Lewis Hamilton has bounced back after a horrid opening lap to clinch his record-breaking 92nd Formula 1 Grand Prix at the newest addition to the calendar in Portugal.
The victory puts the six-time world champion one race win ahead of Michael Schumacher as the most winningest driver in the history of the sport.
However, it very nearly slipped through Hamilton’s fingers as a shower of rain sprinkled the circuit on Lap One.
Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas had started on the medium compound of tyres, and the exceptionally cold weather coupled by the slippery track surface saw them relinquish the lead to the fast-starting Carlos Sainz.
The McLaren was one of many drivers who benefitted from the conditions to surge through the field. The biggest winner was Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen who set the tone by gaining ten positions on the opening lap to sit sixth.
But as quickly as the rain arrived, it disappeared. Soon a dry grove on the racing line began to form and once the Mercedes duo were able to get their tyres into the ideal operating window they made light work of Sainz.
Bottas initially took the lead before Hamilton found his way through on Lap 20 with a DRS-assisted move along the main straight.
From there Hamilton was never challenged, pulling away from Bottas to win the race by 25 seconds.
Max Verstappen finished third despite nearly having his entire race unfold on the first tour after a clumsy tangle with Sergio Perez.
Earlier in the weekend his veteran teammate said he was ‘in another league’ and Charles Leclerc supported those comments by dragging the dogged Ferrari car home in fourth.
Behind, Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly come home in fifth, overtaking a resurgent Perez in the final two laps at Turn One.
Perez would also lose sixth on the very last lap to Sainz.
Esteban Ocon made amends for a difficult qualifying session to front a Renault 8-9 ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Sebastian Vettel was the last of the points-scorers, just in front of Raikkonen.
Alex Albon endured a miserable race to finish 12th, finishing a lap down on Red Bull team-mate Verstappen.
A clash with Lance Stroll on Lap 18 at the first turn ruined the Grand Prix for Lando Norris who came home in 13th.
Stroll was sentenced a five-second time penalty after he collided with Norris in a daring overtaking move which had the Racing Point spin off the road while a bruised McLaren soldiered back to the pits for repairs. Stroll would end up as the race’s only retirement as the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat was the last driver across the line two-laps down.
|Carlos Sainz Jr.