Valtteri Bottas kept Lewis Hamilton awaiting his 100th pole position as he dipped his Mercedes team-mate with the thinnest margin to take over the pole in the Portuguese Grand P. Reece
Finn set the velocity on the soft tires after the first run, keeping Hamilton at 0.007 seconds, with Mercedes opting to drop both cars off mid-run, which appeared to be faster on the run. Second
The winds, however, blew harder for the second run and both failed to improve, meaning Bottas will be the third different pole steward in many races this season due to the Mercedes. Ross easily locked her out of the 71st row.
Max Verstappen, the last table̵7;s third-place winner, ended up being the third fastest, being forced to step back when his best lap was removed due to a track limit violation.
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
His second run was well enough for third, 0.4 seconds away, with his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez running shotgun in fourth.
Carlos Sainz is the fifth-best, the Ferrari driver needed some softness to pass to Q3 after a mid-run crash in Q2, but the inclusion, when it matters, gave Alpine. Esteban Ocon’s drop was only 0.003 seconds.
Lando Norris failed to replicate his impressive pace in the first two parts of qualifying when he struggled in the top three and finished seventh for the third – but that was clear Daniel. Ricciardo, a McLaren teammate, surprised me in Q1.
Charles Leclerc finished three of his ten teammates Sainz in eighth place ahead of Pierre Gasly, while Sebastian Vettel finished 15 times from failing to reach Q3 with a top-10 closure.
2021 Portuguese GP qualifying round: Ricciardo reacts after the knockout in Q1.
Q1 – Ricciardo is knocked out for the first time since Japan in 2019.
Hamilton put a little pressure on himself when he ran in turn 1 at the windy Portimao, and as he ran over the track limit, Stewart wiped out the time to fill up his timesheet.
But the championship leaders have regrouped to time another lap with the same soft set, good enough to see him comfortably, with teammates Bottas going the fastest.
His rival Perez in Red Bull lost his footwork in turn 4, sinking him into the scree. But he re-engaged in his previous knowledge of the moment would be good enough to do Q2.
2021 Portuguese GP qualifying round: Perez slips down in Q1.
As the session went on, the track went faster and faster, with Sebastian Vettel jumping from No. 15 – on the bubble to a brilliant fourth, which eventually became eighth.
But Lance Stroll, his Aston Martin teammate, was not very lucky, the Canadiens received a new upgrade package. The exclusive this weekend was knocked on the 17th.
That wasn’t the biggest shock as Daniel Ricciardo missed out on the 16th cut, ending the day slower than McLaren teammate Lando Norris, who finished second fastest for the first Q1 elimination since the year. 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.
Read more: ‘Not a result I feel good at’ – Ricciardo at a loss to explain ‘terrible’ Q1 exit in Portugal
Esteban Ocon was late-stage to make progress, with George Russell just past past P15, while Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were the last three to leave in Q1.
Knock it out: Ricciardo, Stroll, Latifi, Schumacher, Mazepin.
Q2 – Russell missed the top 10 as Mercedes impressed.
Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Russell opted to head to the medium for the Q2, which appears to be the best tire to kick off the race, along with the rest of the crowd with a soft finish.
Hamilton didn’t make a double mistake, this time doing a build round followed by a powerful flawless push-up, dipping into 1m17s to set a leisurely pace that would not be beaten.
After the first run, Russell, Tsunoda, Sainz, Giovinazzi and Raikkonen found themselves in the drop zone, with Norris impressing again with third place behind both Mercedes.
Red Bull doesn’t appear to be getting as much media performance as their silver rivals, with Verstappen and Perez dropping in fifth and sixth places. But it’s enough to do Q3.
Vettel topped the top 10 for the first time since the British GP last year, the ninth fastest, with Sainz having to turn to the soft to pass into seventh, a division behind fellow Leclerc. His middle team
Russell missed the third quarter by just 0.05 seconds and will start 11th ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, who were almost a mates. Ocon Yuki Tsunoda and Kimi Raikkonen also failed to make the cut.
Interesting stuff: Russell, Giovinazzi, Alonso, Tsunoda, Raikkonen.
Q3 – Bottas gets the job done while Red Bull fails to shine.
Most of the field opted to do a prep lap to heat their soft tires before pushing the lap, but Verstappen was not one of them, so the Dutch opted to pound.
Unfortunately, he lost the footer at the top of the hill at turn 4, sending him so wide that he went beyond the track limit and had time to remove the grid.
Behind him, Mercedes didn’t make a mistake, with Bottas winning the first battle, giving Hamilton the smallest margin. They then switched to a midsize tire, the one they went faster than soft tires this weekend.
No improvements were made, thanks in large part to the influx of winds that made driving on slippery surfaces even more challenging, meaning Bottas took over the first pole since last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Verstappen and Perez made two Red Bulls in the top four for the second time in a row, with Sainz qualifying over Leclerc for the first time in Ferrari with fifth.
2021 Portuguese GP qualifying round: Bottas takes pole position at Portimao.
“It was a nice feeling to be on the post,” said Bottas, who holds his 17th career post. “It felt like it was a moment, so it was nice to be qualified. It was a weakness for me in the first two races, getting the tires to work.
“But again this weekend, we work hard and are delighted to see the good returns that put me in a good position for tomorrow.”
The Portuguese Grand Prix kicks off at 1500 UTC, which is 1200 UTC. Bottas takes the lead. But can he take up two main champions, Lewis Hamilton and Max Versappen, and turn it into his first win since last year’s Russian Grand Prix?