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Formula 1

Hamilton survives hectic start for record 92nd F1 win

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
8 min read

Lewis Hamilton set a new record for number of victories in Formula 1 with a commanding performance in the Portuguese Grand Prix, after an eventful start where Carlos Sainz Jr’s McLaren led the race.

Championship leader Hamilton comfortably defeated team-mate Valtteri Bottas to move a race win clear of the record of 91 wins he shared with Michael Schumacher following the Eifel Grand Prix.

However, things didn’t look straightforward at the start of the race, when a few spots of rain put the drivers starting on the medium-compound tyres – including both Mercedes – into trouble as they struggled for grip and tyre temperature.

Valtteri Bottas recovered from a poor getaway to pass Hamilton for the lead on the opening lap, but halfway round lap two Sainz’s McLaren – running on soft tyres – took the lead at the Turn 5 hairpin.

Sainz held onto the lead until lap six, with the Mercedes drivers able to deal with him with ease once their tyres had come alive.

Bottas’s poor start almost led to him falling behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but as Bottas broke clear of his attackers in the opening corners, Verstappen and Perez collided at Turn 4.

The Racing Point was spun around on the outside, with Verstappen able to continue, and the stewards declaring the incident wasn’t worthy of investigation.

Bottas and Hamilton cruised away from the field over the opening 20 laps, before Hamilton found a way through into the lead with the help of a very powerful DRS zone into Turn 1.

From there Hamilton was never challenged, pulling away from Bottas to win the race by 25 seconds.

The only scare Hamilton had late on came when he complained of suffering a right-calf cramp in the final laps.

Verstappen took a lonely third place behind the Mercedes drivers, briefly looking like he might get a chance to attack Bottas when the Finn initially struggled for tyre temperature after his only pitstop of the race. But while the gap came down to around seven seconds, Bottas was able to extend it again once his tyres came in.

Behind Verstappen, Charles Leclerc put in one of the drives of the day to take fourth place for Ferrari, while his team-mate Sebastian Vettel was down in 10th.

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

Pierre Gasly won a late-race battle for fifth place, passing Perez with two laps to go, one lap after he was furious with the Racing Point driver for a late block on the run to Turn 1.

Perez also lost out to Sainz for sixth a lap later, but seventh was still a decent return from his lap one crash. He got back into contention with a long stint after pitting for repairs on the opening lap, and then coming in for a second stop to take softs to the finish, which didn’t quite hold on long enough for him to keep fifth.

Esteban Ocon did more than 50 laps on his first set of tyres to come home eighth ahead of Renault team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was just ahead of Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen finished just outside the points in 11th, after a brief cameo near the front of the field when he made up 10 places to run sixth in the tricky conditions at the start.

Behind Raikkonen, Alex Albon endured a miserable race to 12th, finishing a lap down on Red Bull team-mate Verstappen on what was a key weekend for him to make a case to keep his drive for 2021.

Lando Norris in the second McLaren was 13th. His race was ruined after a collision with Lance Stroll at Turn 1, which Stroll received a five-second penalty for after he tried to pass the McLaren around the outside but didn’t leave enough space, leading to contact that damaged both cars.

Stroll then picked up another penalty for track limits offences, and Racing Point later decided to call him in to retire, citing floor damage that was affecting his car’s balance.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 66 46 1h29m56.828s 1m18.75s 1 26
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 66 16 +25.592s 1m19.345s 1 18
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 66 0 +34.508s 1m19.854s 1 15
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 66 0 +1m05.312s 1m20.824s 1 12
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 65 0 +1 lap 1m20.551s 1 10
6 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 65 4 +1 lap 1m20.268s 1 8
7 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 65 0 +1 lap 1m20.802s 2 6
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 65 0 +1 lap 1m20.859s 1 4
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 65 0 +1 lap 1m20.906s 1 2
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 65 0 +1 lap 1m20.731s 1 1
11 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 65 0 +1 lap 1m21.058s 1 0
12 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 65 0 +1 lap 1m19.89s 2 0
13 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 65 0 +1 lap 1m19.36s 2 0
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 65 0 +1 lap 1m20.882s 1 0
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 65 0 +1 lap 1m21.893s 1 0
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 65 0 +1 lap 1m21.664s 1 0
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 65 0 +1 lap 1m21.46s 1 0
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 64 0 +2 laps 1m21.859s 1 0
19 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 64 0 +2 laps 1m20.449s 2 0
Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 50 0 DNF 1m21.694s 3 0
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