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Sports Articles: Formula 1: Portugal Talking Points

Formula 1: Portugal Talking Points
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Formula 1: Things To Think About After Portimao


1. Hamilton's Turn For Record Setting

Last time out it was Kimi Raikkonen setting a record for most GP starts, which he of course beat in this race, but it was all about Lewis Hamilton and the 92nd win this week. After a slow start, where he struggled to get his tyres warmed up in the first few laps, he just got quicker and quicker. After dropping down behind Bottas and Sainz, and being swarmed by those behind him, on the first couple of laps, Hamilton just took charge of the race. It did take about 5 laps to really get going, but once he did he was unstoppable. Is he the best ever?


2. Ferrari Made A Massive Step Forward

Despite still being massively down on power compared to the Merc-powered cars, Ferrari took a giant leap forward by the looks of things. The aero improvement to the front diffuser and bargeboards have brought them right up to the front of the mid-pack, back on the tail of the Red Bulls. Though it should be pointed out that it produces a car suited to Leclerc's driving style, not Vettel's, as it is very loose at the back. Be nice to see Ferrari actually challenge at the front end again for the rest of the season, fingers crossed.


3. Another New Track = Excitement

Apart from Hamilton just driving off in the distance, the new track kept it exciting and there was a lot of actual racing. There were still a whole gaggle of cars within the top 10 fighting over positions to the line, which is highly unusual. The wind, the cold weather, the on-off light sprinkles of rain and the new surface made it difficult for the drivers to get the tyres to bite and warm up. On top of that the track itself is a real challenge with its undulations presenting a different challenge from the usual flat tarmac tracks of a normal season. Even Hamilton was suffering with cramp by the end.


4. Mixed Up Start

Maybe that is another way to provide exciting racing, to make every track put down a brand new surface and not allow any support races to help rubber it in? We have had sprinklers suggested, so that they can randomly wet the track and spice up races, but having a track that evolves naturally, as this Portugese one did, achieves a similar effect. We saw Sainz lead the first few laps in a McLaren and Raikkonen got up to 6th from 16th. As soon as the tyres warmed up around them, the pair did slip back and had clearly overcooked their tyres pushing too hard, but it was nice to see them up there for a bit.


5. Gasly Impressive

Despite his car catching fire on Friday, which required a complete rebuild and very little chance to get any running done, Gasly did really well in the race. Excellent drive by him.


6. Racing Point's Mixed Day

Stroll's idiotic attempt to pass Norris, which put both cars to the back, summed up his day. He did not have a good day and will have to learn from this. There is a difference between bravery and stupidity and he crossed the line by a huge margin. He then overdrove, testing track limits and picking up penalties until the team called it a day. Perez, on the other hand, was unlucky in a clash with Max Verstappen, which barely affected Max but put Perez to last. He then proceeded to quietly move his way up the field until he was in 5th, before his soft tyres gave up the ghost at the end and he lost a couple of spots. He showed Stroll how to manage a recovery. It is just a shame they chose to put Perez on softs, which were clearly not working, when mediums and hards had shown themselves to be the better race tyres.


7. McLaren Also Improved

It does look like McLaren also made a significant improvement to their car for this weekend, due to a new front wing, which is very similar to the Mercedes one. Wonder if that is a pointer for next year, when they also have Mercedes engines, like Racing Point. Will we have Silver (or Black this season) Mercs, Pink Mercs and Orange Mercs?


8. What More Can Russell Do To Win Mercedes Over?

Why are the Mercs continuing to hold onto Bottas, and basically telling Russell there is unlikely to be a place for him? The lad has stood out like a sore thumb in a terrible car, he really deserves a better one. Surely he would be better coming in as the long term replacement for Hamilton, to learn from the champion? It is amazing that such a clearly talented driver is in danger of having no drive for next season.


9. Albon

He looks to be going backwards, he was appalling in this race, utterly unable to come to terms with anyone and there is no excuse of lack of experience that he has on some tracks. When you are being lapped by your teammate, despite no real incidents to damage your race, then you know you are having a bad day. I just have no idea where Albon goes from here, but he has to improve or be replaced.


10. Ocon

While his teammate was having a mixed up race, one minute really fast, the next struggling for grip, Ocon did brilliantly to just make his tyres last almost the entire race. Shame they messed up his stop and stopped him from being able to finish higher. Not only was it a slow one, but it was a lap or two too late, as his times had dropped off a cliff. It makes little sense as there was a gap to drop him into and the mediums and hards could easily have lasted him the rest of the race if he had stopped a few laps sooner. Renault cost him a much better result.

Written by Tris Burke October 25 2020 16:38:48