Portuguese Grand Prix-view: Everything you need to know
The Formula One circus is set to make ground in Portugal this week for the third race of the season at the Algarve International Circuit.
Luckily, fans didn’t have to endure another three-week wait this time around for another battle on track between our close contenders after an exciting Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
April 18 was drenched with rain, and featured a few crunching crashes, a raised red flag, and some incredibly close overtaking that saw Max Verstappen take his first Italian GP win.
Joining him on the podium was Mercedes’ world champion, Lewis Hamilton, who made a great comeback from 9th after taking a spin in an attempt to lap the Williams of George Russell on lap 31.
Lando Norris claimed the final podium place ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for his second top-three finish in F1.
With just a few days left until lights out at the Portuguese Grand Prix, here’s everything you need to know:
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 – in 2020.
Crossing the finish line at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix was Lewis Hamilton, who set a Formula One record, at the time, with 92 race wins.
His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas crossed the line in second.
Max Verstappen finished in third with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in fourth, and Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri in fifth.
The 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, will take place over 66 laps of the 4.684km Autodromo Internacional do Algarve on Sunday, May 2.
The drivers have a total of 309.144km to claim the next podium steps of 2021.
Current weather reports suggest conditions will be warm and dry for Sunday’s race with highs of 21 degrees celsius.
The strongest gusts expected are just 33km/h with a general wind speed of just 11km/h on Sunday afternoon.
Chances of rain are slim to none with a current forecast at 0% ahead of this weekend’s race.
As for Friday and Saturday, the weather will remain dry and sunny, with the highest chance of rain on Friday…however it’s only sitting at a 5% chance right now.
When/Where to Watch
Free practice 1 will take place on Friday, April 30 at 11:30 am Irish time, with FP2 kicking off just hours later at 3:00 pm.
FP3 begins on Saturday at 12:00 pm GMT and will be followed by Qualifying at 3:00 pm.
For the big day on Sunday, coverage will be on Sky and NOW with lights out at 3:00 pm.
You can catch live coverage of the entire 2021 season, every weekend on Sky Sports F1, or grab a NOW sports package.
Comments ahead of Portugal
Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri
“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.”
Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri
“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.”
Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo
“Two more races mean two more chances to have a good result – something we went really close to in the opening events of the season.
“We are not miles off, we are right in the middle of this scrap and we can fight with anyone in the midfield if we do our job properly and we have a little luck, which we missed so far this season.
“Last year I had a fun first lap in Portugal, but it’s not going to be on my mind: in the end, it doesn’t really matter how you start a race, but where you finish it and we need to finish it in the top ten to achieve our objective.”
Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo
“I can’t wait to be back in the car for the races in Portugal and Spain. I feel we definitely haven’t reaped what we deserved in the first two rounds: we have been terribly unlucky, especially in Imola where we would have been on course for ninth or tenth if it hadn’t been for a tear-off stuck in a brake.
“We need to take the positives of those performances and use them as a spur to go one better in the next races: we know we are in a very close fight and we know we can come home with some really good results if things go our way.”
Lando Norris – McLaren
“I’m glad we get to return to Portugal 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.”
Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren
“Up next is Portimão and I’m eager to get back in the car. Racing there is a lot of fun with the track having some unique elements that you don’t see at every race on the calendar.
“There’s a good mixture of high and low-speed corners with various changes in elevation that make it an exciting challenge.
“Coming out of some of the turns, you can really feel your stomach drop with the steep changes in gradient.
“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.”