The Portuguese Grand Prix turned out to be another screamer for Hamilton who was outstanding. He needed to be at his awesome best as Max Verstappen is challenging hard for the title and would now be leading if Hamilton had not had one of his best days on the track.
Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc
As for Charles Leclerc, there were opportunities, but in his own words he pushed too much in qualifying ending up in eighth place on the grid with medium tyres. He was still a threat for laurels but Ferrari became puzzled that they couldn’t optimize their result on mediums. Leclerc pointed out that Ferrari had been struggling a lot on the medium with both cars and that put Ferrari on the back foot in this particular race in Portugal. In fact when they changed to a hard tyre in the race Charles found the going easier and ended up in 6th place scoring important points.
His team mate Carlos Sainz had lined up fifth on the grid. Sainz committed to an early pit stop but had a disappointing race thereafter. Believing a top 5 result and scoring major points was possible Carlos Sainz Jnr admitted he was upset with his first point-less finish for Ferrari in a race where he eventually only managed 11th place.
Hamilton Wins in Style
Hamilton ended the race with an eight-point lead in the drivers’ championship. He had lost out to Bottas earlier in the jockeying for pole position on Saturday by just 0.007 seconds. In the race itself, the two Mercedes, with Verstappen in their trail, raced away in formation at the beginning. Then a safety car was triggered on lap two when Kimi Raikkonen hit the rear of Alfa Romeo team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi and ripped away his front wing. At the restart, Bottas was halfway around the final corner when he accelerated while Verstappen cleverly swept past Hamilton on the outside of turn one.
Toward the end of lap 10, Verstappen slid on the exit of turn 14, and Hamilton took his opportunity , repassing Verstappen. Hamilton then hunted down and did the same to his Mercedes team-mate before moving on to control and win the race. He only missed out on one thing – the point for fastest lap which went to Bottas who changed to fresh tyres to do it.
Hamilton, has now moved on to 97 career Grand Prix victories, and a clear chance to secure a world record eighth world title this year.
Can Red Bull fight back in Spain? Can Charles LeClerc and Ferrari close the performance gap? There’s only a few days until F1 fans will find out this next weekend.