Shortly before the start of qualifying, Valtteri Bottas had some problems with his car, so the mechanics had to work hard to get the Finn’s Mercedes ready for start. It turned out to be a sensor in the gearbox that had to be replaced, but the problem ultimately did not cause Bottas any significant problems.
In Q1 Bottas was even the fastest. Verstappen (on softs) complained in the first qualifying session about a lack of top speed on the straight, and the Dutchman eventually advanced to Q2 in eleventh place. There was no room for Nicholas Latifi, Nikita Mazepin, Mick Schumacher, Lance Stroll and – remarkably enough – Daniel Ricciardo. It was the first time in more than a year and a half (the Grand Prix of Japan in 2019) that the Australian did not make it through the first qualifying session.
Verstappen started Q2 on mediums, just like his colleagues from Mercedes and Ferrari, among others. In the last part of qualifying, the four drivers came out on softs again. After Q2 the end of the story was for Fernando Alonso, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Räikkönen, George Russell and Yuki Tsunoda. Of the top 10, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Pérez and Charles Leclerc will start on the medium tire on Sunday.
Sebastian Vettel did qualify for Q3 and that was a while ago for the German. In the previous fifteen races, he failed to join the fastest ten on Saturday afternoon. Vettel eventually saw how Bottas was the fastest of qualifying.
During the two free practice sessions on Friday, Verstappen clocked the second time twice. The first time behind Bottas, the second session behind Hamilton. On Saturday, in the last session, the Limburger was the fastest. Verstappen started last year from P3 in Portugal and he also finished in third place, behind the Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas.
The Grand Prix of Portugal, the third of this Formula 1 season, starts on Sunday at 4 p.m. Dutch time. Hamilton is the leader in the World Cup standings with 44 points, Verstappen follows the Briton one point behind. McLaren driver Lando Norris is number 3 with 27 points. Pérez is in eighth place with 10 points.
View the previous results, standings in the rankings and the full Formula 1 calendar here
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