Race - Portugal GP 2021 - Team quotes
“Honestly, today was really difficult – it wasn’t the race we wanted but, to be honest, it was what we expected. We’ve really struggled here across the weekend, only just making it through to the top 10 in Qualifying, so I think to come away with a point is positive. I was happy at the start of the race as I was managing to follow Charles, but ultimately we lacked pace – due to having no grip in the low-speed corners - and in the end I think it was great to pass Carlos to get a point for the team. I think the circuit in Barcelona will suit our car more, as it’s a much faster track, so I’m hoping that we’ll perform better there in a few days’ time.”
“It was really tough today, I had no grip at the beginning of the race and there was just no pace at all for me out there. I’ve struggled all weekend with the balance of the car, the conditions haven’t helped, but everyone has been driving the same track so we just need to analyse the data, to see what didn’t work for us here in Portugal, and learn from it ahead of next weekend in Spain.”
— George Russell finished 16th and Nicholas Latifi 18th in the Portuguese Grand Prix
— George started 11th and Nicholas 18th, both on the medium Pirelli tyre
— Both drivers ran a one-stop strategy, with Nicholas pitting for the hard compound on lap 24 and George following suit on lap 28
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
Today was very difficult and we simply didn’t have the pace. We found it difficult in the conditions today and although we held our position at the start, it was much more difficult on the medium tyre following the early safety car. The car has shown some good traits this weekend, but we are still lacking the stability that we need to be able to race in the pack. With the tyres hard to keep in their working window, once you start losing places, it is very difficult to recover.
We now have a quick turnaround to get the team to Barcelona ready for the next race. It will be interesting to see how the car behaves at a circuit that we know well.
After yesterday we were all hoping for more, but that was an incredibly challenging race. Our car does not suit these conditions, when the wind picks up it becomes a real struggle. It’s a shame but the positives are that we know the strengths and the weaknesses of the car, and so we just have to hope that moving forward we get some slightly calmer conditions which allow us to demonstrate those strengths.
It was difficult out there today. We always struggle with the opening laps and that was evident with George starting much higher up and then after the first few laps he was back where I was. It feels very on edge and we need to do some analysis to try and find a solution. There is definitely something we are missing at the moment, and we need to try and improve it ahead of Barcelona.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin classified 17th and 19th respectively at the Portuguese Grand Prix, Round 3 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, held at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
Schumacher fitted Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires for the opening stint of the race and stayed out of trouble before pitting mid-distance for White hard tires. Schumacher hunted down Williams rival Nicholas Latifi through the final stint and made a successful overtake through turn three. It gave Schumacher 17th place and his third successive finish in as many Formula 1 starts.
Mazepin also took medium tires for the opening lap and briefly ran ahead of his teammate before settling into a rhythm. Mazepin exchanged his mediums for hards on lap 32 and then came in for a second stop on lap 46, fitting the Red soft tires, in order to gather more experience in free air. Mazepin greeted the checkered flag in 19th position to accumulate more mileage behind the wheel of the VF-21.
World Champion Lewis Hamilton collected the 97th victory of his Formula 1 career, ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team will return to action at the Spanish Grand Prix, to be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, from May 7 to 9.
“I think the race was positive if you look at the lap times. Obviously, we realized we were not fighting for any top positions, we converted to our Plan C, which wasn’t the optimum in terms of the overall finishing delta, but it was definitely the optimum for not receiving the blue flags. It allowed us to get those laps in and see how the car behaves and where we should be improving. The first few laps were good but after that I need to improve the way I was driving – that will come with experience. In terms of learning, it was a decent race. There are loads of things that I can improve on my side.”
“It was a challenging race and unfortunately overtaking is quite difficult around here. It was tough for us lap after lap having to follow close-by, especially in the midfield where we were quite strong. Being that close – you just burn up your tires and obviously then it gets difficult. Eventually we pushed the Williams into a mistake, then we kind of had a free run and were able to show our pace. If we had cleared Nicholas (Latifi) earlier, I think we could maybe even have had the pace to catch up to and fight with George (Russell). Overall, we wanted a clean race and to see the checkered flag. We managed that and everything went well.”
“It was a weekend with progress. I know I keep on using the word progress, but that is what we need to make, and we’re doing it. The whole weekend was good in my opinion. When you sit there and you can’t get by Latifi, frustration sets in – and that’s a good thing as it means we could have more. In the end Mick passed him, and that was good, but maybe we missed out on George (Russell) being on the radar if we’d passed Latifi earlier – but we take it step by step. Nikita also made progress, as much as the result may not show it. We put him on a new set of tires just to give him more time to drive the car at the limit. With all the blue flags, there was a risk with his C1 tires that they’d cool down too much – then it would have been no fun to drive. He fell a bit back because of that but he completed the race once again. He’s making progress, he’s getting faster every weekend as well.”
Alpine F1 Team scored 10 points in today’s Portuguese Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon seventh and Fernando Alonso eighth in an entertaining, overtaking-dominated race at the Algarve International Circuit.
Both drivers enjoyed a string of fine overtakes during the 66-lap race to ensure the team scored a strong haul of points and back-to-back, double top 10 finishes.
Starting from a season-best sixth on the grid, Esteban lost ground at the start after going wheel to wheel with McLarens Lando Norris. Fernando, meanwhile, starting from thirteenth, slipped back to fifteenth.
After an early Safety Car, both drivers settled into the race with Esteban managing his Softs until lap 22 when he pitted for Hards. After initially losing a place to Pierre Gasly, Esteban started to make up ground with the first of two overtakes on the outside of Turn 1. His second daring effort saw him pass Carlos Sainz at the same piece of tarmac for seventh place.
Fernando pitted on lap 40, trading his Mediums for Hards as he started to swoop on the top 10. First, the Spanish driver overtook Gasly at Turn 1, Daniel Ricciardo two laps later and finally Sainz to close in behind Esteban inside the points.
Both cars eased across the line with Esteban seventh and Fernando eighth.
“I’m very happy with the race today, and I think we achieved our maximum. Having both cars in the points shows our progress and also how we’ve had a strong weekend overall. Everyone in the team has contributed to this progress and, fighting with the Ferraris and McLarens shows we’ve improved the car and the package. The overtakes today were very enjoyable! We want to keep the momentum going and score more points. We know next week will be different, but we aim to continue the progress, keep the level of speed and I’m looking forward to it.”
“It was a very good weekend in general. The car has performed well, and we’ve made a big step forwards, fighting with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren in the race, which is different to where we were in Bahrain and Imola. It was the first race weekend where I felt comfortable and could push the car hard. Well done to everyone in the team, I think the progression we’ve made is very good. I think it could have been even better for us had we started higher on the grid. Performance on Saturday will be the key for the next two races in Barcelona and Monaco, so I need to focus on maximising my one lap speed starting next weekend.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director
“It was an entertaining race for us today, with lots of close battles and overtakes for both drivers, rewarded by good points at the finish line. We were fighting with Ferrari and McLaren and this is where we want to be. Formula 1 is more fun when you’re racing near the front! Today’s race was well managed from start to finish. Our strategy was spot on, both drivers managed their first stint well then were able to push on the Hard tyres in the second, enjoying themselves and making up positions. We’re on a good trajectory after this weekend thanks to the hard work by the team at the track, in Enstone and in Viry. There’s still pace to be found, though, for the next few races and that all begins next week when we go racing again in Barcelona.”
“Something about this track really does not suit our car and I think in general this was a bit of an off weekend in terms of grip and overall pace. We knew last year that we weren’t particularly strong here, so this year has been a bit better and we managed to finish ahead of one Mercedes, but it wasn’t quite good enough to get them both. Nevertheless, second is still a pretty good result and we always knew this season would be up and down in terms of the tracks we were strong at and the ones Mercedes were. The race today was pretty decent though and we were all constantly pushing which was nice. I tried to put the pressure on Valtteri in the beginning as he was struggling for grip, but clearly Lewis behind had more pace and he made it past us both. I was then able to undercut Valtteri in the pit stop but you could clearly see on the hard tyres we were just a bit slower, some laps we could match Lewis and others it was just not possible. Towards the end of the race Valtteri was even coming back at me which showed their pace today. It’s a shame the Fastest Lap got taken away, stupid track limits [laughs], they should just put gravel back! It is what it is, we always try and I had the gap so we went for it. We scored good points here but I’m looking forward to Barcelona, a track that has more normal grip levels and where I have good memories. I think we will also see a clearer picture of how teams have been progressing. It’s a long season ahead so a lot can happen.”
“Today was a busy race on my side! Lando managed to get past me at Turn 4 but I thought he had all four wheels off the track so I didn’t defend thinking he’d have to give the place back due to track limits but that wasn’t the case. It was a misjudgment on my side and a mistake but being stuck behind Lando compromised our race and cost us a lot of time. When I got past him my pace was good but I think the damage had already been done. Afterwards we tried to do something different with strategy by going long in the hope of a Safety Car but it didn’t work out and fourth was the maximum we could do. We are definitely making good progression with the car and the race pace, I am understanding it more and more with the extra kilometres I am driving. Of course there are still areas I need to get on top of and improve but it’s just a process and we’ll continue working hard for next week in Barcelona. It’s been very close again with Mercedes all weekend and I think this will be the case for the entire season. Some weekends they will be faster and others we will be so we just have to make sure we keep our heads down and continue working hard.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal
“Looking at today we can see that this championship is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. It’s so tight and it’s going to be all about marginal gains. Max drove the wheels off the car again today, snatching second from Mercedes and it’s super tight between him and Lewis. With Max, it was frustrating to lose the point for Fastest Lap at the end of the race due to track limits which I think we agree need to be consistent throughout the race weekend. Similarly with Sergio, he lost out to a case of track limits when he was overtaken by the McLaren but once he got back past, his race pace was good so he is definitely getting there and the races are coming together for him. In clean air his pace was matching that of the leaders so I’m pleased with the progress he is making. On the whole, second and fourth place means plenty of points and there’s only eight separating Max and Lewis in the championship. Barcelona next week will be the benchmark and we’ll get our heads down until then when hopefully we get a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of all the cars.”
“That was quite a busy and difficult race with a very long stint on the medium tyres. I do not think we could have done anything different with the strategy, but, overall, we did not have enough pace or consistency to hold onto the group fighting for points. On the positive side, I will have some new parts on my car next week, which we feel are a step in the right direction. But the real priority is to have a clean Saturday, which is the key to a better Sunday.”
“It was not our best day, but I think we were a bit stronger in race conditions than we were yesterday. Ultimately, a challenging Saturday meant that we were on the back foot today. The car felt better balanced in the race though, and we made up several places in the first half, but we just lacked that little bit more to make it into the points. If we had had a slightly better qualifying, points could have been possible. However, we will not dwell on today too much, but we will learn what we can and make improvements ahead of next weekend. We will arrive in Barcelona in a stronger position.”
Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal
“Lance drove a good race from a less than optimal grid slot, never put a foot wrong, and ended up finishing 14th in a race that contained very little attrition. Towards the end, he was running just behind Sebastian, but on fresher tyres, so we asked Sebastian to let Lance past so that he could have a go at trying to catch and pass the cars ahead, to give us an outside chance of nicking a point. In the end, Lance was not able to do that so, very sportingly, he gave the place back to Sebastian on the final lap. Obviously, we are disappointed not to have been able to score any points today, but the good news is that the Spanish Grand Prix is next weekend, so we have a chance to correct that in just a few days’ time.”
"Very happy with today. It was a strong race by the whole team, and a well-executed strategy. I got past the people I needed to get ahead of in the early laps at the start, then the restart and the pit-stop. I’m really pleased for everyone in the team and with my performance. We scored some good points and P5 was the best we could achieve today, so I’m very happy. Big thanks to everyone here and back at the factory for their hard work."
“Today was certainly a better day. I was able to do what I set out to do and overtake some cars, have some battles and get rid of some anger from yesterday, so that was good. I think there were moments of the race that were really positive and having got another race distance under me, I feel like I’ve got quite a bit of feedback for the team. I definitely feel some things which are holding me back in terms of what I want to do with the car, and every time I try it, it doesn’t quite hold on. So, I think there are some things we can immediately address with the set-up, and then with some updates to come. Overall, I’m pretty optimistic with how the race went, thanks again to the team at track and in Woking for their support and hard work this weekend. I’m already looking forward to Spain in a few days’ time.
Andreas Seidl - Team Principal
“Today we saw a great recovery drive. Well done to the entire team here at the track and back home, to both our drivers and to our colleagues from Mercedes HPP for striking back after a disappointing qualifying session yesterday. Lando completed another excellent weekend with a very strong drive to P5. Starting from P16, Daniel managed a very good first stint, making up a lot of positions at the start, delaying his pit-stop to gain further places, and then attacking at the end to finish P9, scoring another two important points for himself and for the team in the Constructors’ Championship.
“This result strengthened our hold on third position in the Constructors’ Championship, which is obviously very encouraging. It’s important we keep developing the car and delivering strong performances over the next few races – starting at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in less than five days’ time.”
Another race Sunday, another occasion in which the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team has looked strong… but points have remained elusive. In Portugal, in a race that once again saw very little attrition, we raced strongly, showing pace and grit but coming home just outside of the top ten.
Antonio and Kimi, starting in P12 and P15 respectively after a solid performance on Saturday, looked set to fight for the points all race: a good start placed the Finn in a good place, but contact with his team-mate brought the Iceman’s race to a premature end. Antonio, in the remaining C41, did a very good job in his first stint to keep Alonso’s Alpine at bay, before setting off in pursuit of Vettel after the pit-stop.
Antonio reeled in the four-time world champion before passing him with a decisive manoeuvre on the outside of turn one: he then controlled the two Aston Martins behind him, keeping them there until the chequered flag. With little action happening in front of the Italian, he crossed the line in P12.
No ultimate reward for the team, then, but the consciousness of being able to be there or thereabout when a race produces a few more surprises. It’s not yet where we want to be, but it’s a world away from where we were last year after three rounds. We keep working.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“It was a mixed Sunday for us: on the one hand, we lost one car through contact between team-mates, which is one of the worst things that can happen, in a sporting sense, to a team; on the other hand, Antonio did a really good job in the remaining car, keeping behind most of our direct rivals and finishing just outside the points. We keep showing how competitive the car can be in the race, but we still miss something to be in the top ten in normal circumstances: our work doesn’t stop and we will keep pushing to get there consistently.”
“You never want to have contact with your team-mate, and this time unfortunately it was my mistake. I got caught out by the slipstream and ended up driving into Antonio. I couldn’t do much after that, the front wing got stuck under the car and I couldn’t steer: all I could do was go straight into the gravel. It’s a disappointment as we looked like we had decent pace, I made a really good start and the race could have been positive. The only upside was that at least Antonio didn’t get any damage and was able to continue.”
“I feel we got all we could from the race today: it wasn’t possible to get any closer than this to the top ten. After the contact with Kimi, from which thankfully I didn’t get damage, and the Safety Car, nothing really happened in the front which made it really difficult to break into the points: I started 12th and finished there. I still had a fun race, some battles with Alonso and Vettel which kept me busy: I was happy to be able to pass Seb and keep both Aston Martins behind until the race. We will continue working hard to get into the points soon.”
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’s performance in the Portuguese Grand Prix did not live up to its expectations. After a good qualifying yesterday, only Charles Leclerc got into the points, finishing sixth. The Monegasque delivered a solid performance, crossing the line two places higher than his grid position, posting lap times similar to those of his closest rivals for the entire race. Unfortunately, a top ten result slipped from Carlos Sainz’s grasp in the closing stages and he finished eleventh.
Key moments. The second half of the race was particularly tough for the Spaniard. However, even before then, he had suffered a setback at the restart following the Safety Car brought out on the opening lap. Prior to that, the Spaniard had done a great job of passing Sergio Perez off the line, but he then dropped three places, ending up behind the Mexican, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon. The second key moment came in the first few laps after fitting the Medium tyres on lap 21, in an attempt to undercut Norris who was very close. In this stage, it’s likely Carlos pushed a bit too much and his tyre performance therefore dropped off in the closing stages, when he slipped down the order and out of the points.
Analysis. The Portimão race data will now be analysed in Maranello to understand why the SF21 did not perform as expected, particularly on one of the Pirelli compounds at this race. The next chance to measure up against our rivals starts this coming week, when the World Championship moves on to the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit for the fourth round of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix.
I can’t be satisfied with P6, and overall, I haven’t been performing at my best this weekend. That said, looking at my drive in the race, I am happy with the job I did. I had a good start to the first stint, but then Carlos and I both struggled a lot with graining on the medium tyre, which didn’t seem to affect the others so much. As a team, we have to understand what happened there. A fifth may have been possible today, but I don’t think we could have done much more.
We didn’t have a good day. Even though I got a good start, the race was very tough after the pit stop. During the first stint I was feeling very good on the Soft tyre behind Lando, Then, we tried the undercut by changing quite early onto the Medium and it didn’t work. From there on, it was a big struggle to make it to the end with that compound due to the graining. I’m disappointed, as I feel we had a good opportunity to score good points today. We will analyse the race, learn from the strategy, from the tyres and from the car behaviour. On to Spain.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
Today’s result was not what we were expecting. We were unable to capitalise on the potential seen in qualifying and that cost us a lot of points in the Constructors’ classification. Charles drove a very solid race, making up some of the ground lost yesterday. Carlos had a difficult race, especially in the second stint. In just a few days, we are back in action in Spain. On a very demanding track like the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, we will need to be prepared down to the smallest detail to make the most of our potential throughout the weekend.
Lewis takes an impressive victory for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Portugal with Valtteri completing the podium in P3
— Lewis completed a hunter’s drive to record his 97th victory in F1, after dropping to third following a safety car restart.
— Valtteri finished in P3 and secured the bonus point for fastest lap.
— An exhaust sensor failure cost the Finn precious power and the opportunity to close in on P2 late in the race.
— Today’s race marks the 500th Grand Prix start for Mercedes-Benz power in F1.
— Lewis (69 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 8 points from Max Verstappen (61 points) with Lando Norris (37) in P3.
— Today marks the 122nd Grand Prix at the top of the Drivers’ Championship for Lewis, breaking the record he previously shared with Michael Schumacher.
— The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (101 points) leads Red Bull (83 points) by 18 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
— Kane Hemmant, Electronics Support Engineer, accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team.
That was such a tough race, physically and mentally, just keeping everything together. It was very windy out there, obviously, so it was easy to put a foot wrong. I didn’t quite get as good a start as Valtteri, then lost out on the restart which was not good. I was not happy about that, naturally. But that race was satisfying, when you’re in third and have to overtake two amazing drivers - amazing! Having races like that is what I live for.
The gap between us all is so close and every single point is going to count this year. I love the battle, I’ve loved it since my days in karting and as a team, we can’t leave any stone unturned - we’ve got to continue to push this car, squeeze everything out of it.
Obviously not what I was aiming for today because when you start from pole, you want to bring home the win. I think ultimately the main issue was the first stint - I was struggling for pace and I still don’t understand why. The warm-up with the hard tyre was slow after the pit stop and Max managed to catch me. Then we had an exhaust temperature sensor issue later in the race which cost me speed on the straight so it was difficult to close in on Max and fight for P2. Eventually the power came back and I was able to set the fastest lap which could be an important point.
We need to analyse this weekend over the next two days, learn the lessons and then focus on next weekend - we go again.
Absolutely stunning drive from Lewis and it seemed under control all through the race. You could see, and hear in his voice, how much he was pushing. An incredible drive. Valtteri had some real pace at the beginning and you could see that it was difficult for Lewis to catch up, it was real speed. But then eventually Lewis managed to get past and off he went.
The exhaust sensor issue was unfortunate for Valtteri later in the race because he really caught up well to Max and then it kind of stabilised at 1.5/1.6 seconds, but he had more to come at the end of the race. We couldn’t override the faulty sensor so the engine went into protection mode and that cost him 5 seconds. Valtteri probably would have had a shot on Max at the end if we were not to let him down on the power unit. I think we need to give him credit.
When we were behind in testing and in Bahrain, it’s a buzz that I have not felt in the Team since 2013 when we had that first sniff that we could be there. The whole place is excited and continues to be excited. I’d like to be happy after Abu Dhabi at the end of the season but for the time being, we’ll take it one step at a time.
A really impressive and well-deserved win from Lewis; two solid overtakes to take the lead and he controlled it from there to the finish. Valtteri did a good job at the start and the restart but seemed to be lacking a bit of pace on the medium which allowed Verstappen to get within undercut range. That, together with a moment at turn 4, allowed Max to pass. Valtteri had strong pace on the hard tyre and we thought he was going to be able to take the position back from Max until an exhaust temperature sensor put an end to our hopes. As a consolation, he was able to pull enough time on Perez to earn a free stop to go for fastest lap. We’ll review the timing of our call as we opened the window for Red Bull to also have a go and had it not been for Max’s mistake at T14, we’d have lost a valuable point to them.
Overall, we can be pleased with the result this weekend, we’ve consolidated our lead in both championships and we had good pace on low and high fuel. However, the margins are super fine and it’s a reminder that we need to get everything right to beat Red Bull. We’ve got a difficult race next week in Barcelona; it’s a tyre overheating track like Bahrain so we’ll be using the next few days to prepare ourselves for that challenge.