Hamilton leads Verstappen to Portimão victory

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Portugal, Autódromo Internacional do Algarvept

Having initially dropped down to third place, Lewis Hamilton fought his way back up to first to win the Portuguese Grand Prix. Verstappen and Bottas were close throughout the race and completed the podium.

The start of the race was trouble-free, with everybody getting off the line well, without damage on any car. The clear start saw Bottas maintain his lead from pole position, ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz soon passed Perez into fourth place, followed by Norris who progressed into 6th after a battle the lasted for several corners into the first lap.

The other Alpine of Fernando Alonso also moved backwards as the Spaniard exited very wide out of Turn 4 and saw him lose position to Raikkonen and Ricciardo.

There was only real trouble on the first passing of the main straight where Raikkonen somehow managed to clip his front wing against his team mate's left rear. The Finn subsequently couldn't stop his car in time for Turn 1 and retired after coming to a halt in the gravel trap. Giovinazzi didn't have any damage, and came away without a puncture.

Next up was a safety car that lasted for 4 laps.

At the restart, Bottas didn't wait as long as last year to get on the throttle, perhaps still thinking about the carnage he caused in 2020. This time, he stepped on it halfway on the main straight, at a moment where Hamilton was just a little bit behind. It cost Hamilton, as Verstappen was very attentive and passed Hamilton on the outside in the approach to Turn 1.

The leading three remained very close together, ending up in Hamilton taking second place back from Verstappen on lap 11, nicely opting for the inside of Turn 1 with the help of DRS. Verstappen remained close in the next laps, but it was Hamilton who seemed to look for further progress as he was continued to push race leader Bottas.

At the start of lap 20, Hamilton did what Verstappen did to him at the restart: go left out of Bottas's slipstream and enjoy the better line into the righthander that followed. The move dropped Bottas right into the path of Verstappen, but the latter couldn't build on the opportunity and kept third place behind the Mercedes duo.

The pitstops started round about lap 24, with Sainz and Tsunoda the first to make their stops. Sainz switching from soft to medium, Tsunoda from medium to hard.

A few laps before that, Hamilton said "tyres are pretty much shot", but he would go on for many more laps to increase his advantage to Bottas and Verstappen. Behind them, Perez took back fourth, followed by Ricciardo and Alonso who all still ran on their medium tyres from the start. Lance Stroll in 7th at the time still used 32-lap old soft. On lap 32, these were the only drivers who still hadn't pitted.

On lap 34, Verstappen pitted, followed by Bottas one lap later. Mercedes' pitstop was again slower than that of Red Bull, and though Bottas still came out ahead and was first into Turn 1, Verstappen's heated up tyres allowed him to get past the Finn a few corners later.

Hamilton pitted another lap later, coming back out 3.3s ahead of Verstappen, and 11 behind Perez who was going for a really long first stint. Perez would continue to lead until getting passed by Hamilton on lap 50, after which the Mexican was called in for a stop to switch to used soft. The Red Bull driver returned in 4th, 25s down on Bottas.

Meanwhile, Alonso passed Gasly and Ricciardo to move up into 9th position.

Moments later, Bottas reported a loss of power on his Mercedes and was immediately 2s slower on his lap. The team though discovered a temperature sensor issue on the exhaust and sorted the matter remotely.

Three laps from the end, Bottas was called in to change to softs, exiting 4s ahead of Perez in 4th. Verstappen did the same one lap later, also in an attempt to set the fastest race lap.

So, while Bottas and Verstappen were seeking fastest lap, Hamilton easily drove to victory. Verstappen eventually took fastest lap, only to get it deleted for exceeding track limits, just like on his best effort in qualifying on Saturday. This meant Bottas takes fastest lap after all, along with the additional championship point that comes with it. Verstappen was told in the post-race interview, and noted "really? I didn't even know they were monitoring there".

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG661:34:31.42125
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda66+29.148s18
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG66+33.530s16
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda66+39.735s12
54Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes66+51.369s10
616Charles LeclercFerrari66+55.781s8
731Esteban OconAlpine Renault66+63.749s6
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault66+64.808s4
93Daniel RicciardoMcLaren Mercedes66+75.369s2
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda66+76.463s1
1155Carlos SainzFerrari66+78.955s0
1299Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
135Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes65+1 lap0
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes65+1 lap0
1522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri Honda65+1 lap0
1663George RussellWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
1747Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari64+2 laps0
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes64+2 laps0
199Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari64+2 laps0
NC7Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1DNF0