Portimão (dpa) – It was a successful premiere with a memorable result. Lewis Hamilton’s 92nd career victory and thus the only Grand Prix record have given the Portuguese Grand Prix a mention in the Formula 1 history books.
NO CONTINUING DOUBTS ABOUT HAMILTON’S EXCEPTIONAL POSITION: That’s how he won this race. Mercedes driver Hamilton took it carefully in the beginning, teammate Valtteri Bottas was allowed to take the lead. Hamilton preferred to spare the sensitive tires. And when the time came, the rubber whisperer stepped on the gas, took the lead and within a very short time, almost playfully, created a reassuring lead.
HAMILTON RIDES HIS TEAM COLLEAGUES WHEN: When Nico Rosberg finally defeated Hamilton in the title fight, he immediately resigned. Hamilton lets his long-term teammates wear down with his superiority. After Rosberg, the 2016 champion, came Valtteri Bottas. He tries again year after year. “It’s tough, but I know it’s possible,” he said after finishing second in Portimão, 25.5 seconds behind Hamilton. “If I gave up I would never make it and that would be the biggest mistake.” A sentence from the perseverance category.
NO ENVIRONMENT, JUST LOTS OF RECOGNITION FROM VETTEL: “Before the race I said he had to get 92,” Sebastian Vettel said of an interview with Hamilton. Many would argue that it is easy with such a car, the Heppenheim resident said, referring to Hamilton and his Mercedes. You couldn’t appreciate the performance enough, said Vettel, who had once become world champion four times in a row with Red Bull.
A few numbers for Vettel’s rating: Of the 103 race wins since Mercedes’ return to the factory team for the 2010 season, Hamilton got 71 – his respective teammates combined 32 (9 / Bottas, 23 / Rosberg).
HÜLKENBERG’S CHANCE OF RETURN RISES: He is a candidate for Red Bull, as the former World Cup team has already confirmed. Now, after yet another extremely poor performance by Alexander Albon, Nico Hulkenberg’s chances should continue to increase. The British-Thai driver did not even take the points in twelfth place, while Max Verstappen reached the podium again (3rd). “A bit disappointing with the car,” said team principal Christian Horner. “We expect a little more from Alex.” Imola next chance in a week.
MORE OF SUCH ROUTES: The route operators in the Algarve could not afford Formula 1 so far – too expensive. After the premiere weekend you have to ask yourself: can Formula 1 afford a season without such courses? Up and down, meandering, spectacular. The drivers were enthusiastic, despite all the great challenges in the unknown terrain. Portimão went through the premiere brilliantly.