Portuguese Grand Prix – Qualifying


Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of F1 victories when he won the Eifel Grand Prix two weeks ago. That puts HAM 69 points ahead of his teammate, who in turn is just 14 points ahead of VER; Mercedes are 180 points clear of Red Bull, with Racing Point third despite their 15 point penalty.

News:

  • It’s hard to follow what happened with Stroll feeling ill at the previous race, but the summary is that he had some COVID symptoms, a doctor said he didn’t need a test; STR went home (in Switzerland) where he tested positive but Racing Point didn’t inform the FIA [BBC]
    Racing Point say they’ve ‘learned’ from their handling of Stroll’s illness after FIA give them ‘reminder’ [FIA]

  • Haas have announced they’ll drop GRO and MAG for 2021; they want paid drivers instead – [BBC]
    GRO said “when I spoke to Gene, he said: ‘For financial reasons, I need both of you out.'”

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: BOT (1:18.410), HAM, VER, LEC, ALB, SAI, PER, RAI, RIC, GAS
  2. FP2: BOT (1:17.940), VER, NOR, LEC, SAI, VET, GAS, HAM, OCO, ALB
    HAM reports vibrations, “I can’t see that much”; told to box if he wants; “It feels pretty bad out here”
    A few spins as the wind changes direction
    Renault are running some 2021 prototype tyres for Pirelli
    GRO complains “it’s impossible” to see the limits of Turn 1 and says he’ll raise it in the drivers’ meeting
    VET says “it’s completely silly” as he’s lapping in traffic
    Red flag – GAS’s AlphaTauri is on fire! [video]
    Marshals put it out but it’ll take a few minutes to clear the track
    VER is angry that STR passes him; VER lunges at STR and they collide; STR is in the gravel trap; VER limps back to the pits
    Red flag so the marshals can recover STR’s car
    Incident involving VER and STR is under investigation [video]
    update: the stewards ruled that neither was “wholly or predominantly at fault”
  3. FP3: BOT (1:16.654), HAM, VER, GAS, ALB, LEC, SAI, PER, NOR, OCO
    “Track limits at Portimao have been changed for the rest of the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend after a staggering total of 125 lap times were deleted at Turns 1 and 4 over the two free practice sessions on Friday.” “From now on, at Turns 1 and 4, times will only be deleted if drivers leave the track and cut behind the red and white kerb on the exits of those corners. However, track limits at Turn 15 (the final turn) are much stricter. Drivers will have their current and next lap times deleted if “no part of the car remains in contact with the track”.” [FIA]
    More spins, with LEC flat-spotting his tyres and HAM across the gravel at Turn 8
    RIC had a problem with his Renault’s DRS not working
    A drain cover lifted up causing the red flags to come out, ending FP3 about a minute early

Qualifying starts soon… Oh, wait!

Qualifying delayed until 14:30
Earlier, Sebastian Vettel ran over a drain cover, dislodging it and bringing FP3 to a premature end. We have just had news that qualifying has been delayed by half an hour, as the track repair is still in progress.

A similar problem happened recently to RUS in FP2 for Azerbaijan 2019, and to GRO in FP2 for Malaysia 2017.

Looks like the Portimao marshals have found another loose drain cover, so there may be a further delay 🙁
No updates from Race Control though, so maybe Quali will start shortly

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
The McLaren pair lead a queue of cars out of the pit lane
Air temperature 21°C; track 35°C; wind 4km/h; humidity 49%
PER 1:18.040
LEC 1:17.974
VER 1:17.700
PER 1:17.629
BOT 1:17.064
(NOR P2)
LAT’s lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
(HAM P2)
BOT 1:16.945
VER 1:16.879
VET’s lap time deleted
HAM 1:16.828
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are GRO, RAI, RUS, MAG, LAT
GRO P15, relegating GIO to P16
RUS P16
LAT P19
Chequered flag; RUS, GIO, RAI, LAT, MAG
RAI P15, GRO P16
GIO P16
MAG P19
RUS P15, RAI P16
Back of the grid: RAI, GIO, GRO, MAG, LAT

Qualifying session 2
STR 1:17.626
PER 1:17.129
Mercedes are on mediums, as are the Ferrari pair – everyone else on softs
BOT 1:16.466
VET gets in the way of HAM’s quick lap, only P10
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are OCO, STR, KVY, VET, RUS
RUS P14
Chequered flag
RIC backwards across the gravel but keeps it running and recovers
Middle of the grid: OCO, STR, KVY, RUS, VET

Top 10 shootout will be between BOT, HAM, VER, PER, SAI, NOR, GAS, LEC, ALB and RIC

Qualifying session 3
BOT was fastest in FP1, FP2, FP3, and Q2, so who will be on pole?
Everyone on softs except ALB on mediums
BOT 1:16.986
HAM P2
LEC P3
PER P3
ALB P3
VER P6 because he’s going for a double warm-up lap
NOR P5
SAI P6
LEC P3
PER P4
VER P3
SAI P6
Order after the first quick runs: BOT, HAM, VER, LEC, PER, SAI, ALB, NOR; no time for GAS, RIC
ALB P7
Renault are replacing RIC’s rear wing
NOR P7
Both Mercedes going out on mediums
GAS P9
HAM 1:16.934
BOT 1:16.754
Chequered flag
ALB P4
VER P2
LEC P4
PER P5
HAM 1:16:652
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, VER, LEC, PER, ALB, SAI, NOR, GAS, RIC

HAM’S 97th pole – there’s 5 more races this year, so maybe he can make it a century

Interviews:
HAM: “I can’t tell you how hard that was today, yes we’ve got a great car but you have to drive your nuts off here this weekend. He decided to do one [lap] and I was like okay this gives me an opportunity. I went out there nice and early, I wanted to have an extra run and it worked perfectly.”
BOT: “It’s a bit hit and miss, I’m happy with Q3, the lap itself was decent. P3, not too far behind so a lot to play for tomorrow.”
VER: “At the end we decided to go for the mediums as they seemed quicker. It was my decision to go for one timed [lap] as that worked in Q2. It was a decent lap, not perfect.”

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VER, LEC, PER, ALB, SAI, NOR, GAS, RIC, OCO, STR, KVY, RUS, VET, RAI, GIO, GRO, MAG, LAT

[2020 calendar] [2020 line-up]