Bottas bounces back with pole position in Portugal, by just 0.007 seconds!

01-05-2021 16:00
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Bottas bounces back with pole position in Portugal, by just 0.007 seconds!

Valtteri Bottas has qualified on pole position for the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix and forces Lewis Hamilton to wait at least another week for his 100th career pole. Hamilton missed out by just 0.007 seconds as Mercedes lock the front-row for the first time in 2021. The Red Bull v Mercedes battle continues as Verstappen and Perez fill the second row. 

Bottas records his first pole position of the 2021 Formula 1 season, becoming the third different driver to achieve the feat in the three Grand Prix weekends. Bottas takes his pole position tally up to 17.

Verstappen had a snap at turn four on his opening Q3 run, but the Dutchman managed to avoid going wide into the gravel trap. The stewards deleted his lap time. But even before that lost time, Bottas and Hamilton were ahead. Bottas pipped Hamilton by 0.007 seconds in round one of Q3. 

The Mercedes time in Q2 was quicker than the soft in Q3. As a result, Mercedes opted to use the medium tyres in the final run of Q3. Red Bull Racing used the soft. But nobody improved in the second run, apart from Verstappen who set his first lap. 

Daniel Ricciardo will start the Grand Prix from 16th place after failing to make it into Q2 for the first time since the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix. In contrast, Sebastian Vettel broke into Q3 for the first time in Aston Martin colours. 

Fernando Alonso was unable to capitalise on Alpine's strong pace in Friday practice but teammate Esteban Ocon reached Q3. 

Q1

Before the start of the session, the Mercedes mechanics were working furiously on Bottas' car. Mercedes confirmed they had a sensor issue, and therefore had to take off the gearbox to fix it. In addition, Lando Norris had an ECU issue but both drivers made it out for the start of Q1. 

After the first run, both Williams drivers and both Haas drivers found themselves in the elimination zone. As a result of a deleted lap time, Hamilton also found himself in the elimination zone and under unwanted pressure for the final half of Q1. Despite a messy lap, he recovered with a 1:19.493, enough to put him in P5.

Perez slid into the gravel trap at turn four but managed to avoid getting beached and returned to the pits. Meanwhile, Verstappen questioned his straight-line speed on the Red Bull Racing radio.  

Conditions significantly improved for the final run of the session with plenty of drivers finding major improvements and jumped rapidly up the timesheets. Daniel Ricciardo was caught out and dropped into the knockout zone for the first time since Japan 2019. Just 0.229 seconds separated 12th - 17th place. 

OUT - 16th - Ricciardo, 17th - Stroll, 18th - Latifi, 19th - Schumacher, 20th - Mazepin 

Q2

Sebastian Vettel, Norris, both AlphaTauri cars, and both Alpine cars emerged from the pits with soft tyres. Everyone attempted to start the Grand Prix on the medium compound by trying to set their fastest lap in Q2 on the yellow marked tyre. The two Red Bull drivers couldn't get close to the Mercedes on the medium tyres. 

Ferrari couldn't get the medium tyres into the correct running window either and tried the soft tyres for the second run on Carlos Sainz. Vettel also tried the soft the second time around.

George Russell almost made it into Q3. The British driver will start from P11, his highest start in a Williams car. Meanwhile, at the top Mercedes held both P1 and P2.  

OUT - 15th - Raikkonen, 14th - Tsunoda, 13th - Alonso, 12th - Giovinazzi, 11th - Russell

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