F1 made a historic return to two of the most historic and iconic racetracks of all time. The Portuguese Grand Prix was held at Portimao on October 25th and boy did it deliver. The race started off with Hamilton on pole with Bottas, Verstappen, and LeClerc completing the top 4. At the start of the race, there was a light drizzle on parts of the race track causing very tricky conditions for those starting on the medium compound tires.
Kimi makes up 10 places on the opening lap at Portimao
At the very beginning, Carloz Sainz who started 6th had jumped into the lead of the race with his quicker soft tires that worked better in the damp conditions. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen who started 16th on the grid had made a stunning start and made up 10 places in just one lap! Verstappen and Perez had an incident resulting in Perez spinning. All the soft tire runners were stupendously fast during the opening 10 laps or so after which their tires began to fade, resulting in the soft runners pitting early. After a few laps, Hamilton and Bottas went head to head with the Brit coming off the better and taking the lead of the race. The other incident that took place was Stroll and Norris coming together, which resulted in both their races being ruined. In the end Hamilton won, followed by Bottas, Verstappen and LeClerc.
After this the bunch headed off to Imola, the infamous and historic circuit where tragedies and moments of brilliance have been witnessed. Aryton Senna had his tragic incident at Imola in 1994 resulting in his passing and to commemorate him Pierre Gasly was running a special tribute helmet and managed a very impressive P4 in qualifying. Unfortunatly his race was shortlived as he would retire with an engine problem.
The lights went out with Bottas on pole getting a great start, while Hamilton got a poor start resulting in Verstappen clamining second place. At the back Antonnio Giovinazzi who started last made up 6 places on a track known for its difficulty in overtaking, fantastic start by the Italian who retains his seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen for next season. The field was split up with those who started on the mediums and those who started on the soft, with the soft runners coming in early and fitting the hard tires to run to the end. Hamilton stayed out longer on his mediums compared to Bottas and Verstappen and set blistering lap times and jumped both of them into the lead after the pitstop phase.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were running on the medium tires deep into the race whilst Albon and Kyvat, both drivers whose future is uncertain in F1 were locked in an intense dual. Bottas had picked up damage on his car after running over some debris which had resulted from Vettel and Magnussen colliding earlier in the race which meant he had a difficult race, and his poor pace resulted in Max overtaking him after the Finn went off into the gravel at the last turn. However, Verstappen's race was short lived after this as he would suffer a tire blowout on the right rear causing a sudden and violent spin which ended up bringing out the safety car without about 11 laps left.
Daniel and Hamilton do the shoe celebration on the podium at Imola
The likes of Kimi Raikkonen who had stayed out an amazing 50 laps on his mediums were benefitted by this and gained 9 places which resulted in him scoring good points. Others, such as Perez, Norris, Kyvat and Albon also stopped and switched on to the soft. Vettel missed out as he had pitted for hards just before this and resulted in him finishing a poor 13th place. Daniel Ricciardo stayed out on his hard tires and drove a brilliant race to fend off a charging Kyvat on his new soft to claim his second podium position of the year.
Mercedes also wrapped up the constructors championship with Hamilton and Bottas finishing 1st and 2nd respectively. This meant Mercedes had made history by winning 7 constructors championships in a row, a feet that has never been achieved before.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team- Most consecutive Constructors championships