The 2021 Portuguese GP might have seen Bottas stamping his authority on qualifying but on race-day, Hamilton rose akin to a towering storm to conquer the twin challenges that lay in his path- his teammate and Max Verstappen!
In taking his second win in three races, Lewis Hamilton now sits firmly on top of the points table giving yet more trouble to an otherwise fast-catching Red Bull of Max Verstappen, his main contender.
But what were the most clinical and dramatic moments from the 66-lap contest and which moments made for the key talking points from the 2021 Portuguese GP?
Tough day out in the field for Valtteri
Where’s Valtteri Bottas going to score a win this season remains the imperceptible question for the 2021 F1 season. After he bagged a strong pole and emerged the man most certain to tame the undulating Portimao-bound circuit, it did appear after all that Portugal was his for the taking.
But Bottas’ undoing came on lap 20, as his teammate Hamilton executed a mega move on the outside on the main straights to move up into the lead of the Grand Prix. This is when until such time he’d gotten off cleanly and absolutely unscathed of any pressure from behind.
Later in the race, it would be Verstappen who’d get the measure of Bottas weaving a bit too much immediately upon the pit exit, where he was found wanting putting too much pressure on the hard compounds in a bid to generate heat.
Resultantly, Verstappen would put himself up into second, a position he was never going to concede.
Therefore, definitely one of the key talking points from the 2021 Portuguese GP was Bottas yet again failing to capitalise despite bagging pole and having the best-possible position on the grid from which to dominate.
Alonso shows class
Prior to the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, the only point Fernando Alonso scored was due to a 30-second penalty extended to Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, an act that enabled the returning Spaniard to open his account but without him having to work hard for it.
But out here in Portimao, Alonso drove in the fashion of a king who was being serenaded to one epic rhythm.
Not once did he seem under pressure from the other competitive midfielders like the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly or the McLaren of Daniel Riccardo.
And implicit in Alonso’s P8 was his supreme pass on Riccardo, who was, arguably speaking, contending in a much faster machine. But the fresher tyres and stronger grip experienced by El Nino allowed him to make a super pass on the inside of the McLaren on the main straights, a move that saw the Alpine take P9.
Few laps later, the zesty Fernando Alonso passed his Spanish compatriot Carlos Sainz Jr., at around the same spot on the Algarve track. But just who would’ve thought an Alpine to overtake a Ferrari?
Well, where there’s Alonso involved, just about anything can happen- right? And it did! A P8, in the end, was a fantastic result for a driver who hadn’t sat behind an F1 car for two straight years and is firmly back in the business.
Absolute master class from Hamilton
Attacking akin to a prowling leopard who leaves no measure undone especially where it comes jumping on a prey, Lap 11 of the Portuguese GP showed the first glimpse of Sir Lewis Hamilton’s mastery.
After he found himself undone by Verstappen early in the race, who blasted past the Mercedes driver’s defences, Hamilton produced an epic move on the outside of the Dutchman to move up and reclaim P2.
Nine laps later, he’d use supreme pace into his attack of pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and move up into the lead of the race.
An excellent overcut that put pressure further back on the trailing duo ensured that Lewis remained in control of the proceedings, going on eventually to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, one of the key talking points of the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix.
What was most impressive was the margin of Hamilton’s triumph: by the time he passed the checkered flag, he was well over 30 seconds ahead in the lead against Verstappen, stationed in second.
Fine result for the McLarens
One of the key talking points at the 2021 Portuguese GP was that both McLaren drivers performed to their limit at Portimao, garnering 18 strong points for the iconic racing outfit in the end. Giving a fine evidence of their all-round consistency, both McLarens have now scored points in each of the three rounds held so far.
But while at Portugal, Lando Norris was the key attacking driver, having begun from seventh on the grid to quickly dancing past the Red Bull of Perez inside the opening few minutes to place himself upto into fourth, Daniel Riccardo’s drive was one about maximising opportunities.
Ricciardo, on a mega long stint, was among the last of the driver’s to pit for a single-stop, a move that yielded bright prospects for a driver who had begun lowly from sixteenth on the grid. His key battles and mega passes on the main straight over Gasly and Sainz showed the prowess for overtaking hadn’t diminished whatsoever.
Lando Norris’ fourth was a fantastic result for a driver who’s emerged the true racer in the Papaya-orange liveried machine, a man who’ll take his chances come what whether at the start or toward the closing stages.
Rookie error from Kimi
Neither of the Alfa Romeo drivers are yet to score a point in four back-to-back races this season. Giovinazzi finished with a fighting twelfth but well away from any points, the only Alfa car running in contention until the checkered flag. But out here in Portimao, it did seem as if Raikkonen would do the improbable after bagging a lowly P15 in qualifying.
By as early as the first two corners, the Iceman was up into twelfth and it did seem that he’d do some magic much like the last year where despite starting from P16, he moved up into 6th at the end of the maiden lap.
But instead one of the key talking points from the 2021 Portuguese GP was the silly rookie error committed by the most experienced man on the grid, not some solid overtake.
On the main straights, sensing an opportunity to pass his teammate, Kimi ending up contacting the rear of the other Alfa Romeo and resultantly, lost his front wing only to retire immediately thereafter.
Another low key event for a driver otherwise so gifted!