Formula 1 Commentary

F1 Portuguese GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP3 & Qualifying

Live text commentary of all the action from the Portuguese Grand Prix's FP3 and qualifying sessions at Portimao

F1 Portuguese GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP3 & Qualifying

By: Megan White, Haydn Cobb, James Newbold, Tom Howard



1. Bottas, Mercedes
2. Hamilton, Mercedes
3. Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Perez, Red Bull
5. Sainz, Ferrari
6. Ocon, Alpine
7.Norris, McLaren
8. Leclerc, Ferrari
9. Gasly, AlphaTauri
10. Vettel, Aston Martin

  • Bottas (Mercedes) claims pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix with a 1m18.348s. He denies Hamilton from recording a 100th F1 pole position.
  • Verstappen will start from P3 after the Red Bull driver had a lap good enough for pole deleted for exceeding track limits. 
  • Hamilton (Mercedes) fastest in Q2 from Bottas (Mercedes) and Norris (McLaren).
  • Russell (Williams), Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Alonso (Alpine), Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) eliminated from Q2.      
  • First Q1 elimination for Ricciardo since Japan 2019
  • Bottas (Mercedes) tops the times in Q1 from Norris (McLaren).
  • Ricciardo (McLaren), Stroll, (Aston Martin), Latifi (Williams), Schumacher (Haas) and Mazepin (Haas) eliminated from Q1.
  • Perez escapes a wild spin.
  • F1 Portuguese GP qualifying is underway. 
  • Mercedes has had to change a gearbox sensor on Bottas' car ahead of qualifying. 
Status: Stopped
That's all from us today, but make sure you're back with us tomorrow for raceday at 15:00 BST as we bring you live updates from what promises to be a superb Portuguese GP. Can Verstappen win again from the second row? See you then.
Missed any of the action from that thrilling session? Here's the full report:
But big days too for Sainz and Ocon, the former enjoying his finest moment to date in the Maranello red while the latter is demonstrating that he's not fazed at all by having a double world champion alongside him.
As for the winners, Bottas has done his chances of a confidence-boosting first win since Russia last year no harm at all with pole, that also delays Hamilton's 100th celebrations. You can pack those commemorative T-Shirts away for another week guys...
So, who were the big winners and losers from qualifying today? No question about who falls into the latter camp - a demoralising day for Ricciardo, who talked up the progress he'd made yesterday in adopting a new driving style.
That's now 17 pole positions for Bottas, which puts him level in the all-time stakes with three-time world champion Jackie Stewart. I think he'll sleep well tonight.
Well, after an utterly awful race was ended while being overtaken by a much slower car being driven by his main rival for a place at Mercedes in 2022, that's an excellent riposte from Bottas.
Amid the late drama, Gasly had a time deleted for track limits at Turn 14, but it wouldn't have been enough to move him ahead of Leclerc to P8 anyway.
Credit to Ocon, he was 0.003s behind Sainz in comfortably Alpine's best showing so far. Sixth represents a very good day's work for the Frenchman, while Sainz can be happy too with his best gridslot yet for Ferrari.
Norris has to make do with P7 for McLaren ahead of Leclerc, with Gasly ninth and Vettel rounding out the top 10 for Aston Martin.
Perez completes the number two job he was signed to do by placing fourth, ahead of Sainz - who outqualifies Leclerc for the first time as a Ferrari driver - and star performer Ocon in the Alpine.
It was only a 1m18.551s for Bottas using the mediums, but he was still quicker on that run than Hamilton with a 1m18.645s. Crucially, both were quicker than Verstappen's sole legal soft-tyre run - although he had set a time faster than both Mercs that was chalked off for track limits at Turn 4.
Verstappen comes in - so it is Bottas who takes his first pole of the season at the Portuguese GP!
Hamilton doesn't improve either - can Verstappen pull a rabbit out of the hat on his second flyer with the softs? It seems unlikely...
Bottas doesn't improve on his second run. What can Hamilton do?
The checkered flag is out, can anybody else make any inroads on their current position?
Verstappen logs his first time, and it's only good enough for third on a 1m18.746s.
This is fascinating - the soft-shod Red Bull going up against the medium-shod Mercedes. Who will win out? And can Bottas hold off Hamilton, who is seeking pole number 100?
Verstappen sticks with the softs for his next run.
Here come the Mercedes... And they're on mediums!
Behind the top 3, Sainz is fourth, Norris fifth, then Leclerc, Gasly, Ocon and Vettel in P9.
And what will Verstappen be able to do on his all-or-nothing final run?
For reference, Hamilton's best time in Q2 was a 1m17.968s, the best time set so far. Will drivers revert back to the mediums for their final Q3 runs in search of extra performance?
Hamilton is second on a 1m18.355s, with Perez third on a 1m18.890s. Verstappen down in tenth, the only driver yet to set a time.
It's Bottas who goes fastest in the first flyers for Mercedes, a 1m18.348s which is slower than Hamilton managed in Q2 on the mediums. Hmmmm....
Verstappen's lap is deleted for track limits at Turn 4!
Interesting that Verstappen should be following such a different strategy from the Mercedes drivers, who are on for a better lap...
Ocon is the first driver to lick the stamp and send it with a 1m19.482s, with Verstappen then doing likewise on a 1m18.209s.
It's preparation laps from Gasly, Leclerc and Norris so far - clearly drivers deciding not to go for a push lap straight away while they build temperature.
Eight of the 10 cars are out straight away at the start of the session with Verstappen and Vettel the two opting to hang back for now.
After that demoralising (if you're a Red Bull fan) lap from Hamilton on the mediums in Q2, can Verstappen redress the balance on the softs?
Here we go then, Q3 is underway with Gasly the first man out.
So who's your money on for Q3? We'll find out very shortly...
Welcome back too, Sebastian Vettel. That's his first Q3 showing since last year's British GP.
Verstappen was just under 0.7s down on Hamilton with the medium tyres in Q2. Even if that's not representative of his car balance on the softs in Q3, he'll want to make sure that deficit is addressed before the race start on those tyres tomorrow.
So the drivers that will contest the Q3 top 10 shootout are as follows:

1. Hamilton
2. Bottas
3. Norris
4. Ocon
5. Verstappen
6. Leclerc
7. Sainz
8. Perez
9. Vettel
10. Gasly
So it's Russell, Giovinazzi, Alonso, Tsunoda and Raikkonen that miss out - galling for Russell, who is just half a tenth away from a spot in the top 10 in P11.
Now Russell improves, but is just short of Sainz in P11 on a 1m19.109s.