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Hamilton leads Verstappen to Portimão victory

Hamilton leads Verstappen to Portimão victory, F1 Daily

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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.

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, leading into 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 continually closer to Bottas ahead than Verstappen behind.

At the start of lap 20, Hamilton did what Verstappen did to him at the restart: go left out of the slipstream and enjoy the better line into the righthander that followed.

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 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. Lanco Stroll in 7th at the time still used 32-lap old soft. On lap 32, these were the only men 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.

Moment later, Bottas reported a loss of power, 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 is called in to change to softs, existing 4s ahead of Perez in 4th. Verstappen did the same one lap later, also in an attempt to set fastest 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. Driver Car Laps Time Pts
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 66 1:34:31.421 25
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 66 +29.148s 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 66 +33.530s 16
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda 66 +39.735s 12
5 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 66 +51.369s 10
6 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 66 +55.781s 8
7 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 66 +63.749s 6
8 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 66 +64.808s 4
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 66 +75.369s 2
10 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 66 +76.463s 1
11 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 66 +78.955s 0
12 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 65 +1 lap 0
13 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 65 +1 lap 0
14 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 65 +1 lap 0
15 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda 65 +1 lap 0
16 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 65 +1 lap 0
17 47 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 64 +2 laps 0
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 64 +2 laps 0
19 9 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari 64 +2 laps 0
NC 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1 DNF 0


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