Lewis Hamilton claimed a dominant victory at 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix ahead of title rival, Max Verstappen as pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas finished third.
Bottas initially led from pole and again from a safety car restart as Verstappen leapfrogged Hamilton for second on lap seven, with the reigning world champion regaining the position four laps later.
Hamilton soon afterwards proceeded to reel in Bottas and passed his Mercedes teammate nine laps later, from which he cruised to his 97th F1 victory without any real challenge.
Verstappen benefitted from the undercut pit stop as he passed Bottas for an eventual second placed finish on lap 37 after pitting a lap earlier, with the Finnish driver struggling for tyre temperature on his outlap on hard tyres.
Bottas eventually settled for third ahead of Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly who completed the top ten.
Hamilton consequently extended his championship lead over Verstappen to eight points, with Norris sat a further 24 points back in third ahead of Bottas and Leclerc.
Bottas initially held the lead from pole ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz benefitted from his soft tyres to leapfrog Sergio Perez, as Norris got past Ocon round the outside of Turn 11 for sixth.
Alfa Romeo however soon set the early headlines as Kimi Raikkonen and teammate, Antonio Giovinazzi collided after the former struck Giovinazzi’s left rear tyre which caused his front wing to explode and send the 2007 champion into race retirement.
Giovinazzi meanwhile escaped unharmed as the safety car was deployed for five laps to allow debris and Raikkonen’s stricken Alfa Romeo to be removed from the track.
Upon the restart, Bottas kept the pack close together until the main straight when he bolted and left Hamilton napping as Verstappen swept past the Brit on the outside line through Turn One to claim second.
Bottas however couldn’t get out of DRS range of one second as Verstappen got wide out of Galp at the end of lap 10, which allowed Hamilton to sweep up the inside of Turn One to reclaim second.
Hamilton soon set about keeping himself within DRS range of Bottas who still couldn’t build a gap, which was ultimately punished at the start of lap 20 when Hamilton swept around the outside of Turn One to snatch the lead.
Bottas thereafter couldn’t get close to Hamilton as he slipped to around four seconds behind his teammate, with Verstappen lingering behind in third until he performed the undercut on lap 36 by pitting first for hard tyres.
Bottas followed suit a lap later but struggled to get his hard tyres up to temperature quickly and lit up his rears through Turn Four which allowed Verstappen to pass up the inside of Turn Five to claim third which eventually became second at the flag.
Hamilton pitted on lap 38 and conceded the lead to Perez who hadn’t stopped yet and re-joined just over 12 seconds behind the Mexican, needing 13 laps to catch and pass Perez for the lead on lap 51.
Perez pitted a lap later for softs and claimed fastest lap on lap 55 whilst Bottas struggled to catch and pass Verstappen, with both drivers deciding to take advantage of their gaps in the closing stages to pit for softs and try to claim the single point for fastest lap.
Eventually, it was Bottas who stole the point for fastest lap after Verstappen’s last-gasp flier was deleted for exceeding track limits.
Further back, Norris finished fifth after briefly running in fourth after passing Perez on the safety car restart as both drivers quickly cleared Sainz who struggled to get his softs up to temperature.
Sainz eventually fell down the order to 11th at the flag as Leclerc and Ocon finished sixth and seventh, whilst Alonso and Ricciardo recovered from 13th and 16th on grid respectively to finish eighth and ninth as Gasly clung on for tenth.
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||66||1h 34m 31.421|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||66||+ 29.148|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||66||+ 33.530|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||66||+ 39.735|
|5||Lando Norris||McLaren||66||+ 51.369|
|6||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||66||+ 55.781|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||66||+ 63.749|
|8||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||66||+ 64.808|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||66||+ 75.369|
|10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||66||+ 76.463|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||66||+ 78.955|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||66||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||66||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||65||+ 1 Lap|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||65||+ 1 Lap|
|16||George Russell||Williams||65||+ 1 Lap|
|17||Mick Schumacher||Haas||65||+ 2 Laps|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||64||+ 2 Laps|
|19||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||6||+ 2 Laps|
|RET||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1||Collision|