Bottas fights back to take first pole of 2021 in Portuguese GP qualifying


Valtteri Bottas claimed pole in Portugal, beating Lewis Hamilton by 0.007sec

Valtteri Bottas, 2021 Portuguese GP

Bottas snatched pole by the slimmest of margins

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas looked to move on from his poor start to 2021 by taking a fine pole at Portimão. He managed to beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.007sec in what was a close qualifying.

Max Verstappen was a disappointed 3rd after making a mistake which ended up meaning his first Q3 run – good enough for pole – was deleted. He was unable to worry the Mercedes with his second.

Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll were the big scalps taken by Q1, whilst Fernando Alonso lost out in Q2.


Daniel Ricciardo, 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

Ricciardo was a big name to drop out in Q1

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Several cars headed out early, as drivers scrambled to find space on the undulating Portimão circuit.

Lewis Hamilton had a fast lap deleted, whilst Sergio Perez spun off when caught out by a crosswind.

Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll were the shock exits in Q1. A lock-up for the Australian meant he missed the cut by 0.004sec, whilst the new updates on Stroll’s Aston Martin didn’t seem to be effective. They finished up 15th and 16th respectively.

Behind them was the Nicolas Latifi in the Williams and the Haas pair of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.



George Russell, 2021 Portuguese GP

Russell’s Q2 lap narrowly missed out on the cut for the shootout but leaves him 11th

Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Hamilton set a stunning time of 1min 17.968sec on the medium compound tyre in Q2, half a second clear of next quickest Bottas, and well clear of Red Bull pair, who were also running the mediums.

George Russell was agonisingly close to making it into the final round of qualifying – he lost out by 0.057sec and will start 11th tomorrow.

Antonio Giovinazzi was 0.15sec further back, whilst Fernando Alonso was disappointingly out of touch, finishing up 13th whilst his team-mate Esteban Ocon progressed.

Yuki Tsunoda was 14th, 0.35sec ahead of Kimi Räikkönen who rounded out Q2 in his Alfa Romeo.



PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL - APRIL 30: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W12 during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Portugal at Autodromo Internacional Do Algarve on April 30, 2021 in Portimao, Portugal. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Bottas snatched pole from Hamilton and Verstappen in Portugal

Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

It was first blood to Bottas as he set a time of 1min 18.348sec on his initial run, with Hamilton 0.007sec further back.

That lap was ultimately good enough for pole, as both were unable to improve on the second runs as the wind picked up during the session, ultimately making it slower than Q2 for the majority of the runners.

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Max Verstappen was almost caught out by the same crosswind that his team-mate Perez was at Turn 4, an armful of oversteer meaning he had his first effort deleted as he went off track. The deleted time would’ve been good enough for pole, and Verstappen’s frustration was clear to see afterwards. He ultimately set the third fastest time with Perez behind him.

Carlos Sainz continued his impressive form throughout the weekend by taking fifth position for Ferrari, with the equally impressive Ocon joining him on the third row of the grid.

Lando Norris was 0.05sec back in seventh, with Charles Leclerc eighth.

Pierre Gasly, who has qualified fifth for the previous two races, might be disappointed with ninth. Sebastian Vettel could be slightly happier, making Q3 for the first time this season and rounding out the top 10.

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix qualifying results

Position Driver Team Time (Q3)
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m18.348s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m.18.355s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m18.746s
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1m18.890s
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m19.039s
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1m19.042s
7 Lando Norris McLaren 1m19.116s
8 Charles Lerclerc Ferrari 1m19.306s
9 Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri 1m19.475s
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1m19.659s
Q2 times
11 George Russell Williams 1m19.109s
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1m19.216s
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1m19.456s
14 Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri 1m19.463s
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo 1m19.812s
Q1 times
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1m19.839s
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1m19.913s
18 Nicolas Latifi Williams 1m20.285s
19 Mick Schumacher Haas 1m20.452s
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas 1m20.912s