Lewis Hamilton now holds the record for most wins in Formula One outright, having taken his 92nd career win in Portimao.
The Portuguese Grand Prix did see a surprise leader in the early stages as Carlos Sainz made a blistering start from the clean side of the grid in slippery conditions as a brief shower passed through and both Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton struggled for grip.
But once the rain clouds had cleared as quickly as they came, Sainz’s McLaren was no match for the two Mercedes and Bottas re-took the lead on lap 6.
Hamilton then took the lead away from his teammate on lap 19 after setting a string of fastest laps.
Bottas tried in vain to defend the position by going all the way over to the dirty right-hand side of the main straight but Hamilton was still able to get the move done before the apex of turn 1.
From there on in, it was a one stop strategy for both Mercedes drivers with Hamilton feeling comfortable on the medium tyres even after the halfway point of the race.
In a scenario similar to that seen at last month’s Tuscan Grand Prix, Bottas enquired about taking the soft compound tyre at his pit stop rather than the hard compound that Hamilton had switched onto but the Finn still received the hard compound tyre when he pitted.
Mercedes explained afterwards that having their drivers take different tyre strategies was not something that they did, meaning any requests from Bottas would fall on deaf ears.
(Photo by Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
In the end, Hamilton’s victory margin was a crushing 25 and a half seconds over Bottas in second with Max Verstappen coming home third after another lonely race in his Red Bull.
On the other side of the Red Bull garage, it was a dreadful afternoon for Alexander Albon, who was lapped by his teammate on lap 52 and finished well outside the points.
It looks as if the writing’s on the wall for Albon in terms of his future at Red Bull. A decision will be made in the coming weeks.
Joining Bottas and Hamilton in choosing the one-stop strategy were Charles Leclerc, who finished fourth at the end of a strong weekend for the Monegasque driver, and Esteban Ocon, who put in a exceptional 53-lap stint on the medium compound on his way to an eighth place finish.
The only retiree from the race was Lance Stroll as a result of floor damage picked up after the Canadian made contact with Lando Norris as he tried to go around the outside of the McLaren driver through turn 1.
Stroll received a five-second time penalty for causing this collision and later received another five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits too many times.
Next weekend sees Formula One returning to Imola for the first time since 2006 as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix becomes the first two-day grand prix weekend in the sport’s history.
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