Portuguese GP: Valtteri Bottas upstages Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen for Portimao pole position


Watch Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 from 3pm, with build-up from 1.30pm; Valtteri Bottas makes Lewis Hamilton wait for his 100th F1 pole, while Red Bull finish behind Mercedes with Max Verstappen third

Last Updated: 01/05/21 4:30pm


Valtteri Bottas delivered a crucial bounce-back pole position after a tough start to his season as he outpaced championship front-runners Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in Portuguese GP qualifying.

Making Hamilton wait for his 100th pole for at least seven more days to Spain, Bottas came to the fore at the start of Q3 after his Mercedes team-mate had dominated Q2 and his first attempt of 1:18.348, a scant 0.007s quicker than the sister car, which ultimately secured pole.

The Finn has made his worst start to a campaign at Mercedes and crashed out of the last race at Imola after a collision with Williams’ George Russell, so a 17th career pole should act as a timely fillip.

Bottas will head an all-Mercedes front row for the first time this season after Max Verstappen’s session ended in a frustrating third place for the Red Bull man.

The Dutchman’s first time of Q3 was deleted for track limits – an effort of 1:18.209 that had it counted would have been good enough for pole – and his second was 0.398s off the pace after a problematic final sector.

1:03
Watch as Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finds the gravel during Q1 in qualifying at the Portuguese GP.

Watch as Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finds the gravel during Q1 in qualifying at the Portuguese GP.

This was despite Red Bull running their cars on the theoretically faster soft tyres in the final section, while Mercedes stuck with the medium compound that had seen Hamilton set the quickest overall time of qualifying – 1:17.968 – in Q2. Red Bull had tailed their rivals by a large 0.682s on the same tyres.

Sergio Perez took fourth in the second Red Bull, recovering from a spin into the gravel in Q1, to ensure the championship challengers at least start directly behind their world championship-leading rivals.

Best of the rest was the impressive Carlos Sainz, who outqualifyed new team-mate Charles Leclerc (eighth) for the first time in his third outing for Ferrari.

Esteban Ocon was a fine sixth for Alpine on a much-improved weekend for the former Renault team, but team-mate Fernando Alonso’s own practice promise disappeared and he missed out in Q2 again in 13th.

Lando Norris was seventh in the lead McLaren on a day team-mate Daniel Ricciardo suffered big disappointment, surprisingly knocked out in Q1 down in 16th.

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Portuguese GP Qualifying Result
1) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
9) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
10) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
Knocked out in Q2
11) George Russell, Williams
12) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
13) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
14) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
15) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
Knocked out in Q1
16) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
17) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
18) Nicholas Latifi, Williams
19) Mick Schumacher, Haas
20) Nikita Mazepin, Haas





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