Formula One returns to Portugal after nearly a quarter of a century away at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix (Race: 9:10am ET Sunday).
The disruption to the planned calendar due to the pandemic provided the opportunity to resurrect, at least for one year, the Portuguese Grand Prix, last held in 1996. Then, the venue was Estoril. Now it’s the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao.
The circuit was inaugurated in 2008, and is generally considered to be an interesting one to drive, with some blind corners and unexpected changes in camber. The long start-finish straight and the wider than normal track surface should also provide chances to overtake. It is a new one for teams and drivers alike, although Sergio Perez did drive there in GP2 back in 2009.
Lewis Hamilton is understandably the favourite at the betting websites for States’ residents to secure victory this weekend after taking his seventh win of the season and the 91st of his career at the Eifel GP at the Nürburgring two weeks ago. That latter mark saw him equal Michael Schumacher’s career tally, one that he will surely surpass by the end of the year. He is also well on his way to seventh drivers’ championship, which would again equal Schumacher’s record.
There is little value in backing Hamilton for victory on Sunday, but given that this weekend’s circuit is likely to be especially well-suited to the characteristics of his Mercedes, it could be worth betting on him to record the fastest lap of the race. A comfortable advantage at the head of the field would provide him with the necessary cushion to add an extra point to his tally with a run at the fastest lap. It is something that he has claimed four times this year.
Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas retired his Mercedes early at the Nürburgring, leaving Max Verstappen to finish second for Red Bull ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who secured Renault’s first podium since their return to Formula One as a constructor in 2016 by taking third. Perez was fourth for Racing Point but would have had a good chance of challenging Ricciardo on fresher rubber late on had a safety car not allowed everyone to pit for new tires.
Lance Stroll missed the event due to illness and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus, so the second Racing Point was driven by Nico Hulkenberg, who steered it home to a very credible eighth. Stroll hasn’t had a good time of it of late, with two non-finishes followed by his absence in Germany, but he has a good chance of securing a strong result on his return this weekend.
Racing Point had excellent pace in Mugello last month at a circuit of similar style to Portimao, qualifying sixth and seventh and claiming a fifth-place finish through Perez. If Stroll can keep his head down and avoid incident, his fifth top six finish of the year could be on the cards.
Carlos Sainz took fifth for McLaren in Germany, followed by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, the aforementioned Hulkenberg, the Haas of Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo. It was Grosjean’s first points finish of the year, although it seems unlikely to be sufficient to assure his continuation in the team for 2021.
The race brought Daniil Kyvat’s three-race scoring streak to an end, but the AlphaTauri driver has a solid chance of getting back into the points on Sunday. He hasn’t had the pace of his teammate Pierre Gasly but he has come home in the top 10 on five occasions. If the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend at least partially mirrors that at Mugello, he will have another chance to do so.
Kyvat went well there, qualifying 12th and finishing up in seventh in what was, admittedly, an attritional race in which only 12 cars made the finish. More globally, AlphaTauri have had at least one car in the points in 10 of the 11 races so far this season, suggesting that if the conditions are right, Kyvat has a car capable of again getting him up there in Portimao.
So we come to USAbetting’s final F1 Portuguese Grand Prix predictions for this race preview:
- Bet on Lewis Hamilton to record the fastest lap of the race @ +110 with Bovada or Intertops.
- Back Lance Stroll to finish in the top six @ +165 with Bovada or BetOnline. For the latter bookmaker, you will find this is via ‘other sports’ / ‘auto racing’ / ‘motor sports’ and not their ‘Formula 1’ link!
- Get on Daniil Kyvat to finish in the points (a top 10 finish) @ best odds of +100 (evens) with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.