Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Lewis Hamilton Repeats As Portuguese Grand Prix Winner

Photo Credit: Unnamed Photographer/Pirelli


Hosting its first Portuguese Grand Prix last year as part of Formula 1's shuffled schedule caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Algarve International Circuit in the town of Portimao invited the 2020 drivers to a 4.653-kilometer course defined by elevation changes, heavy braking and a long front stretch that served as an effective DRS zone. The venue holding its inaugural Formula 1 race gained noteworthiness when Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Lewis Hamilton claimed his record-setting 92nd career victory in the top open wheel series. A little more than six months after the British driver achieved the monumental win, Hamilton extended his tally for all-time victories with the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix.

The 97th Formula 1 win for the current driver of the #44 Mercedes-AMG race car, Hamilton started 2nd on the grid for the 66-lap event but had fallen to third place early. Following the completion of the first lap, a collision between the Alfa Romeo race cars necessitated a safety car. The #7 machine of Kimi Raikkonen lost its front wing on the front stretch after hitting the rear of teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. Raikkonen retired from the race while Giovinazzi persevered to finish 12th. With the resumption of green flag racing on lap 7, Max Verstappen’s Honda-powered Red Bull race car snuck by Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Photo Credit: American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Portuguese Grand Prix’s polesitter, Valtteri Bottas led the race through the opening 19 laps until his teammate mounted a resurgent effort. Lewis Hamilton retook the second-place spot for lap 11 and would snatch the lead from Bottas on lap 20 maintaining the top spot until his only pit stop on lap 37. Though Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez took possession of the lead of the grand prix by virtue of a long 51-lap opening stint on a set of medium compound Pirelli tires, Hamilton would catch the Mexican pilot before the #11 car’s pit stop.

The majority of the field required just a single pit stop with the timing of the tire change differing depending on strategies. Besides Sergio Perez’s long stint on medium construction Pirelli tires, Lance Stroll extended a set of soft compound rubber to 39 laps on his #18 Aston Martin with the Canadian ultimately settling for 14th place in Portugal. Two exceptions to the single stop plan were the second and third place machines pitting with a handful of laps remaining in the Portuguese Grand Prix with sights set on the championship point for the fastest lap time. On lap 63, Valtteri Bottas came to the attention of his Mercedes-AMG crew that mounted soft compound Pirelli tires to his #77 car. As Bottas was able to post a 1-minute, 19.865-second lap time on the penultimate lap in the race, Max Versteppen launched into his pursuit for the fastest lap in the grand prix. On the final lap, the #33 Red Bull race car would record a lap time of 1 minute and 19.849 seconds. However, the Dutch driver would learn during his post-race interview that the fastest lap effort was deleted for exceeding track limits.

Crossing the line 29.148 seconds ahead of second place, Lewis Hamilton described his 97th career Formula 1 win as a “physically and mentally” tough race in post-race comments on the Mercedes AMG team website. The victory allowed the Brit to place some distance between him and Max Verstappen in the drivers’ points standings. Hamilton is now 8 points ahead of the Red Bull Racing competitor after three races.

On the podium, the two Mercedes-AMG drivers were split by the second-place finishing Max Verstappen. An attempt at a Mercedes-AMG team 1-2 finish was defeated as a result of a faulty exhaust sensor on Valtteri Bottas’ vehicle. Hovering roughly 1.5 seconds behind Verstappen with about 15 laps remaining, the sensor caused the Mercedes-Benz power unit in the #77 car to go into a protection mode that gave Bottas less straight line speed for a period during the event’s latter stage.

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

In fourth, Sergio Perez’s extended time on medium compound tires was enough to keep the Mexican driver’s Honda-powered Red Bull race car ahead of Lando Norris. Sitting third in the drivers’ championship after Portugal, Norris is five points ahead of Valtteri Bottas thanks to top five finishes in all three grand prix events so far in 2021.

Charles Leclerc charged from an eighth place starting spot to finish the Portuguese Grand Prix in a sixth place for Ferrari. With cars crossing the line in seventh and eighth on Sunday, the Alpine F1 Team is currently fifth in the constructors’ points. Frenchman Esteban Ocon narrowly placed ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso capturing two additional championship points. Australian Daniel Ricciardo made the biggest move up the running order in the 66-lap race at the Algarve International Circuit. Struggling to get a decent lap in qualifying resulting in a dismal 16th starting spot, the McLaren Racing driver rose to finish in ninth place. Ricciardo is one of five drivers who has scored points in all three races in the current season. Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly battled hard in the final laps to take the tenth and final point-paying position as the #55 Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr. dropped out of the top-10 late due to tire graining.

The 2021 Formula 1 tour’s next round has competitors cross the border from Portugal to Spain for an event on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The 2021 Spanish Grand Prix weekend starts on May 7th and concludes with a 66-lap race on Sunday, May 9th.

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

Last Modified By: 2514052
Last Modified On: Tuesday, May 04, 2021  15:51:31

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