Portuguese GP 2021: Wolff Vary of the Threat Red Bull, McLaren & Ferrari Pose to Mercedes in Portimao

Published 04/27/2021, 5:09 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crosses the line to win the race FIA/Handout via REUTERS


This weekend, the Formula One community heads to Portugal for the third race of the season. The Portuguese Grand Prix returned to the F1 calendar for the first time in 25 years as the fraternity visited the Algarve Circuit in Portimao for the first time. Needless to say, Lewis Hamilton drew first blood when he won the race for Mercedes.

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Recently, the Mercedes team and Toto Wolff put out a preview for this weekend’s race. He said, “Last year was our first race in Portimão. It’s an exciting, undulating track and produced some great racing in 2020; we also saw in qualifying and the opening laps that getting the tyres working properly is not easy.

“We’re expecting another close fight with Red Bull, and both McLaren and Ferrari could also be in the mix too. So, let’s see how things play out in Portugal.

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What else did the Mercedes boss say?

Wolff acknowledged that the Portimao circuit is still relatively new to the F1 calendar. Last year was the first time that any driver raced at the track. Even at tracks that F1 visited after a long time, such as Imola and Turkey, the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel were familiar.

PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL – OCTOBER 25: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on during the F1 Grand Prix of Portugal at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve on October 25, 2020 in Portimao, Portugal. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

However, the Algarve Circuit was a literal unknown, so this is a massive learning curve for everyone. For the Mercedes team, in particular, things should be interesting and the German giants will be constantly learning. Of course, the team is not expecting to steamroll over the competition. This year, the Red Bull team and Max Verstappen have emerged as major title contenders.

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Obviously, Red Bull will be hot on Mercedes’ tails during this weekend as well. However, the two outfits will be wary of a resurgent McLaren and Ferrari. At Bahrain, McLaren and Lando Norris surprised everyone, and Imola showed that their pace was not a flash in the pan. Meanwhile, Scuderia Ferrari have slowly begun to banish the demons of the 2020 season.

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One thing is for sure, since Mercedes have snatched a win at Portimao, they are the favorites. However, Formula One is an unpredictable business. After all, who could have thought that Lewis Hamilton would make a mistake in the wet conditions and throw away a surefire race win?

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Dhruv George

11450 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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