F1 Portuguese Grand Prix LIVE: Bottas on pole ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen at Portimao

VALTTERI BOTTAS starts in a rare pole position for Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes ace finished 0.007sec ahead of Lewis Hamilton who will start in second place in the Algarve today.

Max Verstappen was third, nearly 0.4sec down on the Mercedes cars ahead of the big race.

The Dutchman will be desperate for a repeat of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix where he overtook Hamilton in the first corner to pick up a comfortable win last time out.

We'll be bringing you all of the twists and turn from Portimao right here…

  • Thomas Blow

    HAMILTON WANTS 2022 GIG

    Lewis Hamilton has admitted he wants to stay in Formula 1 beyond this season.

    The 36-year-old, who is out of contract at Mercedes at the end of 2021, is still to put pen to paper on a new deal.

    Hamilton said: "I am pretty spontaneous so it could always change. I am enjoying this battle we are having. It is getting more exciting. It has been even more of a challenge.

    "I continue to love working with this team, and it is encouraging to see the steps my team are making to becoming more inclusive and more diverse.

    "They have announced one of the initiatives we have within our organisation and we still have a lot of work to do as a sport."

  • Thomas Blow

    LESS THAN THREE HOURS TO GO

    The Portuguese GP gets underway in less than three hours.

    Defending champion Lewis Hamilton is currently leading the championship with 44 points in the Mercedes, one ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

    McLaren's Lando Norris is in third with 27 points and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc has 20. 

    Valtteri Bottas, on pole today in the other Mercedes, has 16 points so far.

  • Thomas Blow

    MAX NOT KEEN

    It seems unlikely challenger Max Verstappen will enjoy today's Portuguese GP.

    Speaking to Sky Sports after qualifying, Verstappen said: "I didn't enjoy one single lap this weekend, just because of the state of the track.

    "The layout is amazing but grip we are experiencing, I don't think it's nice. I know it's the same for everyone, but for me personally, it's not enjoyable to drive.

    "We'll see [on Sunday] what we can do. It's not so easy to follow here but if we have good pace then for sure we'll put the pressure on."

  • Thomas Blow

    ROSBERG FANCIES VERSTAPPEN

    Ex-world champ Nico Rosberg has backed Max Verstappen to challenge Lewis Hamilton this season.

    Speaking to Sky Sports, Rosberg said: "I think we're in for a fantastic season this year, because Red Bull vs Mercedes – and their cars are equally as fast and they have fantastic drivers fighting it out there on track.

    "We're seeing wheel-banging between Hamilton and Verstappen already, and we're only two races in. It's going to be a great year.

    "Max Verstappen is arguably as equally a phenomenal driver as Lewis Hamilton at the moment.

    "Max has always had phenomenal speed, it's just that he was too aggressive and made mistakes a few years ago. Now he's really put it together, and the mistakes are just not there for Max anymore.

    "He can really take it to Lewis."

  • Thomas Blow

    RISING STAR

    All eyes are on Lando Norris this year as he looks to win his first GP.

    The 21-year-old has enjoyed an excellent start to his McLaren career, securing two podiums since his 2019 debut.

    He'll start the Portuguese GP in seventh and will be aiming for a top-five finish.

  • Thomas Blow

    BOTTAS' RAPID LAP

    Valtteri Bottas secured his 17th pole with a stunning lap in Portugal.

    Here's how he did it…

  • Thomas Blow

    P11 FOR RUSSELL

    George Russell made the headlines yesterday after achieving his best qualifying position in a Williams.

    The British driver will start in 11th and knows a strong showing in Portugal will help impress potential suitors Mercedes.

    Valtteri Bottas, on pole today, is under pressure to keep his seat for 2022 and there's still no news on Lewis Hamilton's future.

    The seven-time World Champion is out of contract at the end of the season and some believe he may choose to retire should he win a record eighth championship.

  • Thomas Blow

    PORTUGUESE WINNERS

    It's fair to say the Portuguese GP isn't a regular fixture on the F1 calendar.

    Last year's race, won by Lewis Hamilton, was the first to be held in Portugal since Canadian Jacques Villeneuve was victorious in 1996.

    Other British winners include David Coulthard (1995), Damon Hill (1994) and Nigel Mansell (1986, 1990, 1992), among others.

    Mansell is the joint most successful driver in the race's history, with legendary Frenchman Alain Prost also picking up three wins.

  • Thomas Blow

    THE GRID

    Let's take a look at the grid for today's Portuguese GP.

    Bottas is on pole ahead of Mercedes teammate Hamilton, with Verstappen starting in third.

    Brit Norris will start in seventh but his McLaren colleague Ricciardo will begin nine places back in 16th.

    Vettel, in the Aston Martin, will be hoping to convert his tenth-place start into points.

    Here's the grid in full…

  • Marc Mayo

    GOOD MORNING F1 FANS

    Valtteri Bottas denied Lewis Hamilton his 100th pole position after beating his team-mate to top spot for Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix by just seven thousandths of a second.

    The Mercedes drivers locked out the front row of the grid for the third round of the season, with Hamilton’s championship rival Max Verstappen a disappointing third for Red Bull, fourth tenths off the pace.

    Sergio Perez finished fourth in the other Red Bull with British driver Lando Norris seventh in his McLaren.

    Hamilton was bidding to become the first Formula One driver to reach three figures, but his wait will go on for at least another week after Bottas spoilt the world champion’s centurion party.

    Hamilton finished his first run behind his team-mate and ahead of his final attempt he ditched the softest rubber for the medium tyre.

    But the Briton was unable to improve on his time and was forced to settle for second.

  • sstreet

    OUT OF BOUNDS

    Valtteri Bottas took pole in Portugal but Max Verstappen will wonder what might have been.

    The Dutchman saw his first lap time in Q3 deleted for running off the track at Portimao.

    Had that time stood, he would be the pole sitter going into the Portuguese Grand Prix, but instead he starts in third.

    However, Verstappen will still feel relatively confident starting behind Hamilton after overtaking him in the first corner last time out at Emilia Romagna and going on to win the race.

  • Jack Figg

    LEW BETCHA

    Lewis Hamilton is bracing himself for an all-out attack from Verstappen, who was quickest out of the blocks last out in Imola.

    The Dutchman was bullish as he rammed his way past Hamilton and Bottas at the start of that race and went on to take the victory.

    But Hamilton says he will not be rolling over as he looks to increase his slender one-point advantage in the championship over Verstappen.

    Hamilton, who was just 0.007 seconds off Bottas's time, said: "There was so much lost time out there and I was not able to put it together.

    "It was very tricky and this qualifying session has to be at the bottom of the list of all my qualifying sessions.

    "But I will go all in at the start of the race. It will be a close battle between the three of us."

  • Jack Figg

    A NEW LOWE

    Paddy Lowe says no future Formula 1 rookie will be able to match Lewis Hamilton’s nine podiums in his first nine races in the sport.

    Lowe said on F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast: “He arrived in terrific shape and hit the ground running.

    “Nine podiums in his first nine races – I don’t believe we’ll ever see that again for a rookie.

    “So he was already at a very uniquely high level from the day he arrived in Formula 1, but he has improved massively in all that time.”

  • Jack Figg

    RUSS AND TOUGH

    George Russell, again impressed in his Williams and will line up in 11th place on the grid after missing out on qualifying in the top 10 by 0.057seconds.

    He said: "It is part of the game and we got it together when it mattered.

    "The race pace looks stronger and we have the quickest car in a straight line.

    "We qualified 12th last week and were running in the points and now we have another chance to score some points."

  • Jack Figg

    LEW STAPP'S ON THE GAS

    Lewis Hamilton has promised to get his elbows out in a first lap fight with Max Verstappen, who blasted the "f***ing d****s" who denied him pole position.

    The Red Bull man was livid after seeing his pole lap deleted by the stewards for exceeding track limits during qualifying for Sunday's Portugal GP.

    He was then caught up in traffic as he tried in vain to beat Valtteri Bottas' lap time for pole.

    Verstappen waved away the TV cameras after qualifying in third place but could not hide his frustration at being held up.

    Controversially, Lando Norris was told to "do him no favours" during qualifying while Verstappen also blasted the slow Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel.

    Over the team's radio, he said: "F* sake, why do these guys not move. I am on a fast lap. They are f* d*!"

    He later added: "I did not enjoy one single lap.

    "It was not enjoyable to drive. If you look at the lap time [that was deleted] of course we could have had pole, but I don't like to talk like that…should, would, could…

    "I thought I could do the lap again but then lost all my time with an Aston Martin in front of me.

    "I remember coming here to Portimao before the GP and it was in the top three of my favourite tracks and then they changed the tarmac. I don't enjoy it any more."

  • Jack Figg

    MORE ON HAMILTON

    "I haven't seen it but I didn't understand why they were further down earlier on in the session.

    "This qualifying session probably goes at the bottom of my qualifying sessions over time."

  • Jack Figg

    'TRICKY CONDITIONS'

    Lewis Hamilton admitted the qualifying hour would not feature among his finest.

    Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "There was honestly so much time available and just didn't put it together.It's really tricky conditions here.

    "The surface of the track is very smooth and not a lot of grip, and with the tyres you need extra laps to get the temperatures even though it's a really nice day.

    "One minute you have grip and the next minute you don't. It's just tricky for everyone."

    Credit: Rex
  • Jack Figg

    MAX EFFORT

    Max Verstappen explained how his final lap was ruined by the traffic.

    He said: “The whole qualifying was very difficult to drive, I was struggling a lot with the grip.

    “That first lap in Q3 was decent, I just had a big moment in 4 so I went a little bit off track.

    “I was quite confident we could do another good lap but in the last sector, the car in front in the last two corners, it just disturbs you, especially with the low grip we already have and the tough wind out there – it basically cost me a lot of lap time. It is what it is.”

  • Jack Figg

    TO THE MAX

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished third but is up for the fight tomorrow.

    Verstappen said: "I struggled a lot with the grip. That first lap was decent but I had a big moment through turn four and went off the track.

    "It is not ideal to be third but we will try and fight them tomorrow in the race."

    Credit: Getty

     

  • Jack Figg

    ON THE LEW

    Hamilton was just seven thousandths of a second behind his team-mate Bottas.

    He said: "It was a great job by Valtteri and for us as a team. We have to be happy with that.

    "It was not the perfect lap but I gave it everything."

  • Jack Figg

    REPORT

    Valtteri Bottas denied Lewis Hamilton his 100th pole position after beating his team-mate to top spot for Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix by just seven thousandths of a second.

    The Mercedes drivers locked out the front row of the grid for the third round of the season, with Hamilton's championship rival Max Verstappen a disappointing third for Red Bull, fourth tenths off the pace.

    Sergio Perez finished fourth in the other Red Bull with British driver Lando Norris seventh in his McLaren.

    Hamilton was bidding to become the first Formula One driver to reach three figures, but his wait will go on for at least another week after Bottas spoilt the world champion's centurion party.

    Hamilton finished his first run behind his team-mate and ahead of his final attempt he ditched the softest rubber for the medium tyre.

    But the Briton was unable to improve on his time and was forced to settle for second.

    "It is a good feeling to be on pole," said Bottas. "It feels like it has been a while.

    "It has been a weak point for me in the first two races but being on pole puts me in a good position for tomorrow."

    Credit: Splash

     

  • Jack Figg

    BOTTAS SPEAKS OUT

    After taking P1 ahead of Hamilton, Bottas said: "It is a good feeling to be on pole," said Bottas. "It feels like it has been a while.

    "It has been a weak point for me in the first two races but being on pole puts me in a good position for tomorrow."

  • Ben Hunt

    GOOD LAP FROM BOTTAS

    As the wind picked up, the pace dropped off by Bottas was able to find time to move clear of the rest of the field.

  • Ben Hunt

    BOTTAS TAKES POLE IN PORTUGAL

    After a difficult few weeks, the Finn takes P1 ahead of Hamilton. Verstappen starts in P3. Perez in P4. Sainz in fifth, Ocon will start sixth.

  • Ben Hunt

    VERSTAPPEN STRUGGLING – HE IS IN P3

    Now all focus on Hamilton vrs Bottas for pole

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