Portugal GP – Race Review

History was made at Portimao as Lewis Hamilton crossed the finish line first to become the driver with the most race wins in the history of the sport. Hamilton who started from pole position struggled for grip in the opening lap conceding places to Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz with the latter taking over as the race leader. 

Sainz’s McLaren teammate Lando Norris also made up places in lap one going into fourth after starting from the eighth slot but nobody on the grid had a better start than Kimi Raikkonen as the Finn went up ten places all the way into sixth place.

After a few laps during which the drivers began to find their pace, Valtteri Bottas passed Carlos Sainz to take the race lead, the Spaniard was then overtaken by Hamilton then Verstappen who had dropped to fifth from third on the opening lap but had began to fight his way back. 

Lance Stroll had managed to go up a number of places after starting outside the top ten but an ill-timed overtake attempt into turn one saw the Canadian colliding into Lando Norris which resulted in both drivers falling to the back of the grid and also carrying some damage. Stroll arguably came off worse as he was then handed a five second penalty for causing a collision which in then became a ten second penalty a few laps later as he was punished for exceeding track limits several times.

Stroll making contact with Norris after failed overtake

Meanwhile his teammate, Sergio Perez who had not had a great first lap being spun round and dropping down the order had fought his way back in to the top ten.

Alex Albon dropped from sixth to outside the points and remained there as he struggled to get back into contention meanwhile the man he replaced at Redbull, Pierre Gasly was having a fantastic drive, arguably one of the best of the race as he picked out drivers to take himself further up the order. Earlier this week team principal Christian Horner had said that the seat belonging to Albon was his to lose and with his less than memorable race things aren’t looking good.

Out in front Lewis Hamilton had managed to get past his teammate and since doing so his position as race leader was sealed as he created a gap as big as nine seconds before coming in for a pit stop, after his pit stop Hamilton widened the margin to twenty seconds. Bottas had requested to going for a opposite tyre strategy from his teammate’s but his request was denied by the team.

Max Verstappen had for the most part a solitary race being too far behind the car ahead which was the black Mercedes of Bottas and too far ahead of the car behind which was Leclerc’s. 

Leclerc who towards the end was running in fourth had the car behind him change from Ocon to Perez to Gasly, with the Frenchman retaining that position to the end of the race. Behind him was Carlos Sainz who pounced on Sergio Perez towards the end of the race. Behind the Mexican was Esteban Ocon who was also among those who drove fantastically and had it not been a slightly slower than usual pit stop, could have finished higher.The Frenchman finished ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo who didn’t have the best of races coming off a podium from the Eifel Grand Prix but he still managed to stay in the points and rounding out the top ten was Sebastian Vettel. 

The only retirement of the race was Lance Stroll whom since serving his time penalties was running last, Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer had stated the reason behind the retirement was floor damage due to Stroll’s collision with Norris, the other Racing Point driver Sergio Perez who’s valiant drive earned him driver of the day honours received a reprimand from the stewards after a minor incident in which the Mexican heavily defended against Pierre Gasly. 

For some the race was fierce as they battled with others to finish as high up the order as they possibly could, showcasing their abilities as drivers. Others were victims of the poor judgement of those around them. For Lewis Hamilton however it was neither as he achieved a feat indescribable by words.

Hamilton makes history with a record breaking 92 F1 race wins

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