Winner: Lewis Hamilton
There is a glint in Lewis Hamilton’s eyes these days because he knows he’s in for a real title fight. And he’s relishing every minute, especially in Portugal when he had to overtake both title rival Max Verstappen and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to claim his second victory in three races.
It was his 97th Grand Prix victory, extending his record, and among his most difficult. After being bullied and beaten by Verstappen for the lead to Imola, he retaliated with a bullish pass, reminding his young rival that he had no intention of relinquishing first place.
READ MORE: How racing know-how and brilliant tire management got Hamilton to victory in Portugal
Perdant: Kimi Raikkonen
Oh Kimi. The Finn had made an impressive start, to climb two places and run behind his Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi when he momentarily looked down at the steering wheel to change a few switches and by the time he looked up it was too late to avoid contact with Italian.
Raikkonen – who admitted his mistake – broke his front wing, which then got stuck under the car, and sent it skidding through the gravel and out of the race. Fortunately Giovinazzi escaped without any damage and was able to continue, having a solid run to find himself just outside the points.
There is potential in this Alfa Romeo, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi just need to find a way to extract it.
READ MORE: Alfa Romeo loses Raikkonen Imola penalty appeal
Winners: neutral fans
It’s shaping up to be a powerful title fight, with Hamilton counterattacking to win and Verstappen limiting damage for the second.
Considering we’ve raced on three different tracks and each saw Mercedes and Red Bull locked together on pace, this bodes well for a title race that could go the distance, especially as the two will pass soon. all their attention to 2022 and therefore not. develop this year’s cars.
READ MORE: Hamilton explains why he was skipped when restarting the safety car – and how he fought to win at Portimao
Better yet, we have two pilots who give us the right fights for victory. Of course, Hamilton had it a little easier here once he took the lead, but Verstappen was not far away and should have scored a point for the fastest lap with no track violations. This will only serve to motivate him further in Spain.
Perdant: Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen has never looked comfortable on the slippery surface of Portimao this year, with the Dutchman bemoaning the conditions throughout the weekend.
The second is not what Verstappen wanted as he looks to embark on a challenge for the title, but he should be happy that this is his best start to the season with a win and two second places. .
READ MORE: Red Bull racing pace ‘not good enough’ to challenge Mercedes in Portimao, says Verstappen
Winner: Lando Norris
Lando Norris remains grounded and will tell you that he is not getting carried away by his form as there are only three races out of 23. But there is no denying the way he has started this season is extraordinary.
He finished in the top five in each of the first three races of the season – that race is four if you include the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – and has scored points in eight consecutive races.
READ MORE: ‘It was a lot of fun’ – Lando Norris reels in McLaren’s pace after third consecutive top 5 spot
Loser: Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas was climbing high after securing pole position, which was his first since Sakhir’s Grand Prix last year and also tied him with Sir Jackie Stewart on 17 career poles, now just one behind compatriot Finn Kimi Raikkonen .
But when we spoke at the end of the race, he was unable to explain why he couldn’t generate the same speed and tire performance as his teammate Lewis Hamilton.
As a result, there was nothing he could do to get Hamilton and Verstappen to pass him, leaving him third at the flag. When Verstappen’s lap was removed, he inherited the best lap point – but he’s already trailing his teammate by 37 points.
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were playing Alpine’s brisk pace on Friday, but that speed was real as they led him to the race, Ocon crossing the seventh line to beat his two-time world champion teammate for the third race in a row.
Alonso recovered from a frustrating qualifying to score his best result since the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix (although of course he spent the last two years away from F1) with P8.
READ MORE: Alonso says ‘anger’ resulting from poor qualifying inspired him to finish second in points for Alpine
The two-point finish, their second in a row, propelled Alpine to fifth place among manufacturers, behind Ferrari in what should once again be a hotly contested midfielder.
Perdant: Carlos Sainz
There were many inside the paddock who thought Carlos Sainz was a strong outside bet for the podium, after a stellar Saturday put him P5 on the grid as he overqualified his teammate Charles Leclerc for the first times in a Ferrari.
READ MORE: “We got the wrong strategy,” Sainz says, missing P5 points on the grid
Winner: Mick Schumacher
The seventeenth is Mick Schumacher’s worst result of the year, so it may seem strange to find his name in this column. But his performance was significant.
Not only did he finish more than a minute ahead of his Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin, but he had the pace to fight Williams on a pure performance, putting pressure on Nicholas Latifi in a mistake and then making the pass for the position.
It’s just a pass – admittedly for a modest position – but it’s times like this that will make people – including his Ferrari Driver Academy bosses – take note.
Losers: Aston Martin
Aston Martin’s lap pace was a bit better this weekend, with Sebastian Vettel making the top 10 in qualifying for the first time in 15 races.
But he fell like a stone in the race, eventually being overtaken by teammate Lance Stroll, who started seven places behind, as the green cars lacked bite on Sunday to fight for the points.
READ MORE: Vettel says Aston Martin ‘just didn’t have the pace’ at Portimao, as Q3 appearance not rewarded
That leaves the Silverstone-based team in seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship with five points, nearly 50 – the equivalent of two race wins – adrift of McLaren in third.
Winner: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez feels like there is so much more to come from him, as he struggles to get the upper hand over a very delicate Red Bull RB16B, so the fact that he has always been able to take the fourth, the minimum that his team expects from him is impressive. in what is only his third race with them.
It was his best result since joining the team, and he also benefited from a stint at the front of the race, as he did a monstrous stretch on the medium tires to allow him to finish the race on the softs. .
WATCH: Hamilton’s confusion is strong and clear as he passes Perez
At the moment, everything is going in the right direction for the Mexican.
There was a real sense of hope at Williams after George Russell qualified a solid 11th, just 0.06 seconds off the team’s first place in Q3 since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
As a result, they fell out of the competition, with Russell and Latifi ending the race with one and two laps respectively. It was a disappointing end to the weekend for the team still chasing their first points since 2019.