Max third in Portuguese Grand Prix: 'Finished where we deserved'
Published on 25 October 2020 by Kees-Jan Koster
Max Verstappen finished third in the Portuguese Grand Prix. The first race on the Portimão circuit had a chaotic start, with some light rain and a collision between Max and Sergio Perez. In the end the Dutchman came through the first lap without harm but was not able to keep up with the pace of the Mercedes, so finishing third. Lewis Hamilton won the race, ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
After the race Max gives his perspective on the hectic opening lap: “The start was pretty good. There was some light rain, so there was little grip, and it was hard to keep the car on track. It was difficult to get the tyres up to temperature and I did not want to take too much risk, as I knew we were quicker than Charles Leclerc for example. I tried to stay out of trouble, but then had a little touch with Sergio Perez. He did not give me enough space so basically took himself out. Luckily I had no damage.”
Max continues: “Once everything stabilised and we had some temperature in the tyres, I was able to overtake the McLaren’s, who had a lot of grip in the first lap. After that I drove my own race. After a while the soft tyres were done. The left front tyre had it and I lost a lot of lap time. In the end when we were on the medium compound, we had a good speed, but the gap was so big that you cannot really do anything.”
The fact that Max had a different strategy then Hamilton and Bottas, did not make a huge difference according to the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver: “The Mercedes were on the hard tyre, but that tyre was not great. The medium tyre was the best tyre, so it had not made a lot of a difference if I had started on the medium tyres, because then I would have lost the time on the hard. So we finished where we deserved. We are again on the podium, so that is fine.”
There is a strong wind and heavy clouds before the start of the first race on the Portimão circuit. During the formation lap there are even some drops of rain, which causes a slippery track. Max has a good start from third on the grid and is in second position when entering the first corner. Bottas pushes Verstappen wide in the second corner, causing Max and Sergio Perez to go side by side into the third corner. The cars touch causing Perez to spin, while Max can continue without damage.
While many drivers have a lot of trouble with getting their tyres up to temperature on the slippery tarmac, the two McLaren drivers have a lot of speed. Carlos Sainz even takes the lead from Bottas at the end of the first lap. Hamilton is in third position after the chaotic first lap, followed by Lando Norris and Verstappen in P5.
When the tyres of both Mercedes and Verstappen are up to tempterature, both McLaren’s are quickly overtaken. Verstappen overtakes Lando Norris in lap five, while Bottas takes over the lead again from Sainz one lap later. Not much later overtakes Verstappen also Sainz for third position.
In lap eighteen collide Lance Stroll and Lando Norris while entering the first corner. Stroll spins but can continue. Both drivers straight away enter the pits for a new front wing. Not much later overtakes Hamilton, assisted by DRS, his teammate Bottas to take the lead of the race.
On the soft tyre Max is unable to keep up with he pace of the Mercedes in front of him, who started on the medium tyres. Verstappen makes his pitstop in lap 24. After a quick change of tyres, getting a new set of the medium tyre on his RB16, het comes back out on track in sixth position. Because of the stops of the drivers in front of him, Max is back in third position in lap 35.
The Mercedes stop successively in lap 41 and 42. Hamilton and Bottas both get a new set of hard tyres and are back on track well before Verstappen. Lance Stroll parks his Racing Point in lap 54 in the garage and is the first and only retiree of the race. At that time Max is almost ten seconds behind Bottas, and around 25 seconds behind race leader Hamilton.
In the final phase of the race there are not changes in the lead. Hamilton wins the race dominantly, with more than 25 seconds ahead of teammate Bottas, who finished second. With his 92nd win, Hamilton also takes the world record of the most victories from Michael Schumacher. Max finishes third, taking his nineth podium of the season. Charles Leclerc finishes fourth for Ferrari, while Pierre Gasly scores a superb fifth place for AlphaTauri. Carlos Sainz finishes sixth, while Sergio Perez is able to fight back into seventh position. The top ten is completed by Esteban Ocon, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.
|3||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda||66||+34.508s||15|
|5||Pierre Gasly||GAS||AlphaTauri Honda||65||+1 lap||10|
|6||Carlos Sainz||SAI||McLaren Renault||65||+1 lap||8|
|7||Sergio Perez||PER||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||65||+1 lap||6|
|8||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Renault||65||+1 lap||4|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||Renault||65||+1 lap||2|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||VET||Ferrari||65||+1 lap||1|
|11||Kimi Räikkönen||RAI||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||65||+1 lap||0|
|12||Alexander Albon||ALB||Red Bull Racing Honda||65||+1 lap||0|
|13||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Renault||65||+1 lap||0|
|14||George Russell||RUS||Williams Mercedes||65||+1 lap||0|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||GIO||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||65||+1 lap||0|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||65||+1 lap||0|
|17||Romain Grosjean||GRO||Haas Ferrari||65||+1 lap||0|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||LAT||Williams Mercedes||64||+2 laps||0|
|19||Daniil Kvyat||KVY||AlphaTauri Honda||64||+2 laps||0|
|0||Lance Stroll||STR||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||51||DNF||0|