VALTTERI BOTTAS has decided he is fed up of the Portuguese Grand Prix being billed as Hamilton vs Verstappen – by claiming pole.
The Mercedes ace finished 0.007sec ahead of Lewis Hamilton who will start on second in the Algarve.
Max Verstappen was third, nearly 0.4sec down on the Mercedes cars ahead of Sunday’s race.
We’ll be bringing you all of the twists and turn from Portimao right here…
GOOD LAP FROM BOTTAS
As the wind picked up, the pace dropped off by Bottas was able to find time to move clear of the rest of the field.
BOTTAS TAKES POLE IN PORTUGAL
After a difficult few weeks, the Finn takes P1 ahead of Hamilton. Verstappen starts in P3. Perez in P4. Sainz in fifth, Ocon will start sixth.
VERSTAPPEN STRUGGLING – HE IS IN P3
Now all focus on Hamilton vrs Bottas for pole
JUST 0.007 SECONDS BETWEEN BOTTAS AND HAMILTON
This is going to be close. Four minutes to go.
BOTTAS TAKES PROVISIONAL POLE
Hamilton in second. Verstappen has his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn Four.
Q3 IS GO
Hamilton v Bottas v Verstappen.
Can Perez break in to that three-way shootout for pole?
Leclerc and Sainz both looking to continue Ferrari’s resurgence.
Vettel back in Q3 for the first time in 16 races.
SHOOT OUT FOR POLE – HAMILTON GOING FOR NUMBER 100
The Brit is eyeing up the landmark achievement. He was in a class of one in Q2.
Have Red Bull got an answer to his pace? We will find out in little under 15 minutes.
RUSSELL JUST MISSES OUT ON Q3
The Brit will line up in 11th place on the grid after just missing out on getting into the top 10.
That was so close but shows that both he, and his Williams team, are improving.
BIG MARKER FROM HAMILTON
The world champion is 0.4 seconds quicker than the rest of the field. Bottas currently in P2.
Over to Verstappen…
TRAFFIC FOR HAMILTON
He’s out on track but finds himself behind a lot of cars. He’s out early again, taking no chances trying to get a banker in.
He’s on medium tyres, which should still be enough to get him into Q3.
BIG BLOW FOR RICCIARDO AND STROLL
Daniel Ricciardo is out in Q1 along with Lance Stroll.
A big disappointment for the Aussie in his McLaren while Stroll remember all the upgrades, not his teammate Vettel, who is in to Q2.
George Russell IS in to Q2 while his teammate Latif is out along with the Haas duo.
DROP ZONE FOR Q1
Mazepin, Russell, Schumacher, Tsunoda , Latifi and Stroll are all in the bottom six.
PEREZ SPINS OFF
The Red Bull man is in the gravel after losing control. He’s managed to escape with no damage and his time should still be good enough to get in to Q2.
HAMILTON HAS A LAP DELETED
He was the quickest man on track but that has been expunged after the stewards deemed he had exceeded track limits at Turn One.
That’s not good news for the world champion who is fighting it out there.
Charles Leclerc has seen his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits. This is a big one. Remember it cost Norris a P3 last out in qualifying.
Leaving the circuit also cost Verstappen a win in Bahrain, as the stewards told him to hand the place back to Hamilton, who won.
Basically, the drivers have to keep it between the white lines. It is a simple enough rule, but not so easy to do.
Q1 IS GO
And there are lots of drivers on track already. Unusually busy, perhaps drivers concerned about the perils of yellow flags caused by spinning cars in Q1.
Remember all 20 cars in this second, including the Haas duo.
CONDITIONS ARE TRICKY IN PORTIMAO
Yes, it’s sunny. But this track is up and down across many elevation changes and with wind speeds of 15kmh, drivers could be caught out by gusts.
PROBLEMS IN PORTUGAL
Issues for Bottas, Norris, Alonso…
Plenty of work going on in the garages ahead of qualifying. Bottas has has his Mercedes gearbox off due to a sensor issue.
Norris has had an electrical fault and still in the dark over the Alpine of Alonso.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner reckons it will be a tight scrap for pole position in today’s qualifying at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Horner told Sky Sports: “It’s going to be tight.
“The wind makes it very tricky around here, particularly the back end of the lap.
“We can see the corners where we are quite strong, we can see Mercedes particularly at Turn Three and Turn Five seem to have a bit of an edge on us, so it’s going to be about threading the needle and getting it right this afternoon.”
Max Verstappen will be hoping he can land pole position in his Red Bull after being the speediest round the track in third practice.
He is just one point behind Lewis Hamilton at the top of the overall standings going into Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
ON THE LEW-K OUT
Lewis Hamilton is chasing his 100th pole position in qualifying that starts in just under an hour.
But will the seven-time world champ have enough to outpace rival Max Verstappen?
Here’s how it looked at the end of the third practice session out in Portugal with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fastest.
SNOOZE YOU LEW-S
Lewis Hamilton in action at third practice at Portimao with the Mercedes just losing out to Max Verstappen’s Red Bull for the fastest in the session.
SOLID FROM FERRARI AND SCHUMACHER
The two Ferrari drivers are sixth and seventh, Norris in ninth in his McLaren.
And that was also a great performance from Schumacher, who was quicker than both Aston Martins.
THIS IS CLOSE: VERSTAPPEN LEADS HAMILTON
In final practice, it is the Red Bull man who tops the session, but only just.
Bottas in third and Perez in fourth. It is going to be Red Bull vrs Mercedes and its advantage to the team from Milton Keynes.
Source: Motorsport - thesun.co.uk