowing Perez to get through. The two bumped wheels, with Perez spinning off but able to continue after a pitstop.

The next lap proved very useful for both McLaren drivers, as the short burst of rain hampered the Mercedes's medium tyres. At the end of lap 2, Sainz passed the finish line in first, with Bottas edging ahead of Hamilton to take second. Lando Norris positioned himself in fourth.

Two laps later, when rain appeared to have eased off, Vertappen passed Norris again for fourth.

The most impressive start meanwhile came from Kimi Raikkonen. The Alfa Romeo driver found himself in sixth place, after having started down in 15th. Leclerc followed in 7th, ahead of Ricciardo, Gasly and Stroll.

In lap 5, Bottaas took back first place and rapidly powered away. Hamilton followed to take second the next lap as Verstappen joined the foursome at the front. At the end of that nexst lap, Verstappen also passed Sainz on the main straight.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen also started to struggle and saw several drivers pass him one lap after the other. Leclerc was the first one to do so, and he soon went on to pass Norris as well. Carlos Sainz proved more difficult to get past, but on lap 12, that was also sorted, bringing leclerc back into 4th, 5.5s down on Verstappen.

Pierre Gasly also made nice progress, as once past Raikkonen, he soon also moved up into 6th, making a pass on Ricciardo and Norris as well.

The Australian Renault driver soon struggled with his soft tyres and got past by Stroll before getting company from his teammate Ocon, who as using mediums. Ricciardo pitted at the end of lap 14 and switched to mediums while Verstappen reported his front left tyre being dead, and even Hamilton, on mediums, saying he was struggling - though he set a fastest lap moments later and rapidly caught up with race leader Bottas. Two laps after that, Hamilton made an easy DRS pass on the main straight to take the lead back after losing it in lap 2.

Verstappen genuinely struggled with his softs blistering, and his pace dropping to nearly a second slower than the two Mercedes in front. He held on until lap 22 when he made a quick stop and took on mediums. The Dutchman rejoined in 6th place, just ahead of Esteban Ocon.

Stroll meanwhile attempted an outside pass through Turn 1 on Lando Norris but ended up bumping against Norris's front left, leaving himself with a broken front wing that necessitated an early stop, and a drop to last place. He was also given a 5s penalty for causing a collision.

It was eventually only in lap 40 that Hamilton pitted for the first time. He switched to a new set of hard tyres. Bottas pitted the next lap and returned to the track amidst Kvyat and Grosjean, with whom he continued to fight for the next lap as his hard tyres were clearly not immediately up into working temperature.

In fact, it appeared to take Bottas much longer to get the mediums up to speed. While Hamilton started setting purple sectors as of his third lap on the hards, Bottas was only faster than Verstappen on lap 46, 5 laps after his stop.

The only remaining driver who hadn't pitted by then was Ocon. The Renault driver only got pitted on lap 55, set of a final stint of 11 laps on soft tyres. He returned to the track only just ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo who was also closely followed by Vettel and Raikkonen.

In the penultimate lap, Gasly got past Perez to take 5th place, one lap after a dubious defensive move from Perez that denied Gasly a pass back then. Sainz sat behind and looked how Gasly managed, so he did exactly the same on the final lap to move up into 6th, leaving Perez lose 2 positions in the last two laps.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's fastest lap was unthreatened, making for another pole, fastest lap and race win combination for Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas didn't insist and finished a distant 25s behind, 9s ahead of Max Verstappen who completed the podium.

Leclec was 4th and the only remaining car that did not get lapped.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG661:29:56.82826
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG66+25.592s18
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda66+34.508s15
416Charles LeclercFerrari66+65.312s12
510Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda65+1 lap10
655Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault65+1 lap8
711Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes65+1 lap6
831Esteban OconRenault65+1 lap4
93Daniel RicciardoRenault65+1 lap2
105Sebastian VettelFerrari65+1 lap1
117Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
1223Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda65+1 lap0
134Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault65+1 lap0
1463George RussellWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
1599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari65+1 lap0
178Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari65+1 lap0
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes64+2 laps0
1926Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri Honda64+2 laps0
NC18Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes51DNF0

Note - Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Grosjean received a 5-second time penalty for exceeding track limits.