Portugal will once again host a Formula One Championship race at the Algarve International Circuit this weekend – after being added to the re-shuffled 2020 calendar amid Covid-19.
The Algarve International Circuit was built back in 2008 at a cost of €195 million, and although it was the site of a number of testing weekends (between 2008-09), the circuit had to wait over a decade for its first Formula One Championship race.
After an exciting race last year, Lewis Hamilton broke the record at the time with 92 race wins and was joined on the podium by his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The competition is closer than ever this season, and after Verstappen’s thrilling win at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, fans await another epic battle between our front runners as well as the intensely close battle between the midfield contenders.
So let’s see what some of the drivers are looking forward to most this weekend, as we head to Portimao:
“Last year I had a good race in Portimao, finishing fifth. It’s a really unique circuit with all the gradient changes, going up and down like a rollercoaster.
“It’s fun driving there and very different to what we’re used to – as a low grip track, the car slides a lot and it’s not easy to get the tyres up to temperature.
“We will be running the C1 hard tyres and last year, especially in FP1 they were very hard to warm up, but this time we have a bit more knowledge and experience and the weather will certainly be warmer this year.
“So, we will face a different challenge to the ones from the first two races.
“After two races, we are now used to only having an hour for each free practice session.
“It hasn’t changed our work programme, but it does mean the track is busier with more cars out at the same time, so there is a bit more action and you spend less time waiting in the garage.
“I quite like it, as the sessions are more intense.”
“The track in Portugal is new to me. I don’t know what to expect, although I have done a couple of sessions driving Portimao on the simulator and I’ve watched last year’s Grand Prix.
“It is a beautiful circuit with interesting corners like Turn 1 and the off-camber Turn 13 which looks quite unique, as well as so many up and down sections and blind corners.
“I think it could be tricky for track limits, but I will build up my pace gradually. It will be a completely different situation to the previous two rounds, as I had already driven a lot in Bahrain and Imola before the race weekend.
“During free practice I hope to complete a significant number of laps to adapt to the track as soon as possible and hopefully be well prepared for Qualifying.”
“I’m glad we get to return to Portimao this weekend as it was a circuit that added something different to last year’s calendar.
“The elevation changes at this track make it a demanding drive with several blind corners.
“Everyone was struggling for grip there last year with the track being recently resurfaced, so it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like this weekend.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to push the car a bit more this time around.”
“This weekend, I want to keep building on the progress we’ve made in the first two races and put what we learned at Imola into practice.
“We’ve definitely started the season on the right foot by scoring good points for the Constructors’ Championship, so I can’t be too disappointed on that front.
“There are a few elements I’m still trying to get to grips with which is only going to get better with more time behind the wheel.
“Seeing Lando achieve a podium showed the potential of the car which is super motivating.
“We’re only three races in and there’s a lot more to come from me, so let’s keep it going.”
“We head to Portugal feeling positive that we’re making progress in unlocking the full potential of the AMR21.
“There’s an exciting battle within the midfield pack, and our aim is to compete at the front of it – another clean weekend, and the prospect of more points, will ensure we maintain our momentum.”
“I think Portimão is a good place to aim for a clean weekend – the circuit is a high-speed autodrome; very smooth, and with plenty of gradient.
“It’s fun to drive, and I think it’ll be a good place to get a better handle on the limits of the AMR21.
“I know I’m yet to get the maximum from the car – but the fact that we understand that is another good reason to keep pushing.”