Portuguese GP, Algarve International Circuit, May 2, 2021

2020 Portugal GP Algarve Portimao circuit Photo Pirelli

Races 17 (1958 – 1960, 1984 – 1996,  2020)
Laps 66
Lap lenght 4653 m
Race distance 306.826 km
Race lap record 1:18.750 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11, 2020)
Lap record 1:16.466 (Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11, Q2, 2020)

REKORDI (after 2020 F1 race)

Wins A.Prost and N.Mansell (3) Williams (6) Renault (6)
Pole positions Ayrton Senna (3) Williams (5) Renault (7)
Fastest laps Gerhard Berger (3) Williams (7) Renault (7)
Podium places Alain Prost (7) Williams (13) Renault (13)
Front row places Alain Prost (5) Williams (12) Renault (12)
Races led Nigel Mansell (6) Williams (9) Renault (8)
Kilometers led Nigel Mansell (792) Williams (1851) Renault (1835)
Points Alain Prost (49) Williams (95) Renault (122)


1st free practice Fri 11:30
2nd free practice Fri 15:00
3rd free practice Sat 12:00
Qualifying Sat 15:00
Race Sun 15:00
All times are track times for that location. You can switch to your timezone () below. Time on trackYour local time

The Algarve International Circuit in Portimao is full of ups and downs and in 2020 it entered the F1 calendar as a completely new track, although the teams tested on it in 2009. The track got new asphalt before last year’s race which was very slippery, but it should offer more grip this year.

The new asphalt for drivers meant less grip, and after a year of use the situation should be a bit better so it is possible that despite the slightly slower cars this season we see a new track record.

Although the track was constructed in 2008, with its configuration with large changes in height, it looks like an old-fashioned track, and due to its width, it provides drivers with several possible lines through the corners, which makes overtaking easier.

The track has a large number of different types of turns, from slow, medium and fast, and a special challenge are the numerous blind turns in which drivers do not see the apex of the corner as they approach it due to constant changes in height.

The slowest turns are the third and fourth, and the fastest turn is the last one that today’s cars easily pass at full throttle in seventh or eighth gear, even in a race with a full tank, while at the exit they reach speeds over 280 km/h.

2021 Portugese GP Portimao Algarve Pirelli F1 preview track characteristics Photo Pirelli Edited by MAXF1net
Photo: Pirelli

One of the most challenging turn combinations is corners six and seven – drivers approach the turn six in seventh or eighth gear with more than 270 km/h, then turn and brake at the same time for a slow right corner in third gear, often blocking the front right wheel which is less loaded when turning to the right.

The start-finish straight is the longest on the entire track (950 meters), and the second longest (440 meters) connects the turns three and four, with a period of full throttle from the exit from the turn two to braking for the fourth turn lasting about nine seconds.

Last year’s race was won by Lewis Hamilton from pole position who set his pole lap on medium (C2) tyres and in the race he celebrated with a single stop using C2 and C1 tyres.

Pirelli will, like last year, bring its three hardest tyre compounds to Portimao (C1, C2 and C3) that drivers will use for the first time this season after having three middle compounds at their disposal in Bahrain and Imola.


Origins – Porto i Monsanto (1958 – 1960)

The first Portuguese GP was run in 1958 on the 7500 m long Porto track and was won by Stirling Moss in Vanwall from pole position, in a season in which he finished second in the drivers’ standings for the fourth year in a row.

Portugal hosted the F1 race in 1959 on the 5425 m long Monsanto track, and the winner was again Moss, this time behind the wheel of a Cooper Climax with which he won both the pole position and the fastest lap.

The Portuguese GP returned to the Porto track in 1960 with a lap length of 7407 meters, and with a total distance of 407,385 km it is the longest distance of all F1 races in the history of Portugal. The race was won by Jack Brabham in Cooper Climax, the year he won his second of three championship titles after winning his first title a year earlier.

Estoril as a home of Portuguese GP for 13 years (1984 – 1996)

Formula 1 returned to Portugal in 1984 on the Estoril track where the race was held for 13 consecutive years – the first ten races (1984-1993) were driven on a 4350 meter long configuration, and in 1994 the track was slowed down as the fast Tanque corner was replaced by a slow combination Gancho which extended the lap by 10 meters.

The first victory on the Estoril track in 1984 was achieved by Alain Prost in McLaren with TAG’s 1.5-liter V6 turbo engine, in the year in which he lost the title fight to teammate Niki Lauda by only half a point as the Austrian driver secured his third and final title.

Along with Mansell, Prost is the most successful driver at the Portuguese GP with three victories, Moss has two victories, and as many as nine drivers have one victory each (of the active drivers only Hamilton has won in Portugal).

Ayrton Senna won his first F1 pole position at the 1985 Portuguese GP in Lotus Renault, and a day later he achieved his first victory in Formula 1 in rainy conditions in a race in which only Michele Alboreto finished in the same lap with Senna, with more than a minute behind.

Nigel Mansell won the race in 1986, his fifth win of the season, and Williams secured the constructors’ title two races before the end of the season, although Mansell and Piquet will lose the driver’s title from Prost in McLaren in the dramatic last race in Adelaide.

Prost celebrated in 1987 and 1988 for McLaren and Gerhard Berger won in 1989 for Ferrari in a season that was dominated by McLaren drivers Prost and Senna.

Mansell achieved his second victory in Portugal in 1990, this time driving for Ferrari, and in 1991 the only victory in this country was recorded by Riccardo Patrese in Williams Renault.

Mansell achieved his third and final win at Estoril in 1992 for Williams, in his dominant season in which he won 14 pole positions and 9 wins in 16 races in his FW14B, and Michael Schumacher in 1993 achieved his first win of the season and second in his career for Benetton Ford.

Damon Hill defeated team-mate David Coulthard in Williams 1-2 victory in 1994, his third straight win, as he closed the gap to just one point behind Michael Schumacher, who missed the last two races in Italy and Portugal for ignoring the black flag at the British Grand Prix.

Coulthard achieved the first of 13 Formula 1 victories at the 1995 Portuguese GP in the dominant weekend for Williams Renault in which he won pole position, victory and fastest lap as Michael Schumacher managed to separate Coulthard and Hill in second place for Benetton.

In the last F1 race at Estoril in 1996, Hill won the pole position with 0.009 seconds ahead of teammate Jacques Villeneuve, but the young Canadian managed to celebrate ahead of his teammate and stay in the title fight, a race before the end of the championship. It was Williams’ sixth and final 1-2 win of the season.

Portugal F1 comeback after 24 years (2020)

2020 Portugal GP Hamilton leads Verstappen Friday Photo Daimler
Hamilton leads Verstappen during the 2020 Portuguese GP (Photo: Daimler)

After 24 years, Formula 1 returned to Portugal at the Algarve International Circuit 2020, which hosted the F1 race for the first time, but where F1 teams tested back in 2009.

Lewis Hamilton achieved the most convincing victory of the season and the 92nd in his career, breaking Michael Schumacher’s record, and Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen completed the podium.

Bottas overtook Hamilton in the first lap while light rain made the slippery Algarve circuit even more challenging, and Verstappen went wide in the third corner and had contact with Perez in Racing Point in the turn four who spun and fell to the back of the standings.

Sainz took advantage of a great start on soft tyres and overtook both Mercedes drivers who struggled to warm up harder medium tyres, but when they warmed them up after five laps the inevitably happened so Bottas overtook Sainz with the help of DRS at the start of the sixth lap while Hamilton did same a lap later.

Verstappen managed to recover and overtake McLaren’s drivers, but by then he was already more than four seconds behind Mercedes and failed to threaten them.

Bottas held the lead while Hamilton complained about the front left tyre, but a series of the fastest laps allowed him to catch up and overtake Bottas at the start of lap 20 with the help of DRS on the main straight.

2020 Portugal GP Bottas battle Sainz Photo McLaren
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Performance, battles Carlos Sainz, McLaren MCL35 (Photo: McLaren)

Verstappen replaced softs with mediums after he started to catch up with Leclerc in Ferrari on medium tyres, but after that he did not show enough speed because Mercedes drove equally fast laps on significantly older medium tyres.

Hamilton entered the pits in lap 40 and took a new set of hard tyres, as did Bottas lap later although he wanted to take soft tyres to try something different from Hamilton who further increased his advantage because the Finn had trouble warming up his tyres.

Verstappen finished third for Red Bull, his ninth podium in the first 12 races in 2020, and Leclerc drove a great race for Ferrari and finished fourth, climbing into fifth place in the drivers ’standings, a point ahead of Perez in Racing Point.

Gasly started on soft and overtook Perez in the last laps of the race for fifth place, and Perez replaced soft tyres with medium after the collision with Verstappen in the first lap and did the third stint of the race on soft that started to wear more significantly in the last laps.

Sainz took advantage of Perez’s problems and overtook him in the final lap in the fight for sixth place, and the Mexican finished seventh after being last in the first round.

Ocon and Ricciardo finished eighth and ninth for Renault as the Frenchman started 11th on medium tyres on which he drove as many as 53 laps before replacing them with a new set of softs.

Vettel fought his way from the 15th on the grid and finished tenth for Ferrari, which is only his second point in the last six races.

Raikkonen had a great first lap on soft tyres as light rain fell on the track, but he gradually fell through the standings and finished 11th ahead of Albon at Red Bull who had another disappointing race in the fight to stay at Red Bull in 2021.


1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 66
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 66 25.592
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 66 34.508
4 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 66 1:05.312
5 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 65 1 lap
6 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 65 1 lap
7 11 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 65 1 lap
8 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 65 1 lap
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 65 1 lap
10 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 65 1 lap
11 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 65 1 lap
12 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 65 1 lap
13 4 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 65 1 lap
14 63 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 65 1 lap
15 99 A.Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 65 1 lap
16 8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 65 1 lap
17 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 65 1 lap
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 64 2 laps
19 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 64 2 laps
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 51 Damage

Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton – 1:18.750 (lap 63)


Year Winner Pole position Fastest lap
2020 Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton
1996 Jacques Villeneuve Damon Hill Jacques Villeneuve
1995 David Coulthard David Coulthard David Coulthard
1994 Damon Hill Gerhard Berger David Coulthard
1993 Michael Schumacher Damon Hill Damon Hill