Saturday, June 19, 2021

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix Saturday – Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

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The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team secures front row lockout for the Portuguese Grand Prix

Driver

Chassis No.

FP3

Q1

Q2

Q3

Valtteri Bottas

F1 W12
E Performance/04

P3

8 Laps

P1

7 Laps

P2

8 Laps

P1

1:18.722

Soft,

Soft

1:18.458

Medium,

Soft

1:18.348

Soft,

Medium

Lewis Hamilton

F1 W12
E Performance/06

P2

9 Laps

P3

7 Laps

P1

8 Laps

P2

1:18.857

Soft

Soft

1:17.968

Medium,

Soft

1:18.355

Soft

Medium

Valtteri Bottas

We worked hard to figure out the issues I was experiencing in qualifying, we put things right and this is the result – it’s more like how it should be, so I’m happy. In the first two races, I knew the speed was there but my main issue was tyre warm-up. We’ve put a lot of focus on that, we learned some lessons and I always knew our hard work would pay off. The key was to stay calm, execute the plan and focus on the small details, particularly on the out-laps.

We’ve been stronger than expected which is a positive surprise but it’s only qualifying, I’m already thinking about tomorrow. We know the Red Bulls have a strong race car and we are expecting an epic battle.

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix - Saturday Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Portugal GP 2021. Valtteri Bottas © Daimler AG

Lewis Hamilton

Not that enjoyable of a session because I couldn’t get that many good laps in but I’m not too frustrated, I only did one good lap and that was in Q2. Of course I’d have loved to put more good laps together but it was tricky out there. It’s a slippery track, the tyres are hard so you need to do multiple laps to put temperature into them and it’s quite a peaky balance – it works for a second and then falls away very quickly, it’s on a knife-edge.

It wasn’t meant to be but Valtteri did a great job today and I’m just focused on the race. Now is the time to understand strategy for tomorrow and work out where the opportunities lie. It’s not an easy track to follow but we shall we see – I hope we have good enough pace to fight for the win, tomorrow we’ll go all in.

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix - Saturday Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Portugal GP 2021. Lewis Hamilton © Daimler AG

Toto Wolff

Qualifying was always our weakness in the first two races and now we’re back at the front. We have seen these kinds of performances from Valtteri in the past and today was a mega day for him. But I have no doubt, like I’ve always said, he can be right up there. Tomorrow we have two Mercedes with two Red Bulls just behind, good ingredients for a nice race!

Andrew Shovlin

Congratulations to Valtteri on his 17th career pole position; he’s looked solid all weekend in challenging conditions so it’s a very well-deserved result. It’s also a fine result for the team to be starting with both cars on the front row – the 75th front row of the modern era for Mercedes F1.

It was a fairly difficult session; it wasn’t clear whether the medium or soft would ultimately be the faster tyre and we also had to understand whether a preparation lap was better than going straight for lap one. By final qualifying, no one had come close to matching Lewis’s time on medium from Q2 so we decided to hedge our bets by running both compounds. As it happened, the track got much slower in the final minutes so tyre choice wasn’t important but we were just grateful that we’d done enough to secure the front row. We had wanted both cars on the medium tyre to start the race and on balance, we’re happy to have Red Bull on the same start-tyre given that we have track position. Our main concern will be the warm-up on that compound, the soft runners on the third row and behind will have a grip advantage that could last a lap or two so that may might things tricky.

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