Formula 1 returns to Portimao for the second-consecutive season after renewing the Portuguese Grand Prix after a 24-year absence. As Mercedes and Red Bull battled once again, Lewis Hamilton overcame Max Verstappen and his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, to pick up his second win of the 2021 season.
Valtteri Bottas held his lead on the opening lap and Lewis Hamilton held off Max Verstappen to stay in second place. Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz each moved up a place on the opening lap with Norris passing Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz passing Sergio Perez.
At the end of lap 1, Kimi Raikkonen contacted teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, causing damage to his front wing and forcing him to retire from the race. The next few laps ran under safety car.
When the safety car ended, Verstappen and Hamilton once again went head-to-head for second place. Verstappen went on the outside and passed Hamilton for second place as Bottas held his lead momentarily.
Two laps later, Hamilton used DRS to get past Verstappen for second once again. The two Mercedes teammates battled for the lead with Bottas trying furiously to hold off Hamilton lap after lap. Bottas suceeded until lap 20 where Hamilton went around the outside on turn 1 to take the lead.
Despite having the constant use of DRS, Verstappen could not overtake Bottas for second place before the pit stops on lap 36. Verstappen’s pit stop was faster than Bottas’ by one second, allowing him to overtake Bottas on lap 37 after Bottas came out of pit lane.
Perez took the lead after the leaders pitted as he stayed out to run ahead of Hamilton. Hamilton quickly closed the gap on Perez with fresher tires, assisted by Nikita Mazepin not moving out of the way when Perez attempted to lap him. On lap 51, Hamilton passed Perez for the lead in the race with Perez pitting one lap later, coming out in fourth place.
On lap 64, Mercedes sent Bottas into the pits to take the fastest lap of the race away from Perez and Verstappen came into the pits one lap later in an attempt to also get the fastest lap of the race. Verstappen’s fastest lap of the race on the final lap was deleted as he went outside of track limits. Bottas ended up receiving that extra point with his run on lap 65.
Hamilton won the race by over 30 seconds to pick up his 97th career win in F1. Verstappen finished second and Bottas rounded out the podium.
Perez finished fourth, his best result with Red Bull to start the 2021 season. Norris finished fifth, Charles Leclerc finished sixth, giving Ferrari the points as Sainz’s tire problems pushed him outside the top 10.
Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished seventh and eighth for Alpine, their best showing of the season so far.
Daniel Ricciardo worked his way into the top 10 after missing Q2 on Saturday, finishing ninth after starting 16th. Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.