Saturday, May 1, 2021

Bottas Takes Pole After Breezy Qualifying in Portugal

Photo Credit: LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd


The 2021 Formula 1 season first three races has three different drivers leading the field to the grid placement for Sunday.

By a super tight margin of just 0.007 seconds, Finland’s Valtteri Bottas has edged out his Mercedes-AMG teammate Lewis Hamilton for the pole for the Portuguese Grand Prix on the Algarve International Circuit. Bottas’ first pole for the year, the effort by the two Mercedes drivers was enough to secure the team’s its first front row lockout in the 2021 season.

The German factory team’s capturing of the first two starting spots was a coup after two previous events where the Red Bull Racing car of Max Verstappen broke up what was a common sight after qualifying in 2020. Verstappen did set a 1-minute, 18.209-second lap time in Q3 that would have put the Dutch driver on pole for a second time this season but the time was erased due to his #33 car exceeding the track limits in turn four. Both Red Bull Racing cars are positioned on the second row on the grid ahead of the 66-lap race with Verstappen settling for third fastest and Sergio Perez fourth after Q3.

The #77 machine’s 1-minute, 18.348-second pole-earning lap time in Saturday’s Q3 session came on a slippery track under windy conditions. Winds gust up to 30 kilometer per hour played havoc with a number of drivers through the time trials for Sunday’s main race. There was also uncertainty between whether the soft or medium compound Pirelli tire was preferable for recording the quickest lap. Lewis Hamilton set a time of 1-minute, 17.968 seconds in Q2 using the medium compound racing slicks. However, the fastest lap times for all the Q3 entrants came on sets of the softest construction tires.

Lando Norris is the highest starting McLaren for the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday positioned beside Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. The second McLaren driven by Daniel Ricciardo struggled with traffic as well as tire grip through the opening Q1 session and failed to post a lap better than 16th fastest. Starting in ninth place will be Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly while tenth place for tomorrow’s Portuguese Grand Prix will be held by Sebastian Vettel. The qualifying performance for Vettel was his first time in Q3 with the Aston Martin Formula 1 team.

The 66-lap 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix is set to start time of 3 p.m. (10 a.m. Eastern time) on Sunday.

2021 Formula 1 Season
Portuguese Grand Prix
Qualifying Results
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda
5 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
6 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team Renault
7 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
8 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
9 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
10 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
11 63 George Russell Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
12 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
13 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team Renault
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
15 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
16 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
17 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
19 47 Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
20 9 Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari

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