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.”