Almost until the end of the time trial, the weekend in Portimao was about Valtteri Bottas, yet Lewis Hamilton could start from the lead at the Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix. Mercedes ’six-time and defending world champion career took 97th pole position, while his Finnish teammate was forced to make it to second place. Max Verstappen finished third with Red Bull as usual.
At the end of the time trial, 13-time Grand Prix-winning ex-F1 driver David Coulthard conducted the interviews with the top three finishers.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, 1.): “I can’t tell you how hard it was today. Yes, we have a great car, but we also need our bullets this weekend to hit a circle here. Valtteri has been very fast so far over the weekend, so I was constantly looking for opportunities to find more time on the field. He only went for a measured lap at the end, so I was with him so that could give me a chance. I also went out early because I wanted to run an extra measured lap, and that worked perfectly. This track is very hard, there are points where you don’t even see where you’re going, you only see the sky for a long time. It’s one of the most challenging tracks I’ve ever been to.”
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes, 2.): “We decided in the end to switch to medium tires because they seemed faster. It was my decision to just go for one measured lap, saying he also came in in Q2. The nails were good, but not perfect. I should have gone two measured laps too. It would have been nice to qualify for the clean side of the track, but I will do everything I can from the second place as well.”
Max Verstappen (Red Bull, 3.): “It’s hard to get the tires working on this track. I found a little bit in it, a little bit left in it too. I’m happy with Q3, the lap itself was perfectly fine. And third place isn’t far enough for us to be in the game tomorrow. Hopefully we will be able to stay close. It will be difficult to drive in corner 1, so the start will be more important, but we don’t have enough information about the tires. But we feel what the right way is, and then we see what happens.”