Lewis Hamilton denied 100th pole position in his career from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in Portugal

0

Lewis Hamilton misses 100th pole for Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the Portuguese Grand Prix, while Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen starts third

  • Lewis Hamilton was uncomfortable in his Mercedes in Portugal
  • He finished second in qualifying behind teammate Valtteri Bottas
  • The one-two finish, however, is Mercedes’ first lockout in the 2021 season
  • Max Verstappen starts third, after having canceled the fastest time of the day

We came here to greet Lewis Hamilton for claiming 100th pole, but to watch Valtteri Bottas tear up the script by qualifying seven thousandths of a second faster for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

What a shame we had to put away the flagship. Nothing personal, but the Finn’s occasional flashes of success carry just as much promise as a night out in Helsinki, shut down and without the vodka. He will never fight for the world title if he tries for all eternity, as his record tells us. When he thinks he might just be climbing to the top, Lewis just stamps his fingers.

But it wasn’t completely boring here in the windy Algarve. Enter Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who qualified third, but not before making a typically combative contribution over the radio. “F *** ‘sake,” he shouted. ‘Why aren’t these guys moving? I’m on a fast lap. They are idiots. ‘

Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position over his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Portugal

The Vitriol’s targets were McLaren’s Lando Norris, who qualified seventh despite hitting traffic himself, and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.

The direct run-up to the verbalization was that Verstappen had set the ‘fastest’ time in Q3 before it was signed off as he went wide in Turn 4.

Frankly, everyone struggled hard for grip, while the gusty breeze caused its own problems, hence Verstappen’s small detour.

So the Dutchman then needed good wind and an empty track on his last hurray to take the post from Bottas, but as his outburst indicated, he got neither and qualified four tenths of a second back. He shares the second row with his new teammate Sergio Perez. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon start fifth and sixth.

“It was very difficult to drive,” said Verstappen, who was depressed afterwards. ‘I had a lot of trouble with the grip. That first lap in Q3 was decent, but I just had a big moment, so I went off track a little bit.

Sir Lewis Hamilton was denied his 100th pole position by his Mercedes teammate

Sir Lewis Hamilton was denied his 100th pole position by his Mercedes teammate

“It’s not ideal, but we’ll try to fight them tomorrow. I hope everything stabilizes a little bit, because it hasn’t been much fun to drive here until now. I did not enjoy a single lap this weekend due to the condition of the track. ‘

Those sentiments were echoed by Hamilton, the potential centurion.

The seven-time champion conjured the fastest time of the day – with almost four tenths of a second – in Q2. But really, he looked awkward most of the weekend and couldn’t match his best when it came to the shootout for pole position. “It was a difficult session,” said Hamilton, who leads Verstappen to the third race of the campaign with a single point.

‘It was a messy session for me. Q1 was not good. Q2, I had a good lap and Q3 was pretty bad too. Valtteri did a great job.

‘The tires are too hard for this. They don’t work very well with the surface so we have to go extra laps to get the temperature in and I didn’t have a good grip at the end so I couldn’t do it right. ‘

The Finn fought well against the windy conditions in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portugal

The Finn fought well against the windy conditions in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portugal

The prospect of more excitement next season was underscored by another fine performance from George Russell. The Briton, who has been tipped to be called up by Mercedes for 2022, finished the afternoon in eleventh place, just 0.05 seconds from the top-10 race, but still got Williams’ best qualifying result in three years.

“I didn’t expect Q2 after this morning, just P11 on the grid,” said Russell, trying to put his 200mph crash with Bottas behind him in Imola a fortnight ago. “We got it done when it counted, which seems to be the theme right now.” Russell’s fellow countryman Norris continued his excellent form by once again dominating McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo by more than a second. The Australian called his working day in 16th place ‘gloomy’.

In a better way, it was nice to see four-time world champion Vettel back in some sort of groove after his trials of the past weeks – and months and years – in making it to Q3. The German dug deep and will start in 10th, unlike Lance Stroll, who drives the other Aston, who was a modest 17th.

Max Verstappen starts third, after the fastest time was canceled due to exceeding track limits

Max Verstappen starts third, after the fastest time was canceled due to exceeding track limits

Relive live coverage from Sportsmail’s Ieuan Ivett of all the action on the Algarve International circuit.

Advertisement

.