2020 Portuguese Grand Prix: as it happened, lap by lap


From the dramatic first lap to Lewis Hamilton's dominant spell in the lead: how the 2020 Portimao race unfolded

Lewis Hamilton leads at the start of the 2020 Portuguese Grand prix at Portimao

Sainz rocketed off the line behind polesitter Hamilton

Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Lewis Hamilton put on one of his most dominant performances of the season to clinch his 92nd victory in Formula 1, becoming the series’ most successful driver of all time.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas had been the man to beat until the final laps of Q3, but there was no doubt on Sunday who had the pace at Mercedes: the Finn ended in second, more than 20sec down on Hamilton.

Max Verstappen was in the wars early on but drove a fairly anonymous race to secure third-place for Red Bull.

There might have been a sense of inevitability about the end result after Hamilton qualified on pole but a victory for the Mercedes driver was far from nailed on as the first lap unfolded.

Both Mercedes cars and Charles Leclerc opted to begin on mediums; as the grey clouds gathered, that gamble appeared to hold no advantage.

Hamilton got the getaway to take the lead on lap one but behind, Verstappen edged by Bottas before the first corner for P2, before an immediate response from the Finn earned back second place.

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Verstappen was left offline and with a tight entry into Turn Four, allowing Sergio Perez to sweep around the outside but contact with the right front of the Red Bull put the Racing Point around and down the order into last place.

Up ahead Hamilton’s tyres were far from optimal temperature and a lock-up into the Turn Five hairpin gave Bottas a sniff of the lead.

As raindrops appeared on the camera lenses, Bottas carried the confidence versus his team-mate and snuck his W11 into the lead at Turn Eight.

A lightning-quick start from Carlos Sainz put him into P3 following Verstappen and Perez’s contact, and into the blind Turn 11 dipped to the inside and snatched second from the pole-sitter.

Lando Norris in the other McLaren was up to fourth place after a manic first lap while Kimi Räikkönen had the start of the season, rising from 16th on the grid to 6th place.

As drivers fired up tyres, a more normal order began to emerge, with Bottas using DRS to nail Sainz for the lead on lap six and team-mate Hamilton following on lap seven to restore the Mercedes one-two.

Valtteri Bottas passes Lando Norris for the lead of the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao

An early lead for Sainz was short-lived, with Bottas sweeping past on lap six

Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

Following his poor start, Verstappen had cleared Norris and Sainz by the opening of lap eight and set off in pursuit of Hamilton ahead. Bottas’ lead was up to two seconds and the raindrops were moving away from the Portimao circuit.

McLaren’s opening surge began to wane as the softer compound tyres fell away. Leclerc made light work of Norris with DRS assistance for P5, while Daniel Ricciardo dispatched Räikkönen with the powerful reduction in drag.

Verstappen radioed in on lap 10 that he was already feeling his front soft tyres going away as the sun emerged from the grey skies. Meanwhile, the Ferraris were on the move, with Sebastian Vettel up to P13 on his mediums while Leclerc cleared Sainz for fourth by lap 12.

As Verstappen slipped away, the two Mercedes flew into a 10sec lead, the gap stable at around 2sec between race leader Bottas and Hamilton. A string of fastest laps by Hamilton, beginning on lap 16, gradually began to close that gap to well within DRS range.

Lance Stroll spins off the Portimao track after colliding with Lando Norris' McLaren during the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

Stroll’s collision with Norris brought one of the Canadian’s two penalties of the race

Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

Lance Stroll was locked in battle with Norris for P6 and, in an incident similar to the Canadian’s practice contact with Verstappen, made contact with the McLaren on the inside of the first corner attempting to sweep around the outside. The contact sent the Racing Point into a spin and left both needing to pit with front wing damage.

Norris and Stroll rejoined from their stops in P19 and P20 respectively, with Ricciardo, Räikkonen and Alex Albon in front having already made the switch onto medium tyres. For the ambitious move on Norris, Stroll was handed a five-second penalty for the contact, further ruining Racing Point’s afternoon.

The pressure from Hamilton told on lap 20, with a DRS pass giving Hamilton the lead of the race before Turn One. The new leader wasted no time in stretching his advantage, surging into a 3sec lead by lap 23 despite reporting his front left medium tyre had started fading.

As Sainz pitted on lap 27, it left just Pierre Gasly as the only driver to start on softs yet to pit; the Frenchman was running as high as P4 in the AlphaTauri before his stop on lap 30.

The early worries for Hamilton had clearly subsided by the halfway point. His pace was comfortably fastest of all, with a number of fastest laps to move 8sec clear. Engineer Pete Bonnington confirmed the Mercedes would be stretching the first stint as far as possible.

The FIA had altered track limit rules following the 100+ infringements during Friday practice, but that didn’t stop Stroll from becoming the first driver to pick up a five-second penalty for excursions outside of the painted kerbs to add to his other earlier sanction.

Sainz’s stop had put him outside of the top 10 and the McLaren came up against a resurgent Räikkönen for 10th place. The Spaniard attempted a brave move into Turn One around the outside that luckily didn’t end in contact. Sainz made the pass stick with DRS a lap later, but not before the Finn made him fight for it side-by-side for several corners.

One lap later and it was Perez and Esteban Ocon’s turn to go side-by-side in a battle lasting half a lap wheel-to-wheel. A series of switchbacks from Turn Three to Eight and the Mexican got the better of the Renault man for P5 in his fightback from the first lap contact with Verstappen.

Leclerc finally bolted on a set of hard tyres for his sole stop of the race on lap 35, rejoining fourth and 10sec down on the leading Red Bull driver.

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Alex Albon would have been hoping for a good showing in Portugal with his future with the team uncertain, but he was struggling to crack the top 10 as he fell away from Räikkönen in 10th place as Hamilton lapped him just after the halfway mark of the race.

Mercedes finally brought Hamilton in on lap 41 as he relinquished the lead to Bottas but rejoining comfortably clear of third-place Verstappen. Bottas followed in one lap later and rejoined the circuit to a heart-stopping moment for him as Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell barrelled into Turn One and almost took the nose off of the Mercedes.

As he struggled with tyre warm-up on the hard compound tyres, it lost him a further three seconds to the leader, no doubt adding to his frustrations having requested to go onto the softs in an opposite move to his rival.

Norris was forced into the pits for a second stop on lap 45 after the team confirmed he was suffering a slow puncture. It dropped Norris down to 17th position.

Gasly had been trailing Ricciardo for a number of laps within DRS range but the AlphaTauri man made a move stick into Turn One with a dive down the inside on lap 46 to take seventh place. Up ahead, Perez made his sole stop in a brilliant recovery drive to rejoin in sixth place, 1.5sec clear of the Frenchman.

Alex Albon's Red Bull with soft tyres during the 2020 F1 Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao

Two stops for Albon left him trailing out of the points

Paulo Maria / DPPI

Albon had been fairly anonymous all afternoon. His second pit stop cost him just 1.8sec stationary time, as his Red Bull mechanics pulled off a flawless stop to fit him with the softs for the final 17 laps but it left him a lap down on his team-mate and 24sec adrift of Vettel ahead in P11.

Russell is another driver whose future may depend on the next couple of race performances. His afternoon had been a bit more positive, with the Williams driver fighting on the edge of the points. A lengthy battle with Giovinazzi finally ended on lap 51 as the Brit made a move stick for 13th.

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Ocon’s lengthy medium stint ended on lap 54. A slow stop for the Renault dropped him from fifth place to eighth but with soft tyres to play with for the final 11 laps.

As the Frenchman rejoined ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel made a great pass on former Ferrari team-mate Räikkönen for the final points-paying position.

Vettel had been clinging on to the rear wing of Ricciardo and shaping up a move until a major lock-up into the blind Turn 11 cost him dearly, and dropping him well outside of DRS range in the final five laps.

Esteban Ocon in front of crowds at the 2020 F1 Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao

Perez’s soft tyres had begun to cry enough in the final five laps, and with three remaining Gasly was in range to make a pass. A very aggressive defence of fifth from the Racing Point kept the position and forced Gasly to back out of the move into Turn One.

One lap later though and there was no fighting it, as Gasly surged around the outside of T1 to take the position. The battle had allowed Sainz to close in on the pair of them, and the Spaniard made a DRS pass for P6.

In front though, Hamilton was setting fastest lap after fastest lap and despite a difficult opening, recorded his record-breaking 92nd Formula 1 victory, almost half a minute clear of his team-mate.