There was a lot of excitement ahead of the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix after the unpredictable qualifying session produced a mixed grid. However, in the end, the somewhat sleepy race settled into the usual patterns after a few laps and it was Lewis Hamilton that stood on the top step of the podium when the dust settled.
The reigning world champion started his race in second place behind his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, but still managed to pull off his record 97th race victory in the end. Hamilton did not get off to a great start, with Bottas getting more cleanly off the line. Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen collided with his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in the second lap and prompted the safety car to come out.
At the restart, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen caught a sleeping Hamilton off guard to take second place. The Dutchman looked strong enough to challenge Bottas before making a mistake to let Hamilton right back up to second place. The Briton then passed his teammate to take the lead and the eventual victory.
In the end, it was Hamilton , Verstappen and Bottas on the podium once more, in what has become a familiar combination of names since last season. It was not a straightforward race for Hamilton, but he somehow made it look easy.
Meanwhile, there was not much else to get thrilled about from the race. Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished in 7th and 8th respectively, in what is a big jump in performance for the team.
Lando Norris continues to be strong for McLaren, but it is becoming evident that Daniel Ricciardo needs to get his act together or risk getting humiliated by his younger teammate. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz out-qualified teammate Charles Leclerc but still ended up behind the Monegasque prodigy in the end.
As expected, Nikita Mazepin was dead last, and even earned himself a 5-second penalty for ignoring blue flags as then-race leader Sergio Perez tried to pass.
The next race comes in just a week’s time, and fans will be hoping that there will be more action and more surprises when F1 heads to Barcelona this weekend.