F1 Portuguese GP: Hamilton beats Bottas to secure all-time F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton triumphed in Formula 1's 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Mercedes recovering from slow, slippery opening laps, as Carlos Sainz Jr led the early stages

F1 Portuguese GP: Hamilton beats Bottas to secure all-time F1 win record

As light rain fell on the first tour, Hamilton slipped off the road and fell behind his team-mate, but was able to recover to take his eighth win of 2020 and with it the outright record for F1 wins on 92, with Max Verstappen completing the podium after clashing with Sergio Perez on the dramatic first lap.

At the start, Hamilton held the lead off the line as Bottas made a slow getaway from the right-hand side of the grid, away from the racing line, which meant he dropped behind Verstappen into Turn 1.

But the Red Bull ran slightly wide on the exit, which allowed Bottas to surge to the inside and muscle his way back into second at the tight, right-hand Turn 3.

Verstappen had to run so wide on the exit he lost momentum and Perez came alongside, with the pair making contact through the kink of Turn 4, which spun the Racing Point around and down to last - in a clash that the stewards deemed not worthy of investigation.

A few metres up ahead, Hamilton locked up into Turn 5 and slide wide, with Bottas able to nip by into the lead as they ran back up the hill into the second sector. But as spots of rain began to fall, both Mercedes struggled to fire up the temperature in their medium tyres and were passed by Sainz's McLaren.

The Spaniard had shot off the grid from seventh on the grid, using the grip advantage from his soft tyres and capitalising on the Verstappen/Perez collision before surging into the lead, passing Bottas out of the Turn 5 hairpin on the second lap, with his team-mate Lando Norris following him up the order from eighth to run fourth at the end of lap one.

Sainz's lead was one-second at the end of lap one of 66 and he continued to pull away from the Mercedes drivers, bit-by-bit, over the next three laps.

But by lap five the Mercedes drivers had got their tyres back up to temperature and quickly hauled him in, with Bottas sweeping back into the lead at the start of lap six around the outside line into Turn 1.

Hamilton came by at the same place at the start of the next lap, with Sainz by this stage struggling for grip on his softs.

Verstappen had recovered from his first lap dramas to pass Norris and then follow the Mercedes cars back by Sainz by the start of lap eight, having set an early fastest lap as he began his fightback.

But by this stage Verstappen, also on the softs, was 4.4s off the lead and he was not able to show better pace, quickly falling further way.

Bottas appeared to be able to hold Hamilton at bay, with the world champion complaining about the feeling of his left-front medium, the tyre under most pressure around Portimao, as they lapped clear of the rest in the low 1m22s and medium-to-high 1m21s.

But a series of fastest laps from Hamilton between lap 15 and 17 got him close to his team-mate, and two laps later he was all over his title rival's W11, getting back into the lead with a DRS run at the start of lap 20.

Bottas stole to the inside, running close to the pitwall, but it did not disrupt Hamilton's run and he easily took first as he swept in Turn 1.

Hamilton rapidly pulled away from Bottas, getting his lead up to three seconds by the start of lap 23, with Verstappen nowhere near a position to threaten the Mercedes supremacy.

The Red Bull driver then pitted to take the medium tyres, dropping back to sixth as he switched onto the harder rubber, having had Charles Leclerc start to close in on his third place before pitting.

Throughout the middle third of the race, Hamilton was able to lap consistently in the 1m20s, with Bottas not able to get into that bracket until lap 34 - by which time Hamilton was eight seconds clear - with the Finn also reporting a dash warning to cool his car.

Mercedes had instructed Hamilton to stretch his opening stint on the mediums, which he did until lap 40 with his lead approaching 10s, when he came into take hard tyres - despite insisting his existing tyres could go further.

Hamilton was told he had "cleared the field" and he duly pitted, retaking first when Bottas came in a lap later - with the second Mercedes also being given hards despite Bottas considering taking softs to run an alternative strategy to his team-mate.

At the pit exit, which feeds directly into the high-speed Turn 1, Bottas had to slow to allow the fast-approaching Kimi Raikkonen and George Russell through, which cost him time. He then lost further ground coming out of the Turn 5 hairpin, appearing to struggle for grip and tyre temperature.

Bottas's issues meant Hamilton's lead rose immediately to over 11s, and a series of rapid times in the low 1m20s took the world champion's advantage towards 15s.

He continued to pull away thereafter, with Bottas finally able to match Hamilton as they swapped what were then fastest laps on the 47th tour.

But Hamilton was then able to extended his gap further, despite reporting feeling some cramp in his right calf during the late stages, taking the fastest lap in the 1m18s towards the end as he surged clear to win by 25.5s.

Verstappen briefly looked under threat from Leclerc when the Ferrari stopped on lap 35, but the Monegasque driver could not compete on his hard tyres and a nine second gap between the pair became 30.8 at the flag.

Pierre Gasly, who had been able to keep his softs alive early as the McLarens faded from their high opening positions, took fifth - triumphing in a firm fight with the recovering Perez in the final laps.

After stopping at the end of the first lap following his clash with Verstappen, Perez had completed a long second stint on the mediums but the red-walled softs he took for a third stint to the flag gave up.

He was passed by Gasly's AlphaTauri when the leaders were on lap 64, a lap after Perez had defended late to the inside of Turn 1 - which is under investigation by the stewards.

Sainz then demoted Perez to seventh a lap after Gasly had swept around his outside at Turn 1, with the Renault pair Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo taking eighth and ninth.

Ocon had run until lap 53 on his starting mediums, with Ricciardo fighting Gasly in the middle phase of the race before dropping back and ending behind his team-mate when he finally stopped.

Sebastian Vettel rose from 15th on the grid to take the final point in 10th.

Norris came home 13th, having fallen down the order in a clash with Lance Stroll, when the Racing Point driver had tried a wild move on the far outside into Turn 1 in the early stages.

The pair collided as Stroll turned in on the McLaren, for which he was given a five-second penalty for causing the collision, later getting the same time penalty for repeated track limits before he retired late-on due to damage he had picked up in the crash and subsequent high-speed spin.

Results - 66 laps

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h29m56.828s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 25.592s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 34.508s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m05.312s
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1 Lap
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1 Lap
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1 Lap
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 1 Lap
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 Lap
11 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1 Lap
12 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1 Lap
13 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1 Lap
14 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 2 Laps
19 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 2 Laps
- Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes Accident damage


shares
comments
Autosport 70: Why Portimao is the right home for the Portuguese GP
Previous article

Autosport 70: Why Portimao is the right home for the Portuguese GP

Next article

Hamilton had to lift off during F1's Portuguese GP with leg cramp

Hamilton had to lift off during F1's Portuguese GP with leg cramp
Load comments
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022