until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Hamilton comes from behind to deny Bottas Portuguese GP pole

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix at the last moment to defeat Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas topped every session of the weekend until it counted, having set the pace in every practice session and the first two segments of qualifying.

The Mercedes drivers switched to the medium-compound tyres for their final runs in Q3. Hamilton was first to run and initially took pole, only to be beaten by Bottas’s next lap.

But Hamilton managed to do a second quick lap on the mediums, and he found enough time to defeat Bottas by 0.102 seconds.

Before Hamilton’s final improvement he was briefly off the front row, as Max Verstappen got himself between the Mercedes drivers with his final lap. In the end Verstappen had to settle for third, a quarter of a second behind Hamilton.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Portuguese Grand Prix Qualifying Day Portimao, Portugal

Charles Leclerc, who was the only other driver to progress from Q2 using the mediums along with the Mercedes drivers, grabbed fourth on the grid, ahead of Sergio Perez in the lead Racing Point.

Their late improvements knocked Alex Albon down to sixth. Red Bull’s second driver switched to the soft tyres for his final run after starting Q3 on the mediums, and after briefly getting up to fourth he fell back by the end of the session.

The McLarens of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris filled the fourth row of the grid, with Pierre Gasly ninth for AlphaTauri.

Daniel Ricciardo didn’t set a time in Q3, after spinning at the end of Q2 and nudging the barrier with his rear wing.

His Renault team tried to fit a new wing in time for him to take part in Q3, but it wasn’t possible.

With very few improvements at the end of Q2, Ricciardo’s late spin was the main drama, caused when he slightly wide on the approach to Turn 11 avoiding traffic before losing the rear end.

He still beat team-mate Esteban Ocon to a Q3 slot – and the Frenchman also almost spun at the same corner.

Ocon will be joined on the sixth row of the grid by Lance Stroll, who questioned if the track was slower at the end of Q2 as hardly any drivers improved on their final runs.

Behind Daniil Kvyat in 13th, Williams driver George Russell out-qualified the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel to take 14th place.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Portuguese Grand Prix Qualifying Day Portimao, Portugal

Vettel joined team-mate Leclerc in completing both Q2 runs on the medium tyre, a strategy only the Mercedes drivers also took.

After his unsuccessful final attempt, Vettel said over the radio that he struggled to get his front tyres warmed up for the early part of the lap, highlighting Turns 3 and 5 as the corners where he felt it the most.

Kimi Raikkonen briefly looked like he was going to escape from Q1 when his final lap put him 15th at the expense of Grosjean, but the 2007 world champion was knocked out when Russell came across the line to cement his seventh Q2 appearance of the season for Williams.

Raikkonen led the group of cars eliminated in Q1, ahead of his Alfa Romeo team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, ousted-for-2021 Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, and the second Williams of Nicholas Latifi, who was eight tenths slower than Russell.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m16.828s 1m16.824s 1m16.652s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m16.945s 1m16.466s 1m16.754s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m16.879s 1m17.038s 1m16.904s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m17.421s 1m17.367s 1m17.09s
5 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.37s 1m17.129s 1m17.223s
6 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m17.435s 1m17.411s 1m17.437s
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1m17.627s 1m17.183s 1m17.52s
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m17.547s 1m17.321s 1m17.525s
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m17.209s 1m17.367s 1m17.803s
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m17.621s 1m17.481s
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m17.775s 1m17.614s
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.667s 1m17.626s
13 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m17.841s 1m17.728s
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m17.931s 1m17.788s
15 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m17.446s 1m17.919s
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m18.201s
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m18.323s
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m18.364s
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m18.508s
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m18.777s
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