An electrifying start under the rain
Polesitter Hamilton lead on as the rain started to fall halfway through the first lap. The Briton and his Finn teammate, contrary to the rest of the grid, had started the race on medium-hard tires and soon they realized they were in a critical situation.
The slippery surface of the tarmac and the harder to warm-up tires turned the track into an ice-skating rink. But the world champion and his nerves of steel didn’t disappoint. Not even when a spectacular Carlos Sainz (McLaren) passed him to take the lead for the first time at a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The defending champion knew he just had to wait for the race to settle, keeping his position and without making any mistakes. Luck was on his side as soon after the clouds dispersed and the rain stopped.
It wasn’t long before things went back to what we are used to, with the black arrows leading the race. Bottas soon took over the Spaniard followed by Hamilton on the seventh lap.
Hamilton saves his tires and affirms his superiority
From that moment on, the #44 let Bottas lead the race for a few laps while he kept to a controlled and prudent distance. In that way, the Briton saved his tires while gearing up for the attack on his favourite pray.
On the sixteenth lap, he was ready to attack. Hamilton, playing his masterful hand, was hot on the heels of his Scandinavian victim. At the same time, Bottas was beginning to suffer a lack of consistency in his front and rear right tires as a result of his strong rhythm in the opening laps. The prey was in the jaws of the big bad wolf.
The overtaking came following some rather unnecessary team order, judging by the pace of each of the teammates. It is clear that Toto Wolff wants to win the drivers’ title as soon as possible, as does his star driver.
From that moment on things developed as usual: Hamilton shining before Bottas’ impotent gaze. The attitude of #77, in any case, deserves a good deal of praise.
Despite suffering one defeat after another, he has never given up and continues to rebel against the situation. The opposite could be said of Vettel, who has long surrendered to the superiority of Leclerc.
Also to note was the performance of Verstappen who took his ninth podium. The #33 kept close to the Mercedes, always ready to attack in case of a mistake.
At the initial lap, he managed to come out unscathed from a light touch with the always feisty Checo Perez. From then on, he could only bear witness to Mercedes’ blatant superiority but without ever lowering his guard.
Images of F1 Portuguese GP: Mercedes AMG F1.