By News Team
22nd October 2020
The Portuguese Grand Prix returns to the calendar for the first time since 1996 as Formula 1 moves onto the Portimao Circuit in the Algarve this weekend.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton picked up his seventh win of the season in the Nurburgring last time out, equalling Michael Schumacher’s haul of 91 F1 race wins, and is looking to break the record on Sunday. A fourth one-two of the season for the Silver Arrows and a pointless weekend for Red Bull would also hand Mercedes a seventh consecutive Constructors’ crown.
We preview all the action ahead of the sport’s return to Portugal.
The midfield battle
Undoubtedly the most interesting element of this season so far has been the midfield battle between Renault, McLaren and Racing Point. At this stage just six points separate the three teams in the Constructors’ standings, with McLaren narrowly leading the way.
Daniel Ricciardo scored a well-deserved podium for Renault at the Eifel Grand Prix, capitalising on engine trouble for Valtteri Bottas to land the French constructor’s first top-three finish since Malaysia in 2011. They seem to have made the largest strides forward this season and arguably are in pole position to finish third in the Constructors’ standings.
More Mercedes dominance incoming?
Despite Hamilton’s dominance at the Nurburgring, there were some positive signs for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen again finishing a comfortable second once more. He finished just four seconds behind Hamilton on this occasion with his RB16 looking considerably more planted to the tarmac compared to previous race.
While Mercedes have already moved onto next season’s car, Red Bull believe they have conquered the rear-end instability that has hindered them, particularly on Saturdays. Whether they can find enough speed to challenge the Mercedes in qualifying will of course set the bar for their chances on race day, but don’t be surprised to see Verstappen closer than in previous races.
Hamilton’s biggest challenge will likely once again come from Mercedes team-mate Bottas, who can ill-afford more reliability issues this weekend if he is to keep in touch with Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings.