British world champion Lewis Hamilton responded to his young Red Bull opponent Max Verstappen, cutting with a Mercedes the finish line of the Portuguese Grand Prix, the third stage of the Formula One World Championship, in first place Sunday 02 May 2021 in Portimao. </p><div> <p>Hamilton led Verstappen, who won the last race at the Italian circuit, Imola, while the second Finnish driver, Valtteri Bottas, came third after he was pole position.
It is the second victory for the seven-time world champion this season, and the ninety-seventh in his career, to widen the point difference that separated him from Verstappen to seven points after the latter got the point of the fastest lap in the race.
Hamilton, who deprived Bottas from starting his 100th in his career from first place, admitted that “the race was tough both physically and mentally. I did not get a good start and lost some time on re-launch (after entering the safety car), but it was a great result in the end.”
“Things were not perfect today, and now we have to prepare for a rapid transition to Spain,” scheduled for next Sunday at the Montmelo circuit in Catalonia.
As was the case at the start, the race ended with Mercedes and Red Bull cars in the first four places, but with Bottas retreating to third place behind Mexican Sergio Pires, who finished the race from where he started, and Bottas advanced to the second, while Lando Norris (McLaren) achieved an encouraging result. He adds it to his third position in Imola and fourth in Bahrain, by ranking fifth.
After his colleague at Ferrari advanced during the qualifying trials by starting from fifth place, Spain’s Carlos Science finished the race outside the points by finishing in eleventh place, while Charles Leclerc came in sixth after Monaco started from eighth place.
As for the former Ferrari driver, German Sebastian Vettel, his joy was incomplete by his move to the third qualifying session for the first time with his new Aston Martin team, as the four-time world champion finished the race in thirteenth place outside the points.
Hamilton takes the lead since lap 11
The Mercedes duo maintained their position after starting against the Red Bull duo, but the safety car quickly intervened after a collision between the Alfa Romeo duo of Finland Kimi Raikkonen and Italian Antonio Govinatti, which led to the ex-world champion being out of the race.
And the safety car went out after the sixth lap and Verstappen managed to overtake Hamilton to second place behind Bottas, while the second Red Bull driver Peres fell to fifth in favor of Britain’s Lando Norris (McLaren), who started from seventh.
Hamilton regained second place on the 11th lap and gradually moved away from Verstappen, who suffered in straight lines, according to what he said in a call with his team, then reduced the difference that separates him from his colleague Bottas to less than a second.
Despite his suffering with the front tires, Hamilton put a lot of pressure on his colleague Bottas, at a time when Peres managed to regain his fourth position from Norris, but the Finn withstood the pressure and remained in front of the seven-time world champion with reaching lap 20 before bending at the end of this lap, leaving The way for the British to move away in light of the threat coming from Verstappen III.
The new Ferrari driver, Spain’s Carlos Science, was the first big name to stop to replace tires at a time when the leading trio remained on the track for a long time before the stoppage, which favored Verstappen, bypassing Bottas at a time when his colleague Perez was in the lead after deciding to delay his stop.
But in the end, he was forced to stop to replace his tires, opening the way for Hamilton to lead again against Verstappen and Bottas, while the Mexican fell to fourth place.
In light of the comfortable difference between Verstappen and Bottas, the Dutchman and the Finn entered Hima’s garage to replace tires on the penultimate lap with the aim of trying to get the point of the fastest lap that was ultimately the Red Bull driver’s share.