5 takeaways from the Portuguese Grand Prix

Portuguese Grand Prix: 5 takeaways

An F1 racing car. Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Lewis Hamilton extended his lead at the top of the Formula 1 world championship to eight points with an impressive win in Portugal.

Valterri Bottas started on pole, with Hamilton just behind him as Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid. Red Bull were just behind them with Max Verstappen starting third and Sergio Perez in fourth.

The front three all got away well at lights out and the Bottas waited until the absolute last second to start racing again following a safety car after Kimi Raikkonen collided with teammate Antonio Giovanazzi which led to the Finnish driver losing his front wing and having to retire from the race.

Perez was voted driver of the day after some superb tyre management that saw him race on medium compound tyres for the 51 laps before eventually pitting and taking P4 at the chequered flag.

Advantage Hamilton

It has been a pulsating start to this year’s Formula 1 season with Hamilton going for his eighth world championship and Verstappen pushing for his first.

Hamilton won by only a car length in the opener at Bahrain whilst Verstappen cruised to victory in Imola following a rare mistake by Hamilton but he was able to salvage second place following a safety car restart.

Hamilton showed off his experience and ability with a couple of overtakes on Bottas and Verstappen to get himself into first position after Verstappen got past him early, however a mistake by the Dutchman at turn 14 allowed Hamilton to reclaim his spot. Hamilton then superbly at turn one and two got past his teammate to take the lead.

He never looked in danger of losing his lead, aided by a well-timed pit stop.  Perez did lead the race for a while but the Mexican was yet to pit and gave up his lead once his medium compound tyres had run their course.

Contrasting days for McLaren

Daniel Riccardo, in his third race at McLaren was knocked out in Q1 on Saturday but was able to salvage a ninth-place finish. His teammate, Lando Norris carried on his impressive start to this season with another top-five finish, following on from his podium at Imola.

Riccardo was able to climb back up into the points after an impressive couple of laps at the start of the race after starting at P16.

Norris is currently sitting third in the drivers’ championship and will be looking to maintain his form going into this weekend at the Spanish grand prix.

Peculiar day for Sainz

Carlos Sainz lined up at lights out on Sunday in P5 after he out-qualified his teammate at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc for the first time.

Sainz struggled to maintain this position following his pit stop when he switched onto the medium compound tyres then fell down the order and ended up in P11 at the chequered flag.

Sainz now sits 14 points behind his teammate in the drivers’ championship.

Alpine’s season up and running

Alpine, formerly known as Renault, struggled in the first two races of the season with Esteban Ocon and former world champion Fernando Alonso at the helm.

Ocon out-performed his teammate for the third straight race with the Frenchman finishing in P7. Alonso recovered from a spin in qualifying that left him outside the top ten and finished in P8.

Alonso will be looking to build from this at his home grand prix on Sunday as Alpine look to be more competitive in the constructors’ championship.

Another tricky day for Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel qualified in P10 for the grand prix. It was the first time the four-time world champion has started in the top ten in 15 races.

However, his teammate Lance Stroll had a disastrous Saturday after going out in Q1 and starting 17th on the grid.

Vettel dropped drastically down the order in the fight for points as they now sit seventh in the constructors’ championship. Vettel and Stroll crossed the checkered flag finishing 13th and 14th.

Vettel is yet to score a point in the green of Aston Martin.