Hamilton beats Verstappen in commanding Portuguese GP win

MercedesLewis Hamilton has taken a very solid victory at the Portuguese GP this Sunday in Portimao. Behind him came Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) and Valtteri Bottas onboard the other W12. Checo Pérez gave an outstanding performance to finish in fourth place, ahead of McLaren´s Lando Norris, fifth. 

As for Ferrari, its accomplishments at the Portuguese Grand Prix were very modest, with Charles Leclerc taking sixth place and the Spaniard Carlos Sainz finishing eleven and out of the points. 

This is Hamilton’s second victory of the season after Bahrain GP, and his 97th in Formula One. The Briton has now stretched his leadership of the title race to 69 points, eight more than Verstappen. Perhaps most importantly, the German team has finally cut Red Bull’s wings with this 1-2.

Bottas hangs on to the pole  

Bottas managed to hang on to the pole position at the start of the Portuguese GP, containing both his teammate Hamilton and Max Verstappen (Red Bull). During the second lap, a succession of intense battles in the midfield ended with Kimi Raikkonen crashing against Antonio Giovinazzi. The incident involving the two Alfa Romeos led to the deployment of the safety car, which remained on the track for four full laps. 

On that sixth lap, Bottas allowed Verstappen to get very close before resuming the race and so the latter was able to overtake Hamilton on the outside. Wounded in his pride, the #44 started imposing a relentless pace until he was able to recover his second place back from Max on the eleventh lap. 

Hamilton performs a key overtake on Bottas 

At the nineteenth lap, things remained unchanged at the lead of the race. Bottas led Hamilton by seven-tenths of a second, and both the Mercedes were pursued from afar by ‘Mad Max’. On lap twenty, however, the Englishman finally passed his teammate taking advantage of a wide gap into the turn at the end of the main straight. It was one of the key moments of the race. 

Behind them, Pérez had recovered the fourth place ahead of Norris and Sainz. On lap 22 the Spaniard went to boxes to mount medium compounds and try to undercut Norris. 

One third into the race, and Bottas was able to contain Max allowing Hamilton to escape by almost three seconds. Behind them, Pérez remained fourth, pursued by Leclerc, Ricciardo and Gasly. 

At the halfway point of the Portuguese GP (lap 33 of 66) nothing had changed at the top of the track. The two Mercedes lead ahead of Max and with the other Red Bull from Checo Pérez fourteen seconds behind in fourth.  

The pit-stop parade 

Max went to pits on lap 36 to mount hard tires. Mercedes was swift to react, emulating the strategy in the next lap. Bottas returned to the track ahead of Max, but not for long as the Dutchman would soon recover his place in a sensational manoeuvre 

Hamilton, for his part, went to pits on lap 38, returning to the lead of the race ahead of Max and Bottas. The seven-time champion and his Red Bull rival were separated by four seconds. 

Checo, who had yet to pit, was leading the pack but Hamilton overtook him on lap 51 for an undisturbed run to victory. The crown defender has thus taken his 97th F1 victory, ahead of Max and Bottas, who was awarded the fastest lap after the Dutchman’s was voided for exceeding track limits. 

Portuguese GP: Mercedes AMG F1.

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