Grand Prix of Portugal – Race

Despite being fifth in the points standings, BOT is on pole and aims to join the battle at the front. An hour before the start of the race, reports are that it’s warmer and less windy than Qualifying – the blustery conditions yesterday contributed to some drivers struggling and a lot of lap times deleted for exceeding track limits.

Provisional grid: BOT, HAM, VER, PER, SAI, NOR, GAS, RAI, RUS, GIO, ALO, TSU, RAI, RIC, STR, LAT, SCH, MAZ
I’ve not seen any post-Quali investigations, so that looks like how they’ll line up on the grid.

It’s dry and sunny – quite different from the previous race, when there were problems before the grid. It looks like everyone’s in their spot and no drama.

Drivers return to their cars after the anthems etc.
BOT says the padding next to his ankle is loose

BOT leads everyone away on the formation lap
SAI the only one in the top 10 starting on soft tyres; rest are on mediums

01/66: BOT stays ahead into Turn 1
SAI mugs PER for P4
ALO runs wide, drops down to P14
NOR reclaims P6 from OCO

02: RAI loses his front wing; across the gravel in Turn 1
Safety Car deployed
Replay shows RAI close on teammate GIO, tags his rear left

03[SC]: Everyone has to run through the pit lane as there’s a lot of debris on the main straight

04[SC]: SC leads everyone down the main straight this time

05[SC]: BOT, HAM, VER, SAI, PER, NOR, OCO, LEC, GAS, VET, RUS, GIO, RIC, ALO, TSU, STR, LAT, SCH, MAZ; out: RAI
Radio for BOT warning him his rear brakes are too hot
If the debris cleared away and RAI’s car has been removed from the gravel trap, why are they still behind the SC?

06[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap
BOT keeps everyone backed up until he almost reaches the start-finish line
VER dives past HAM

07: OCO hassling LEC for P7
RUS falling back to P14

08: BOT fastest lap 1:23.550
NOR passes PER for P4

09: HAM f/lap 1:23.033
DRS enabled

10/66: BOT, VER, HAM, NOR, PER, SAI, LEC, OCO, GAS, VET, RIC, GIO, ALO, STR, RUS, TSU, LAT, SCH, MAZ
VER uses DRS to close on BOT but not quite close enough to attack

11: HAM reclaims P2 from VER

12: Radio from VER asking for more power on the straights
PER asking his team to complain to the stewards that NOR was off-track when NOR took P4

13: HAM f/lap 1:22.283
Radio for TSU telling him to stop exceeding track limits

14: HAM under 1sec behind BOT; VER ~1.2sec behind HAM

15/66: BOT, HAM, VER, NOR, PER, SAI, LEC, OCO, GAS, VET, RIC, GIO, ALO, STR, TSU, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ
PER reclaims P4 from NOR

17: HAM 0.5sec behind BOT
BOT and HAM both struggling for grip in Turn 13

18: RIC closes on VET, sweeps past for P10

20/66: BOT, HAM, VER, PER, NOR, SAI, LEC, OCO, GAS, RIC, VET, GIO, ALO, STR, TSU, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ
HAM dives to the outside into Turn 1 and steals P1

21: Radio from HAM, “Tyres are pretty shot”

22: SAI pits from P6; switches to mediums; rejoins P15 behind RUS

23: NOR pits, followed by OCO, VET and GIO

24: HAM’s lead 1.8sec over BOT

25/66: HAM, BOT, VER, PER, LEC, GAS, RIC, ALO, STR, NOR
GAS pits from P6; rejoins P12

26: VER closing on BOT, he’s now got DRS
LEC pits; hard tyres go on

27: HAM f/lap 1:22.138
HAM lapping LAT (P19)

28: VET takes P13 from RUS

29: HAM f/lap 1:21.995 – his lead is now 3sec

30/66: HAM, BOT, VER, PER, RIC, ALO, STR, NOR, SAI, LEC, GAS, OCO, VET, GIO, SCH, TSU, MAZ, RUS, LAT; out: RAI

31: LAT takes P18 from teammate RUS

32: HAM f/lap 1:21.934

33 = half distance

34: HAM f/lap 1:21.613
OCO passes GAS for P11

35/66: HAM, BOT, VER, PER, RIC, ALO, STR, NOR, SAI, LEC

36: VER pits from P3; big lock-up as he hits the speed limit line; hard tyres go on; rejoins P4

37: BOT pits from P2; hards go on; rejoins P3
VER steaming up behind BOT
BOT pushes hard but doesn’t have the grip
VER dives and steals P3

38: HAM pits; hards tyres too; rejoins P2 as PER has yet to pit
LEC takes P9 from teammate SAI – was that team orders?

40/66: PER, HAM, VER, BOT, RIC, ALO, STR, NOR, LEC, SAI, OCO, GAS, VET, GIO, TSU, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ
STR pits
Radio from PER reporting “Vibrations are increasing”

41: ALO pits; hards go on; rejoins P11

42: RIC pits but stops well beyond his mark, so it’s a slow stop

43: HAM f/lap 1:21.490
BOT f/lap 1:21.407

44: HAM f/lap 1:21.380
OCO goes around the outside of SAI for P7

45/66: PER, HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, LEC, OCO, SAI, GAS, RIC, ALO, VET, GIO, STR, TSU, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ; out: RAI
PER comes up to lap MAZ but MAZ nearly side-swipes the race leader – PER almost has to stop to avoid the collision – costs him ~2secs

46: BOT f/lap 1:20.983

48: HAM f/lap 1:20.933
Radio for NOR telling him the gap; “Just let me drive, I’m flat out”
Will Red Bull delay PER’s pit stop so they can put him on softs for a couple of quick laps at the end?

49: Incident involving MAZ and PER under investigation

50/66: PER, HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, LEC, OCO, SAI, RIC, ALO, GAS, VET, GIO, STR, TSU, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ

51: HAM passes PER on the main straight
Radio from HAM questioning why there were no blue flags; told “you’re racing him”
ALO takes P9 from RIC

52: PER pits; used softs go on; rejoins P4
MAZ given 5sec penalty for the incident with PER – that’s a pretty meaningless penalty as MAZ is P19, 57sec behind SCH

55: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, NOR, LEC, OCO, SAI, ALO, RIC, GAS, VET, GIO, STR, TSU, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ
TSU runs wide, rejoins almost into the path of BOT

56: PER f/lap 1:20.643
GIO round the outside of VET for P12

57: ALO closing on SAI

58: ALO takes P8 from the Ferrari

59: SCH closing on LAT but blue flags means he’s being lapped
Radio from BOT, “Feels like I’m slow in the straights”

60/66: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, NOR, LEC, OCO, ALO, SAI, RIC, GAS, GIO, STR, VET, TSU, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ

61: STR takes P13 from teammate VET

62: Radio for PER giving him engine mode settings for the next lap

63: LAT locks up and SCH steals P17

64: BOT pits; softs go on; rejoins still P3
RIC tucked up behind SAI

65/66: VER pits for softs too
RIC takes P9
GAS also passes SAI
Radio for HAM telling him VER and BOT have pitted to go for fastest lap; “Should we?”; they decide not to

66 = final lap: BOT f/lap 1:19.865

HAM takes the chequered flag
VER P2, f/lap 1:19.849 but he was quite wide in T14
BOT P3

Interviews:
HAM: “That was such a tough race, physically and mentally, keeping everything together. I didn’t quite get as good a start as Valtteri and then lost out at the restart which was not good.”
VER: “My race was pretty decent. I had a good restart and then of course, I tried to put the pressure on Valtteri. At the end, I think we just lacked a little bit of pace but overall, Lewis got by again and once after the pit stop, the warm up is super hard on this tyres.”
BOT: “I don’t really know what happened in the first stint. I didn’t have the pace for unknown reasons. After that the second stint was pretty good but there was some issue with a sensor or something.”

Provisional result: HAM, VER*, BOT, PER, NOR, LEC, OCO, ALO, RIC, GAS; SAI, GIO, VET, STR, TSU, RUS, SCH, LAT, MAZ
DNF: RAI
*VER fastest lap
No, VER exceeded track limits and his time was deleted, so BOT gets fastest lap

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