Max Verstappen second in Portuguese Grand Prix: 'I did everything I could'

Published on 02 May 2021 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished second in the Portuguese Grand Prix. Max started from third position on Portimao circuit and stayed in that position after the start. At the restart after the Safety Car phase Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton for second position. The Brit regained the position a couple of laps later and subsequently took the lead from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. The Red Bull Racing driver overtook Bottas after the pitstops and eventually finished second behind winner Hamilton. Bottas completes the podium.

After the race Max says: “I am happy with second position, it is good damage control. I did everything I could. I did not have a great start, but the restart was good, and it was a nice fight with Lewis. I managed to stay on the kerbs, so I did not have to give up the position.”

Verstappen continues: “I tried to put pressure on Valtteri, but in the end we were lacking in speed. Lewis overtook me in turn one and I was not able to stay close enough for DRS. After Lewis overtook Valtteri I had DRS behind him for quite a few laps. After the pitstop it was hard to warm the tyres and after we were settled in second position, we were lacking speed to overtake the Mercedes, but second position is a good result.”

Max is not making predictions about his chances for the next race in Spain: “This was a bit of a strange weekend because of the limited grip. We could not get that under control, and it does not seem to be our circuit. It did go okay on medium tyres, but it was obvious that Lewis had more speed, and he was able to fight Valtteri easier than I could. After we changed to the hard tyre I was unable to get closer to Hamilton. Let's see what we can do in Barcelona.”

Under a shining sun and an outside temperature of 20 degrees the Portuguese Grand Prix on the Portimao circuit gets underway. The top four starts on the medium tyres, while Carlos Sainz in fifth position is on the soft tyres. Max has a good start from his third position on the grid and stays in that position when entering the first corner. Bottas started from pole and takes the lead, followed by his teammate Hamilton. Sainz on soft tyres overtakes Sergio Perez for fourth position.

Kimi Raikkonen touches the rear of his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in the second lap on the start-finish straight. Raikkonen loses the front wing of his Alfa Romeo and ends in the gravel near the first corner. The Finn is the first to retire from the race. The Safety Car comes out on track.

In lap seven the race is restarted, and Max has a great start. He overtakes Hamilton on the outside of turn one for second position. For a couple of laps the Dutchman puts pressure on race leader Bottas. But in lap eleven Hamilton regains his position using DRS on the long straight. Verstappen tries to counter in turn two, to no avail.

Sergio Perez overtakes Lando Norris for P4 in lap fifteen, while the gap between Max and the Mercedes in front of him increases a bit. Hamilton continues the hunt for his teammate Bottas with Max in about two seconds behind. Hamilton takes the lead in lap 20 from teammate Bottas after a successful overtake on the outside of turn one. Max subsequently increases the pressure on Bottas. Lap after lap is Max within DRS range of Bottas, but he does not get close enough to overtake the Finn.

In lap 36 is Max the first driver of the leading trio to make a pitstop. In a faultless stop the Red Bull Racing mechanics change the medium compound tyres for hard tyres in 2.3 seconds. Max comes back out on track in fourth position. One lap later Bottas also stops. While the Finn comes back on track just in front of Max, Verstappen has more temperature in his tyres and overtakes Bottas in turn five for third position. One lap later Hamilton stops and comes back on track three seconds in front of Verstappen. Perez is in the lead, but he still has to make his pitstop.

Hamilton overtakes Perez in lap 51. The next lap the Mexican makes his pitstop and comes back out on track in fourth position with a set of soft tyres on his RB16B. Verstappen is back in second position five seconds behind the leader Hamilton. Bottas is close behind the Dutchman in third position.

In the final phase of the race Bottas gets further behind Verstappen and decides to come in for another pitstop three laps before the end to try and set the fastest lap. Verstappen does the same thing one lap later, in a very quick pitstop of only 1.9 seconds. Hamilton wins his second race of the year. In the last lap of the race Max sets the fastest lap, but because of exceeding track limits the lap time is deleted. With a second position finish Max takes 18 points, putting him 8 points behind Hamilton for the championship. Bottas finishes in P3 and does get the extra point for the fastest lap. Perez finishes fourth, while Norris in P5 finishes ‘best of the rest’.  Charles Leclerc finishes sixth, the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in seven and eight. Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly complete the top ten.

Results Grand Prix Portugal:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes661:34:31.42125
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda66+29.148s18
3Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes66+33.530s16
4Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda66+39.735s12
5Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes66+51.369s10
6Charles LeclercLECFerrari66+55.781s8
7Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault66+63.749s6
8Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault66+64.808s4
9Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes66+75.369s2
10Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda66+76.463s1
11Carlos SainzSAIFerrari66+78.955s0
12Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
13Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes65+1 lap0
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes65+1 lap0
15Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda65+1 lap0
16George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
17Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari64+2 laps0
18Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes64+2 laps0
19Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari64+2 laps0
0Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1DNF0