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Portuguese Grand Prix 2020 | Spectacular start at Portimao ice rink

Portuguese Grand Prix 2020 | Spectacular start at Portimao ice rink

27-04-2021 08:38 Last update: 09:24
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On October 25 it was time for the first Portuguese Grand Prix since 1996 in Estoril. For the first time, there was racing in Portimao. It was a spectacular start, but normality quickly resumed. Read here the details of last year's race below. 

Return Portuguese Grand Prix

The 2020 Formula 1 season changed dramatically with coronavirus and so a lot of Grands Prix were cancelled. Because of all the races that were cancelled, F1 had to look for new locations. One of those new locations was Portimao, which had never been used as a Formula 1 circuit before.

And so in October 2020, we arrived in Portugal, at the unique circuit of Portimao. The circuit has a lot of difference in altitude and has some unique corners. Besides that, every mistake is punished, because next to the track there are no run-off lanes, but just a gravel trap or a lot of grass.

Slipping in Portimao

Qualifying in Portimao was exciting, although like the rest of the year you could fill in P1 and P2. Lewis Hamilton took pole, one-tenth of a second ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas. Yet Max Verstappen was surprisingly close during this qualifying session, with less than three tenths difference to the number one.

It promised to be an exciting race, and in the first few laps, this seemed to be the case. The fresh asphalt was very slippery and so many drivers struggled for grip in the opening laps. Carlos Sainz even took the lead for a while, while Max Verstappen spun Sergio Perez around due to a moment of understeer.

 
 
 
 
 
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Midfield example for 2021?

After a few laps, everyone got into their rhythm though as the tyres started to click, and Verstappen drove back to P3. Hamilton had lost his first spot at the start, but managed his tyres better than Bottas and got back into the lead. Hamilton then cruised to victory, while Verstappen never really posed a threat to Bottas again.

In the midfield, however, it was clear that when teams and drivers are close, there can be some great battles on this circuit. While the 2020 edition may have been a bit boring with the top three not really close to each other, the 2021 edition could be very different, with a nice fight between Verstappen and Hamilton.

As the chequered flag dropped, Hamilton crossed the line in P1 for the 92nd time in his Formula 1 career. Thus surpassing Michael Schumacher's career win record. This weekend, the British driver has the chance of recording another milestone in Portugual. If Hamilton sits on pole, he will do so for the 100th time in his career. 

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