Lewis Hamilton took a dominant win at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix and broke Michael Schumacher’s record for most wins in Formula 1. Hamilton’s ninety-second win of his career and the eighth win of the season saw him create history as the winningest driver in Formula 1 history.
Valtteri Bottas finished in second position as his race unravelled after he initially took the lead. Max Verstappen joined the Mercedes drivers on the podium for the seventh time this season.
The race started under cool conditions with air temperatures at 20 degrees C and track temperatures at 26 degrees C at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve circuit in Portimão. Hamilton was on pole position and started on the medium compound tyres in the greasy conditions.
Bottas and Charles Leclerc were also on the medium compound tyres. All the other drivers in the top 10 were on the soft compound tyres. Hamilton made a good start but the drivers on the soft compound tyres with better grip started gaining on the leaders.
As Hamilton struggled into Turn 5 Bottas took the lead. Both the McLaren drivers had good pace and grip at the start and soon Carlos Sainz took the lead as he breezed past both the Mercedes drivers.
Verstappen had an erratic start as he went off the track a few times and a racing incident with Sergio Pérez saw the BWT Racing Point Formula One driver turned around. The Mexican driver had to pit and rejoined in last place. Lando Norris was in fourth position as he overtook Verstappen.
By lap 5, Verstappen had regained fourth position. On the next lap, Bottas muscled his way past Sainz. On the next lap, Hamilton also passed the Spaniard to take second position. Verstappen passed Sainz to take third position.
Meanwhile Leclerc made good progress after he had fallen to eighth position at the start to take fifth position. At the end of lap 10, the order was Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, and Kimi Räikkönen.
By Lap 12, Leclerc had taken fourth position and Sainz was struggling on his soft compound tyres. Räikkönen was the first driver to pit and rejoined in last position. On the next lap, Gasly was in sixth position as Norris also was losing grip.
Soon Stroll was within DRS-range of Norris and on lap 18 as the two young drivers duelled, Stroll’s aggressive move went wrong and he was pitched into the gravel. Norris also suffered damage and the two drivers pitted and joined last.
Stroll was given a 5-second penalty for the Norris incident and another 5-second penalty was added for exceeding track limits. The Canadian’s dreary race ended after lap 51 when he retired from the race.
Hamilton complained about his tyres, but then picked up the pace and on lap 20 breezed past Bottas. Hamilton never looked back after that as he steadily increased his lead to over seven seconds.
On lap 24, Verstappen pitted for the medium compound tyres and rejoined in sixth position behind Sainz. Both Mercedes drivers extended their first stint and Hamilton pitted on lap 41 for the hard compound tyres.
Bottas pitted on the next lap and even though he requested the pit wall for the soft compound tyres his team mirrored Hamilton’s strategy. The Finn rejoined in heavy traffic even as Hamilton was setting fastest lap after fastest lap in front.
By the end of lap 50, Hamilton was coasting with a 15 second gap to Bottas. The order was Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Ocon, Pérez, Gasly, Sainz, Ricciardo, Räikkönen, Vettel and Albon.
Ocon did not pit until lap 54 and took on the soft compound tyres and rejoined in eighth position. Pérez had recovered from his first lap mishap and had to contend with Gasly who overtook him on the penultimate lap for fifth position. Sainz took sixth position from Pérez on the final lap.
Hamilton after some anxious moments in the final laps when he told the pit wall that his leg was cramping came home with a 25.592 seconds gap to Bottas. The Brition also took the extra point for the fastest lap.
Bottas had to be content with second position and Verstappen finished in third position. Leclerc with another good drive kept the fourth position he started in.
Gasly battled his way to fifth position ahead of Sainz the initial race leader. Pérez’s fine recovery drive saw him finish in seventh position. Ocon, Ricciardo and Vettel completed the top 10 positions.
It was a glorious day for Hamilton as he took the coveted record of most wins in Formula 1 from the legendary Schumacher. The Briton extended his lead over Bottas to seventy-seven points in the drivers’ championship with five races to go.
The next race is the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in Italy next weekend (October 31 to November 1 2020).
2020 Portuguese Grand Prix Race Results:
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:29:56.828||66||26|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+25.592s||66||18|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||+34.508s||66||15|
|4||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+65.312s||66||12|
|5||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||+1 lap||65||10|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||+1 lap||65||8|
|7||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||+1 lap||65||6|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||+1 lap||65||4|
|9||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||+1 lap||65||2|
|10||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||+1 lap||65||1|
|11||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1 lap||65||0|
|12||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||+1 lap||65||0|
|13||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+1 lap||65||0|
|14||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||+1 lap||65||0|
|15||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1 lap||65||0|
|16||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||65||0|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||65||0|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||+2 laps||64||0|
|19||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||+2 laps||64||0|
|NC||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||DNF||51||0|