F1 – Portuguese GP – Race

Bom dia, MiniFans! Welcome back to Portimão where the teams are ready for the third race of the year! This quick, bendy and hilly circuit isn’t Red Bull’s cup of tea. Could they still secure a podium position to keep Verstappen in the battle of the championship? Or did Bottas get his first win of the season from pole position? Let’s find out!

Lights go out and it’s Bottas with a great start. Verstappen was breathing in Hamilton’s neck but didn’t come close enough to be able to attack him. Meanwhile, Perez dropped a position to Sainz. It was Raikkonen touching the front left tyre of his teammate, Giovinazzi, on the start/finish straight during lap one. The Iceman lost his nose and ended up in the gravel pit of turn one, which caused a safety car.

Hamilton lost his second position to Verstappen, who overtook him around the outside after the restart. DRS was enabled on lap nine, which meant that the battles at the front could really start! Verstappen stayed within a second to Bottas and got his DRS on the start/finish straight, but was too far away to overtake him in turn one. Hamilton, however, snatched his second position back from Verstappen exactly one lap later and left him with quite a gap to the Silver Arrows.

Daniel Ricciardo made up for his horrible qualifying which left him on P17, while his teammate ended up on P7. After only 19 laps (with five driven under safety car), he got his way up to the top ten! Hamilton, meanwhile, kept pushing to get quickly to Bottas after overtaking Verstappen. The Brit was able to pursue his plan in lap 20 when he got into the lead of the race! This was also good news for Verstappen who got to join the Mercedes drivers again in the top three fight.

Sainz was the first to pit in lap 22 of 66. The rest of the midfield was soon to follow, while the three men at the front got on for longer. Russell was to pit relatively late. The Williams driver had an outstanding qualifying on Saturday in which he secured P11 on the starting grid. Unfortunately, he and his teammate dropped to the back of the field with not even half of the race driven. It looks like the Williams is scared of points …

Verstappen was the first front driver to pit and changed his Mediums for Hards in lap 36. Bottas boxed one lap later and ended up right before Verstappen. However, he couldn’t keep the Flying Dutchman behind him for long due to his cold tyres. Hamilton ended the pit train in lap 38 and got out behind Perez, who didn’t pit yet. The Mexican was also hindered by Mazepin who didn’t pay attention to the blue flags. The incident was under investigation and Mazepin received a five second penalty. Ultimately, Hamilton overtook Perez on lap 51 after which the Red Bull driver boxed to change to used Softs.

Besides Ricciardo, we also saw Alonso having a splendid race. The Spaniard started on P13 and ended up on P8. Also his teammate, Ocon, had a fairly good race, which left Alpine with some very precious points. Bottas changed to a set of Softs in lap 63 because there was enough time between him and Perez to get a free pitstop. Verstappen surprised us all by taking the same risk and pitted with only two laps to go. The Finn won this battle and snatched the fastest lap point for this race! Verstappen’s time was faster, but got deleted for track limits in turn 14.

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix with Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas completing the podium! The top ten was topped off by Perez, Norris, Leclerc, Ocon, Alonso, Ricciardo and Gasly.