Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen talk about their start and re-start in F1 Portuguese GP, which made the race a bit exciting in some parts.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas made a solid start to F1 Portuguese GP as Lewis Hamilton couldn’t pounce on him, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was stuck behind them. He got his opportunity after safety car re-start and he didn’t waste it.

Verstappen was ever close to Hamilton and cleared him for an exciting moment. He tried to push on Bottas but the Finn had it under control, which allowed the Brit to fight back on the Dutchman. He not only regained the lost place but also cleared the Finn for a win.

Talking about losing the place to Verstappen, Hamilton said, he was actually looking where the Dutchman was, when Bottas pressed the throttle to move on. This is where he lost that tiny bit of concentration, which allowed the Red Bull driver to pass him.

“I lost position, that’s what happened on re-start,” said Hamilton. “Well, it was interesting because I was focusing on Valtteri naturally and literally just for a split second I looked in my mirrors to see where Max was and in that split second that’s when Valtteri went. So that wasn’t great and then I was Valtteri’s tow and Max was about to pull out and I pulled out and gave you Valtteri’s tow and I was like, ‘you idiot’, to myself.

“So then after that being behind the two… what a great track. It really enabled us to fight closely in that first stint and I think that’s what the fans want and that’s what I want from a racing point of view. This track is really great because you can have certain different lines in certain corners, a bit like Austin, so it was really awesome. I think Max was super-fast on that restart and there was a moment I think we were all very, very close.

“I fell back, maybe a second or something like that and I needed to get closer but for a moment there was far too big a gap. I wasn’t in the DRS, and I just had to gather my thoughts and made a couple of tweaks in terms of how I was driving and then start on the attack again. Once I did, obviously I got closer and Max.

“I think, had a small mistake which then put me in a nice position out of Turn 5 and then I just needed to keep that gap through the rest of the lap and that was where I was able to get past him. Then, after that, was just focussing on bridging the gap between myself and Valtteri, who was very quick out of the last corner,” summed up Hamilton.

At the same time, Verstappen noted that he gave his all, but it just wasn’t enough. He was pleased with the re-start, certainly. “I tried everything I could really,” he said. “I had a good restart because the actual start, I just missed-out a bit. We didn’t really have particularly a great launch. I couldn’t really do anything there but then, it was a good fight into Turn One with Lewis.

“Managed to keep it on the kerb as well, so didn’t have to give the position back like in Bahrain. From there it was just super-close between the three of us. I tried to attack Valtteri but all the time I could not get close enough in those last two corners and then the run onto the straight. By pushing I had a little wobble but I didn’t really lose-out a lot from that. And then Lewis was already super-close behind and he got me into Turn One.

“And then, of course, Lewis was putting the pressure on Valtteri and I just could not stay close to Lewis for that, to also pick up the DRS. But it was close. I just tried to put the pressure on and, of course, Lewis cleared Valtteri and then I was, I don’t know for how many laps, in Valtteri’s DRS. It was incredible – but it was good. It felt a bit more like… not flat-out racing but at least a bit more than continuously tyre saving,” summed up Verstappen.

Here’s video of re-start: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2021/5/2021_Portuguese_Grand_Prix__Verstappen_and_Hamilton_duel_in_Portimao.html

Here’s how F1 Portuguese GP panned out