Whilst Portugal may not have provided us with as much on-track action as Bahrain and Imola, there are still plenty of positives to take away from the race. Take a look to see why you should give the last Grand Prix some more credit.
Mercedes vs Red Bull
The battle for dominance between Mercedes and Red Bull continued in Portimao. It was a race of strategy at the forefront of the fight this time around. At Mercedes, Bottas gave the F1 a glimmer of hope that he might be in with a chance of fighting for the championship this year as he snatched Pole Position away from Hamilton. He then made it trickier than normal for the seven-time world champion to take the lead away from him on race day. But an absolutely sublime overtake from Hamilton on Bottas proved once again why the Brit is the best driver of his generation.
Over at Red Bull, it would seem Perez might be putting the last few pieces together to feel comfortable in his new team. With some fun to watch strategy calls towards the end of the race to claim the point for fastest lap, Perez is the driver Red Bull have been looking for but haven’t had for the past few years. 2021 is the year that they have the drivers they need to bring the fight to Mercedes all year long. Bring it on.
Alpine made some big gains this time out in what is hopefully not a one-hit-wonder for the team. Ocon delivered in qualifying and was able to bring home the bacon on Sunday with a solid haul of points. Fuelled by his displeasure at qualifying down in thirteenth place, two-time world champion Alonso was a man possessed as he worked his way slowly but surely up the field and into the points.
It was great to see the Alonso of old storm past the likes of Daniel Ricciardo who has a much superior car. Unless you’re Ricciardo that is.
Mixed Feelings for McLaren
McLaren had a mixed weekend. As mentioned, Ricciardo would’ve liked to do better. But finishing ninth after starting in sixteenth is a sold improvement. Hopefully it won’t be long before the fan favourite Aussie gets up to speed. Norris meanwhile continues to deliver with his third top-five finish in as many races. He’ll be hoping to stay in front of Bottas in the drivers’ championship for as long as possible.
The sedated midfield
Ferrari had a quiet weekend with Leclerc finishing in a decent sixth place on Sunday. Sainz tumbled down out of the points but this was due more to his tyres being absolutely knackered rather than his ability in the car. The prancing horses seem to be making a silent and impressive comeback. Keep your eyes on them moving forwards.
The same can’t be said for Aston Martin, who once again had a disappointing race. Both drivers didn’t seem to be anywhere. One has to wonder how long the team can claim it’s just because of the disadvantage they have with the car this year, rather than the drivers in the car.
AlphaTauri also had an uneventful weekend with Gasly doing alright but not showing his 2020 pace. Tsunoda meanwhile seemed to be out of sorts, scrapping towards the back of the grid. Alfa Romeo too didn’t have a great time as Kimi made an unusual – and rookie – error on lap two as he collided with his teammate and took himself out of the race. *Insert sad Kimi noises*. Giovinazzi continued unscathed and finished in a solid twelfth place. Some points soon would be nice for both teams though.
Woe for Williams
Williams showed some great improvement in qualifying with George Russell only narrowly missing out on a spot in Q3. But unfortunately for the team, their race pace is still lacking significantly. Russell went as saying that it was “a race of survival.” Ouch. Latifi meanwhile had a shocker of a race which meant that the Haas of Mick Schumacher was able to fight him on several occasions and finally overtake the Canadian. That’s got to hurt too.
Mick will be happy with his weekend as he finally got to do some racing. His overtake on Latifi is even more impressive when one considers he was forced to move out of the way several times due to blue flags.
The other Haas driver being over a minute behind Mick says pretty much all you need to know really, as the race showed, yet again, that simply buying a seat in an F1 team doesn’t suddenly give you the talent to drive the car.
Overall, it was a more methodical race. But between Alonso finding his feet and Hamilton asking for blue flags to be shown to Perez – before being told who it was and that they were racing him – there were a good few stand out moments. Perhaps if we hadn’t all been treated to two awesome races already, we would’ve appreciated Portimao more. Maybe after next week’s race in Barcelona, we will.
Join us again next time to see what our thoughts were on the race and let us know what you thought about the Portuguese Grand Prix in the comments below.