"Draining" Qualifying At Portimão As A Delayed Start Shook The Track
Delayed Qualifying at Portimão Today, As loose drain covers were a mandatory fix, and as Lewis Hamilton takes his 97th Career Pole
A very slippy day today at Portugal, with Qualifying being held at the never raced before track. Portmião has shown the drivers and fans how physically hard it is, with high downforce, high tire wear and very straining elevations, this track has become a fan favorite. Qualifying today was delayed for a while due to a loose drain cover at turn 14 caused by Sebastian Vettel's car in P3. While Sebastian was going over the kerb he hit a loose drain cover and the session had to be stopped. This caused P3 to be red flagged but also qualifying to be delayed. When the marshalls were fixing up that certain drain, they noticed a few other drains on the track where lose as well. Portimão is a much older track, so most of the track and the components on the track are older.
Accompanied by the other lose drain covers, this caused the session to be delayed longer, with the teams, drivers and workers trying to find something to occupy themselves with. Lessons from the past showed us and the FIA that lose drain covers are very dangerous, proved by certain races and drivers that experienced this danger. This is why qualifying was stopped, because the FIA knew how dangerous and how important this could be and become.
Lose drain cover - turn 14 - red flag
Following the "draining" delay, qualifying was proceeded and started again. With Lewis taking the fastest time in Q1, and with a surprising George Russel making it into Q2 right on the cusp. The fight was very close between The Mercedes cars and the Red Bull. As Valterri Bottas and Max Verstappen occupied Lewis Hamilton. The fight for pole was between those three, but also with Racing Point, McLaren and even Ferrari closing in on the top 2 teams as well.
As Q2 started, we started seeing more and more spinning, with the new asphalt laid, the track is very oily causing the drivers to lose grip. With Daniel Ricciardo spinning and loosing grip on his last fast lap, causing him to go into the gravel. Fortunately, there was minor damage, and Daniel was not hurt as he was able to get his car out of the gravel. Daniel barely made it into Q3, with his position luckily staying at P10. But, this affected the Australian later, with Daniel not being able to set in a time in Q3, due to the minor damages to his Renault car.
Danny Ric goes for a spin at the end of Q2
Simultaneously as Riccardo made it into Q3, The four time world champion, Sebastian Vettel failed to secure that. As Sebastian explained over the radio that the tires were not ready, with Sebastian not being able to get out of P15, the German showed his frustration after the session. Sebastian describes that he is "Not happy at all". Compared to his teammate Charles Leclerc, who got a brilliant time and ended up P4, Sebastian is still "under performing" according to some people.
Nevertheless, lets look at the bright side. Mercedes have managed to get every single pole position in the 2020 season so far, making it their 12th in this year. With five races left of this short and interesting season, we wonder if Mercedes will keep up this streak.
Lewis Hamilton managed to get Pole position right at the last second of Q3, out preforming Bottas and taking his 97th Career Pole Position. As he edged out his teammate Valterri (P2) and Max Verstappen 9P3) to claim what is another pole of his career. Now with his equaled out 91 wins record, everyone is speculating if this race at Portugal will be the one to break Michael Schumacher's win record.
Portimão - Portugal
A track were Formula 1 has never raced on, a place where Formula 1 has not returned to for 24 years, we are excited to get our first taste of Portimão. A place with history and a place with excitement, we are ready to take on the Portuguese Grand Prix.