The first day of this race weekend in Portimao saw a couple of red flags during the Free Practice Session of Friday. Lewis Hamilton, after the free practice, reportedly stated that performing at the circuit is going to be a tall task.
“It’s an incredibly difficult circuit. Massively challenging,” he told Sky Sports. Hamilton agrees that he is finding the circuit tough and largely so because of the elevation changes.
The lack of experience on the circuit possesses significant challenges for the drivers. The first Grand Prix in Portimao presents the drivers with an unprecedented dilemma.
“There’s a lot of places you just can’t see where you’re going. The exit of turn eight, you’re looking at the sky for a period of time and you have no idea what’s beyond the hill.
“Also into 11, you’re coming in and you don’t know where you are, all of a sudden it arrives at you out of nowhere,” he explained.
Hamilton added, “So it’s very challenging. The surface is very smooth. You see a lot of people making mistakes and sliding and spinning so it’s not been an easy day.”
The practice session witnessed a collision between Stroll and Verstappen. There was another incident where Sebastian Vettel almost hit the back of Nicholas Latifi.
Hamilton admitted that the issues from practice will almost certainly find their way into qualifying as well. In his view, getting a clean lap would be more difficult to bring the soft compound grip and up to a good speed.
He explains, “It’s not easy… it’s really difficult to get the tyres in the window for the first lap here, even with the soft. They are hard tyres, this is the hardest range of tyres, on a circuit like this it should be expected I would say”.
On his view on qualification, Hamilton said, “I think Q1 particularly there’ll be a lot of cars out there and it’ll be a dogfight to get position, get a clear lap. But that’s what we do. Everyone’s in the same boat.”
Lewis Hamilton finished behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas in FP1 and FP2. He finished P8 in FP2 and explained that it was due to slow recoveries post the red flags.
The defending World Champion is looking to win the race and record the most wins in Formula 1. Moreover, a win this weekend could seal him his seventh World Championship title.