Despite solid attempts by Red Bull, the team at Mercedes kept up their efforts and remained in a very dominant position for most of the race. The midfield saw little action in what was to be a surprisingly straightforward race.
Valtteri Bottas started on pole position this race and from the outset looked like he was ready to keep his position. It seemed like he could do it too as he managed to keep Max Verstappen in the Red Bull from taking the lead but unfortunately, he couldn’t do the same to keep his teammate Lewis Hamilton from doing the same. A small mistake on Bottas’ part allowed Hamilton to press his advantage and get past him on Lap 20 to eventually win the Grand Prix.
The Red Bulls put up a solid fight but both cars seemed to lack a bit of pace in comparison to the two Mercedes’. Both Verstappen and his teammate, Sergio Perez, held the fastest lap at one time of another. Once positions had been settled it became clear that the Red Bulls were not going to be overtaking the Mercedes’. Red Bull changed tyres and went for the fastest lap of the day. Verstappen managed to get it on the last lap, but it was unfortunately scratched due to a breach of track limitations. Perez was voted the driver of the day and he certainly deserved it in a race that seemed more about consistency rather than dramatic movements. Bottas ultimately took the time for fastest lap on the lap before Verstappen’s own best.
The team at McLaren found themselves performing well too with Lando Norris continuing his streak of finishing in the top 5 every race this year. Norris held this position without too much fuss for most of the race. Daniel Ricciardo had started from P16 and managed to make his way into P9 after some brilliant manoeuvres, making him one of the more exciting drivers to watch this race. Though it seems Ricciardo is still trying to come to grips with the car.
Ferrari’s tyre strategy didn’t seem to pay off this time at Portugal with Carlos Sainz being the most affected. Sainz had started on soft tyres but early in the race he made his first pit stop to change onto mediums. This was well before anybody else on the grid. This paid off for the middle of the race, but by the end the age of the tyres was apparent, leaving Sainz to finish out of the points in P11. Charles Leclerc just couldn’t quite make it past Norris the whole race and took home P6. A somewhat disappointing performance from Ferrari after a brilliant weekend in Italy.
Alpine performed quite well, managing to get both team members in the points with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in P7 and P8 respectively. Both Alpine’s managed to beat out Daniel Ricciardo after long battles.
Alfa Romeo had a terrible start with Kimi Raikkonen colliding with his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. As Raikkonen attempted to slipstream past his teammate he ran into the back of Giovinazzi snapping his front wing in half that forced him to retire from the race.
It was an underwhelming day for both the Aston Martin’s despite Sebastian Vettel managing to reach Q3 in qualifying, his first at Aston Martin. This early promise fell short as Vettel finished P13 and his teammate, Lance Stroll, finishing just behind him at P14.
The Portugal Grand Prix felt for the most part like something we had seen before, that being a podium finish of HAM, VER, BOT. In comparison with the previous two races of this season, this felt like an unfortunate return to dominance for Mercedes. The Mercedes team certainly earned their positions, but it was certainly more interesting when Red Bull were giving them something more to worry about. Hopefully we can expect a little more excitement next week at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.