Lewis Hamilton is the greatest Formula One driver of all time, according to former Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton won a record 92nd grand prix in Portugal last Sunday to surpass Michael Schumacher as the driver with the most race victories in history.

The six-time world champion has won 35.1 per cent of the 262 grands prix he has entered and converted 57 pole positions.

With a 77-point lead over Valtteri Bottas at the top of the driver's standings, Hamilton appears almost certain to equal Schumacher's record haul of seven titles.

Rosberg retired in 2016 after pipping Hamilton to his only driver's championship, but the pair are set to renew rivalries in Extreme E, an off-road racing series aimed at raising awareness of the climate crisis.

The German cannot wait to lock horns with his old team-mate and adversary again.

Speaking to Stats Perform News after the launch of the Extreme E championship, Rosberg said: "I was really thrilled to hear that Lewis is joining Extreme E as well.

"In parallel, I was planning my team and suddenly I hear that he's doing one too. That was awesome, because it gives us all the more opportunity in awareness of the championship, as he has a very big following as well.

"Of course, also in the racing itself, I really look forward to racing him, now as team owners on the race tracks around the world. That's going to be very, very exciting. It's a different challenge for us also, now in a different role and I go racing to win, to beat everyone else out there."

Looking back at 2016, when he won the title by five points, Rosberg said: "At that time, I was focused on making myself the best because I wanted to beat him.

"Lewis, as we could see recently, is the greatest F1 driver of all time. To beat Lewis driving the same car is never easy, so I am very proud I could make it. It is nice to revive our rivalry in this series but on different teams."

Rosberg, who will compete for Rosberg Extreme Racing, said of the event: "Extreme E combines real racing action, fierce competition, green technologies and zero-emission mobility and all that to help preserve our environment.

"Extreme E takes racing to uncharted territories, by bringing the action to some of the most remote locations, all of which are suffering from the destruction of our environment. We have already confirmed collaborations with local and international foundations, including the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, to leave a long-lasting local impact and, hopefully, reverse the damage done by climate change.

"Coming from F1 I have learned that it is almost always possible to find solutions to problems, as long as you're willing to fight that status quo and constantly search for better results. That is what racing is about and that is what Rosberg Extreme Racing is about."

Lewis Hamilton made Formula One history last weekend with a 92nd race win and the Mercedes driver can match another record at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher won 72 Grands Prix during his time with Ferrari, and six-time world champion Hamilton can reach the tally for the Silver Arrows if he wins at Imola.

The track is back on the calendar for the first time since 2006, though no fans will be able to attend due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Italy.

After his dominant victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix, Hamilton has won nine times this season as he closes in matching Schumacher's haul of seven F1 world titles.

We preview a race which starts at 13:10 local time (12:10 GMT).

 

LAST TIME OUT

It was a landmark win for Hamilton in Portugal, as the Briton surpassed Schumacher's record of 91 F1 victories.

Hamilton started on pole, but slipped to third place on the second lap before coasting to yet another victory ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

The 35-year-old leads the championship by 77 points and it is surely only a matter of time before he wraps up a fourth straight world title.

Alex Albon had been challenged by Christian Horner to make an impact in the Algarve, but the Red Bull driver got off to a slow start and never looked likely to challenge for points, ultimately finishing in 12th.

Carlos Sainz faded after a strong start, while Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finished fourth and 10th respectively. 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT IMOLA

All eyes will of course be on Hamilton, but Bottas will be looking to gain some of the limelight.

Bottas is 17 points ahead of Verstappen, and the pair might have to battle it out for second place with Hamilton riding on the crest of a wave.

If Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen finish on the podium at Imola, it will be the second-most repeated top-three in F1 history, behind a top three of Hamilton, Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

Albon will need to start mounting a response to his poor form if he is to cling onto his Red Bull seat next season, while Ferrari's Leclerc has not finished on the podium since the British Grand Prix at the start of August.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Senna's legacy lives on – Ayrton Senna died in an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. The legendary Brazilian took eight pole positions at Imola, more than any other driver at the Italian circuit.

Seven up for Mercedes – Mercedes are 12 points away from claiming the world F1 team championship for a seventh consecutive year, the best run for a team in F1.

History maker – This will be the 32nd different grand prix for Hamilton, who has won more races (27) and taken more pole positions (27) at different Grands Prix than any other driver.

Bottas' conversion issues continue – Bottas has claimed 14 poles in total, yet he has won just won five races after starting at the top of the grid.

Vettel's qualification woe – Vettel has failed to reach Q3 in the last eight qualifying sessions – the worst run in his F1 career. The four-time world champion has gone 15 consecutive races without reaching the podium.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 

Drivers 
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 256 
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 179 
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 162 
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 80 
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 75 

Constructors 
1. Mercedes – 435 
2. Red Bull – 226 
3. Racing Point – 126 
4. McLaren – 124 
5. Renault – 120 

Alfa Romeo will remain in Formula One for 2021 after extending their naming rights deal with Sauber.

Sauber signed a technical and commercial partnership with Alfa Romeo in 2018 and the following season saw the team rebranded, putting the Italian car manufacturer's name back on the grid after a 33-year absence.

To celebrate the announcement of the extension and F1 returning to Imola for the first time since 2006 this weekend, a one-off livery featuring the Italian flag on the roll-hoop and rear wing endplates will be run at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Team principal Frederic Vasseur said: "The extension of our relationship with Alfa Romeo is a true statement of intent from both parties. In Sauber, Alfa Romeo found a committed, performance-driven partner to which they could entrust their brand: we are honoured to carry the heritage and past success of Alfa Romeo in our name.

"Both parties always intended for this relationship to bear fruit in the long term: we have laid some solid foundations in the last three seasons and we aim to reap the rewards of this work in 2021 and beyond."

Formula One has confirmed that spectators will be unable to attend the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after the Italian government banned large crowds.

It had been hoped that up to 13,000 spectators would be able to attend this weekend's event at the Imola track.

However, due to a rise of coronavirus cases across Italy, the nation's government has decided to ban crowds at events.

Though disappointed that Imola – which has been included on the F1 calendar for the first time since 2006 – will be unable to host fans, F1 respects the Italian government's decision.

"We had hoped to welcome fans to the race this weekend but completely understand and respect the decision taken by the authorities," an F1 spokesperson told Stats Perform News.

"We hope our fans still enjoy the race from home."

This weekend's race will be held over a two-day schedule rather than three. One practice session will take place on Saturday before qualifying, with the race itself set to start at 13:10 local time (12:10 GMT) on Sunday.

Pierre Gasly will remain at AlphaTauri for the 2021 Formula One season, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

Gasly has enjoyed a fine campaign in 2020, landing his first F1 win at the Italian Grand Prix in September and sitting ninth in the drivers' championship standings.

The Frenchman was demoted to AlphaTauri - then Toro Rosso - midway through last season after just 12 races with Red Bull in which he failed to secure a single podium.

This year's performances had prompted the suggestion Gasly could return to the senior outfit, where Alex Albon is battling to retain the seat he took from the 24-year-old.

But such a return was never a realistic prospect and, as expected, Gasly's new AlphaTauri deal was announced ahead of the two-day Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

"I'm extremely happy to continue with AlphaTauri for another season," the driver said. "This year is going very well, and we are on track to have our most successful season in the team's history.

"I feel we have a very strong relationship. We have managed to take every opportunity that's come our way, the best one at the Italian Grand Prix.

"Winning my first Formula One race in Monza was a very special moment for me, and it was made extra sweet to deliver a second win in the team's history, so I'm very proud of that.

"I'll do my maximum to push the team and take all my responsibility to bring it as far forward as I can."

Team principal Franz Tost added: "I'm delighted that Pierre will remain with us for the 2021 season.

"He has been part of the Red Bull driver pool for many years and I hope he will remain in the Red Bull family for many seasons ahead.

"Since he came back to the team last year, he consistently showed extremely good performances, achieving two podiums with a second place in Brazil in 2019 and a win at the team's home race at this year's Italian Grand Prix."

Max Verstappen backed Lewis Hamilton to win "well over 100" Formula One grands prix, joking it would force him to race into his 40s to compete.

Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher's F1 record with his 92nd victory at Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes man started on pole but had to recover from a tricky spell to hold off team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Verstappen for his landmark triumph.

Verstappen was full of praise for Hamilton, the 2020 drivers' championship leader, after the race and does not see his dominance ending any time soon.

"We were just talking about it," the 23-year-old said, appearing alongside Hamilton at a news conference. "Lewis says he keeps pushing because he wants to set it very high. I have to work hard to try to get there.

"It's amazing. What can you say? It's just incredible, an incredible achievement. Ninety-two victories and I don't think it stops there. It will go well over 100.

"He's pushing me to go until I'm 40 years old or something. It's a good motivation as well.

"No, anyway, it's incredible. It looks like of course he's also going for his seven world titles [another Schumacher record], which is very impressive.

"Everybody knows he's very quick but what has also been a very strong point is that he's also very consistent and very rarely makes a mistake.

"That's why I think also he got to this number so quick. It's just very impressive."

Lewis Hamilton's 92nd race win at Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix saw him surpass Michael Schumacher for the most in Formula One history. 

The Mercedes man, who equalled Schumacher's haul of 91 a fortnight earlier in Germany, started from pole but had to recover from a tough start to beat team-mate Valtteri Bottas. 

Hamilton is now top of the pile, yet both he and Schumacher stand well clear of the rest in F1. 

Sebastian Vettel is third in the standings with 53 wins, just ahead of Alain Prost's 51. Ayrton Senna had 41. 

With the help of Opta, we take a look at more numbers behind Hamilton's success and his pursuit of Schumacher...


HOW HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENTS BREAK DOWN

The 35-year-old's record haul of victories have come from 262 grands prix at a win rate of 35.1 per cent. 

Of his 92 successes, 80 have come from the front row of the grid (87 per cent) and 57 from pole (62 per cent). 

With seven wins after qualifying in third, two from fourth and one each from fifth and sixth, only one Hamilton victory has come with the Briton starting from outside the top six – the 2018 German Grand Prix, he claimed a remarkable triumph after beginning the race way down in 14th. 

Meanwhile, this latest win marked a 28th different circuit at which he has come out on top - another record - and arrives amid a dominant hybrid era. 

Hamilton had at least nine wins in every season between 2014 and 2019 and, with eight so far, is on course to reach that mark again this year. No other driver has achieved this feat in six different seasons. 


WHAT IS LEFT FOR LEWIS TO LOOK FOR?

The most notable Schumacher record still on the table is his tally of seven drivers' championships, an achievement Hamilton will surely match this year. 

But the German great also still leads the way in terms of various other statistics. 

Hamilton spoke this week of a desire to remain at Mercedes next year and that should allow him to bring other benchmarks into view. 

A victory in a 15th consecutive season in 2021 would tie Schumacher's historic run from 1992 to 2006. Hamilton's first (at Canada in 2007) came 255 races ago, with a longer stretch between successes enjoyed only by Kimi Raikkonen (294 between his first win in Malaysia in 2003 and his most recent in the United States in 2018). 

Regardless of any extension to his stay with the Silver Arrows, Hamilton will likely add to his tally of 71 triumphs for the German outfit – only Schumacher has more successes with any one team (72 with Ferrari). 

Another trip to Hungary could bring Hamilton's ninth victory there. No driver has ever reached nine wins at a single grand prix, with Schumacher having also registered eight in France.  

Toto Wolff hailed Lewis Hamilton's "surreal" record-breaking 92nd Formula One victory and joked it may now be too costly to tie him down to a new Mercedes contract.

The six-time world champion moved beyond Michael Schumacher's tally of wins with another masterful drive in Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao.

Hamilton crossed the line 25 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who he now leads by a mammoth 77 points, for his eighth triumph in 12 races this season to create more history in a remarkable career.

Mercedes team principal Wolff told Sky Sports: "Who would have have thought when we started this project in 2013... it's almost a surreal amount [of wins],

"It's his absolute passion and energy and everything he puts into the sport - and the talent and the ability. He's just standing out.

"This season he has ramped it up. It's a lot of learning, understanding the tyres and after the first couple of laps he was just sitting comfortably - then he just ramps it up even more."

Hamilton is into the final year of his Mercedes contract and has held off from holding formal talks over a new deal.

As the 35-year-old closes in on a record-equalling seventh title, Wolff admitted it will now likely take an even bigger sum to keep him in place.

"It's huge! We have to sell plenty of inventory," he said while laughing. "We'll have to sell the lease back of the buildings, just to come up with the money."

Lewis Hamilton assured he is "still very much in race mode mentally" after completing a record-breaking 92nd Formula One victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Six-time champion Hamilton moved level with Michael Schumacher at the top of the all-time wins list with his 91st success at the Eifel Grand Prix two weeks ago.

The Mercedes driver took sole ownership of first place with a commanding triumph in Portimao, converting pole position after slipping back to third inside the opening two laps.

Hamilton intends to stay with the Silver Arrows in 2021 despite having yet to sign a contract, and his latest achievement has done nothing to diminish his hunger to continue winning and improving.

"It's going to take some time for it to still fully sink in, but I was still pushing flat out coming across the line. I'm still very much in race mode, mentally," said Hamilton, who opened up a 77-point lead in the drivers' standings.

"I could only have ever dreamed of being where I am today. I didn't have a magic ball when I chose to come to this team and partner with these great people but here I am.

"What I can tell you is that we're trying to make the most of it every single day. We've all grown in the same direction and that's why you've seen the success that we're having.

"I owe it all to these guys here and back at the factory for their tremendous work. They're continuously innovating and pushing the target higher every year. It's such a privilege working with them and I'm so grateful for all the moments.

"The reliability has been absolutely incredible thanks to Mercedes and all our partners. No one is sitting back on their success, everyone is pushing and pushing. That's the most incredible thing to be surrounded by, because it inspires you. There's nothing quite like that collaboration."

Hamilton ended up finishing over 25 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas despite struggling with cramp in his calf during the final laps.

"Today was tough, it was all about temperatures and that was something I pre-empted with the set-up," he said. "They said it was going to rain straight after the race but we got some spitting at the start.

"I had a good start, then got into turn seven and had a huge oversteer moment, and you don't know what's next, so I really backed off massively and arguably I should've tried to defend from Valtteri but I was like, 'I'll come back later on.' Fortunately that's what I was able to do.

"It's an incredibly physical sport and I had a cramp in my right calf. I was lifting quite often down the straight because it would start to pull. Pretty painful, but I had to somehow get through it. It is what it is, you can't lift the whole lap."

The records continue to tumble for Lewis Hamilton after his triumph at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton registered the 92nd win of his Formula One career at Portimao, surpassing the record previously held by the legendary Michael Schumacher.

It was the 27th different grand prix the Merdeces driver has won and the 28th track at which he has tasted success, extending records he already held in both categories.

Hamilton sits top of the drivers' standings and looks destined to match Schumacher's all-time haul of seven championships.

Following his record-breaking win in Portugal, we look back at some of the Briton's greatest drives.


2007 Canadian Grand Prix 

Hamilton provided an early display of his championship mentality in a dramatic race in Montreal. He may have led throughout, but he had to navigate the safety car being deployed four times in order to clinch his maiden victory in F1. The triumph sent Hamilton eight points clear of team-mate Fernando Alonso in the standings but he was pipped to the title by Kimi Raikkonen.

STAT: Hamilton had the most consecutive podium finishes from debut in F1 history (nine) and equalled Jacques Villeneuve's record for wins in a rookie campaign (four) in a stunning first year in the series.

2008 British Grand Prix

After failing to score points at the two previous races and slipping to fourth in the standings, Hamilton bounced back emphatically with a dominant win at a wet Silverstone. Mistakes in qualifying meant he could only start from fourth, but McLaren's strategy amid changeable conditions was spot on. Hamilton won by over a minute and lapped everyone up to fourth place.

STAT: Hamilton won four straight British GPs between 2014 and 2017. Jim Clark (1962-65) is the only other F1 driver to have achieved that feat.

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

Hamilton came in for criticism for leaving McLaren and replacing Schumacher at Mercedes from the 2013 season. He got off the mark with the Silver Arrows in Hungary at a circuit that was not expected to favour his car, holding onto pole position despite not being given much of a chance of converting it into a victory. The tyres on the Mercedes held up better, with Hamilton pulling off quick passes on Jenson Button and Mark Webber following pit stops that his nearest rivals could not replicate as he stormed to glory.

STAT: Hamilton won at the Hungaroring for the eighth time in 2020, matching Schumacher's record for the most victories at a single circuit (Magny-Cours).

2018 German Grand Prix

Hamilton started 14th following a hydraulic failure in qualifying but he secured an astounding victory at Hockenheim. Sebastian Vettel looked set to extend his lead in the race for the championship until rainfall on part of the track resulted in him crashing out from first place with 25 laps to go. Hamilton pulled away after the resulting safety car period and was catapulted to the top of the standings, a position he did not relinquish en route to his fifth title.

STAT: By going from P14 to victory, Hamilton completed his win from the furthest back on the starting grid.

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

A stunning display of tyre management saw Hamilton keep the dangerous Max Verstappen at bay and seal Mercedes' sixth straight win from the start of the season. An early safety car after Charles Leclerc's crash saw Hamilton placed on the medium compound, while his rivals received hards. Despite fading grip and incessant pressure from Verstappen leading Hamilton to say over team radio he would need "a miracle" to win, he held on for a phenomenal triumph at the iconic circuit. He said afterwards: "I think it was the hardest race I've had. I've had a lot of races but globally, in the car and with the tyres, the strategy, with Max behind, it was the biggest challenge I think I've had and I'm really grateful I was able to pull it off."

STAT: Hamilton's pole in Monaco was his 59th with Mercedes and saw him surpass Schumacher's record of 58 poles with the same constructor (Ferrari).

Lewis Hamilton made history by registering a record-breaking 92nd Formula One win at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday. 

After drawing level with Michael Schumacher's mark of 91 victories at the Eifel Grand Prix last time out, Hamilton sealed a landmark triumph in Portimao to cement his status as one of the all-time greats. 

The Mercedes driver extended his championship lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas to 77 points to improve his chances of matching Schumacher's record haul of seven titles this year.

Pole-sitter Hamilton fell back to third on the second lap but was not to be denied his moment of unprecedented glory, with Bottas having to settle for second ahead of Max Verstappen. 

Light rain fell at the start of an action-packed opening lap, with Bottas regaining second from Verstappen – who then collided with Sergio Perez and slipped to fifth – before passing Hamilton through Turn Eight to take the lead. 

Carlos Sainz also overtook Hamilton on the opening lap and went past Bottas on the next, but by lap eight the Spaniard's soft tyres started to fade and he slipped back behind the Mercedes duo and Verstappen. 

The reigning champion started complaining about the state of his tyres but was soon on the back of Bottas and returned to first place with the help of DRS into Turn One at the start of lap 20. 

Hamilton was then able to establish an eight-second cushion at the front and he and Bottas switched onto the hard compound for the final third of the race. 

Having successfully navigated the early drama, Hamilton was able to cruise to the chequered flag – despite telling his team he was suffering with cramp – and add to an incredible haul of victories that will take some serious beating.
 

HAMILTON HISTORY 

Hamilton this weekend improved the F1 record he holds for the most wins and pole positions at different grands prix to 27 – he has taken part in 31. 

It was also the 32nd circuit he has competed at in the series and he now has 28 wins and 29 pole positions across those. Magny-Cours, New Delhi and Istanbul are the only places at which he has failed to start from the front of the grid, but Turkey is coming up on the calendar.

Lewis Hamilton will "slowly work out" his Formula One future, although the championship leader intends to remain at Mercedes for at least another year.

Hamilton, who is bidding in for a fourth straight title and a record-equalling seventh in total, is out of contract with the Silver Arrows at the end of the season.

The Briton has so far been reluctant to reveal his long-term thinking, but Mercedes are set to be able to rely on their star driver again in 2021.

Speaking ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix, where he can surpass Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins, Hamilton told Sky Sports: "All I can say is that I plan to be here next year."

Expanding slightly further, Hamilton said: "I don't think I'm at my peak. I'm in a good area, for sure. I still want to continue to race but I don't know how much longer it will be.

"It's definitely not going to be a long time before I stop, so this is a period of time where I've got to slowly work out what the future holds. It's bright, whatever I decide to do.

"But it also has to be aligned with the times, it has to be aligned with my values and it has to be aligned with what the team is planning to do."

Hamilton dramatically stole Portuguese pole from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who has agreed a deal with Mercedes for next year.

It was the Silver Arrows' 13th consecutive pole, their third-best ever run - behind streaks of 23 across 2014 and 2015 and 18 from 2016 to 2017.

Hamilton has now qualified fastest at 27 of the 31 different grands prix at which he has competed, with this his Portugal debut, and will aim to add to his wins at 26 events - two F1 records.

Should the 35-year-old maintain first place from start to finish on Sunday, he will become just the second driver to 5,000 leading laps in F1 history, trailing only Schumacher (5111).

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole in qualifying as he attempts to set a new Formula One record at the Portuguese Grand Prix. 

Hamilton moved level with Michael Schumacher on 91 victories in F1 at the Eifel Grand Prix last time out to consolidate his lead at the top of the championship. 

The reigning champion will take to the track in Portimao on Sunday at the front of the grid after recording a time of one minute, 16.652 seconds on his final run in qualifying. 

He pipped Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was quickest in all three practice sessions, to pole, with Max Verstappen of Red Bull in third. 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Hamilton and Bottas completed their first runs on soft tyres, with the latter taking provisional pole, yet the duo switched to the medium compound after coming back out from the garage. 

Bottas improved on his time, but Hamilton – who went back on the track earlier – capitalised on an extra flying lap to finish ahead of his team-mate and secure a ninth pole of the season. 

 Sebastian Vettel's time with Ferrari is approaching its end and the former world champion failed to reach Q3 for an eighth successive grand prix. He will start from 15th, while team-mate Charles Leclerc qualified fourth.  

THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point), 6. Alex Albon (Red Bull) 
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), 8. Lando Norris (McLaren)
9. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 10. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
11. Esteban Ocon (Renault), 12. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
13. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri), 14. George Russell (Williams) 
15. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 16. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 18. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
19. Kevin Magnussen (Haas), 20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

All eyes will be on Hamilton on Sunday, but credit must go to his team-mate Bottas, who drove brilliantly through practice and qualifying. 

If Bottas keeps it up, Hamilton will have to be at his best to hold onto first place and claim a record-breaking victory, though Mercedes may well instruct Bottas to support and protect their lead driver as he aims to make history. 

The Finn was left to rue not leaving the garage as early as Hamilton Saturday, meaning he only had one flying lap compared to two for the six-time world champion. 

Verstappen should not be discounted, and fellow Red Bull driver Albon has a point to prove over the remainder of the season if he is to secure his future with the team. 

Vettel looks down and out as a Ferrari driver and acknowledged after qualifying that Leclerc was in "another league", while Daniel Ricciardo endured a frustrating session with Renault unable to apply sufficient repairs in time for him to get back on the track after a spin in Q2. 

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): "I didn't know whether or not I was going to get a lap that would be able to compete with his [Bottas'] – I was always off a tenth or half a tenth or whatever it is – but the decision I took at the end was what created the opportunity. The idea of having an extra lap, an extra chance, an extra stab at getting pole looked good to me so I chose to go that extra lap and I think Valtteri chose the one, but he still did a great job and it was very, very tough and I had to dig very deep." 

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "Obviously the benefit going of going for one, you can fuel for just one timed; if you do two laps you have to fuel for two laps, which is more weight, so based on what I felt in Q2 – and it was a good feeling with the tyres on a single lap – I went for it again in Q3. Ultimately it was the wrong decision but I think maybe the track temp – I don't know – dropped slightly or I just couldn't get the tyres to feel quite the same as they felt in Q2. At the end of that lap I was just hoping I could have one more lap but obviously didn't have the fuel. Wrong call from my side and it is annoying for sure, but Lewis did a good job at the end."

Max Verstappen (3rd): "For me [it was] not personally enjoyable to drive at the moment, with the tyres and grip on the track, because, I mean, I was here in January and I thought it was going to be amazing to drive a Formula One car. I mean, the scenery, everything is perfect but the grip we have… For me personally, you can't really push, you're just driving on ice. It's a bit of a shame."

Daniel Ricciardo (10th): "The team got very close to getting me back out on track for Q3. One more minute and we were on track. It's a shame, I could see them working hard in the mirrors, trying to make it work for me, so it was a bit of a let-down for them, but we'll make it happen tomorrow and move up." 

Sebastian Vettel (15th): "At the moment [Charles] is beyond me. It's not just beating, it's like another league. I try everything I can. I think the laps I make, which I am content with, are still too slow. At the moment there is nothing more I can do than just getting everything out of myself and the car."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 230
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 161
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 147
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 78
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 68

Constructors
1. Mercedes – 391
2. Red Bull – 211
3. Racing Point – 120
4. McLaren – 116
5. Renault – 114

Valtteri Bottas was left ruing his qualifying strategy after Lewis Hamilton pipped him to pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix. 

Both Mercedes drivers switched to medium tyres for the final runs in Q3 on Saturday but Hamilton left the garage first, giving himself time for two flying laps. 

Bottas opted to only go for one shot and initially took provisional pole from Hamilton, who pipped him on his second run. 

"We decided to go for medium because of the previous feeling in qualifying, it felt a tiny bit quicker than the softs," Bottas, who was quickest in all three practice sessions, explained. 

"Then it was choosing if we do two timed laps or one timed lap. I went for that, it was my decision because it worked in Q2. But apparently it seems like doing two timed laps like Lewis was better. 

"It was a decent lap, not perfect. It's been tricky here to get really clean laps this weekend because of the way the track is. The lap was good. Ultimately I should have gone for two timed [laps] as well." 

Hamilton will start from the front of the grid for the ninth time this season and the 97th time in his career, giving himself a great chance of securing a record-breaking 92nd win in Portimao. 

"It's amazing. I can't tell you how hard that was today. Yes, we've got a great car but you have to drive the nuts off of it to pull out a lap," said Hamilton. 

"Valtteri's been so quick this weekend, he's topped every session. So I've just been digging and digging and digging to find that extra time.  

"At the end, I chose to do three laps to give me a chance at beating his time and I think [Bottas] decided to do one, so I was like, 'Okay, this could provide me with an opportunity.' And it worked. That last lap, it got better and better as I went through it. 

"The team communicate really well and gave both of us the option to either go on to the soft or the medium, we both chose to go medium, he chose one lap, I chose to do three. I got out there nice and early." 

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will start from third on the soft compound, while both Mercedes drivers will be on mediums. 

"The tarmac is quite difficult to bring the tyres in, so it's a bit hit and miss. I'm happy though," said Verstappen. 

"I think the lap in Q3 was pretty decent, it's very difficult to get the front tyres and the rear tyres to match but again, P3 is not too far behind and of course a lot to play for tomorrow and hopefully we can stay close. 

"Turn one is not really a place to dive. I think the start will be important but even then, we don't really have enough information about how the tyres are going to hold up, so we'll just feel our way into the race and see what's going to happen." 

Lewis Hamilton will begin from pole position when he attempts to set a new Formula One wins record at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday.  

Championship leader Hamilton moved level with Michael Schumacher on 91 victories in F1 at the Eifel Grand Prix last time out - and he boosted his chances of making history in Portimao by securing his place at the front of the grid.  

The Mercedes driver capitalised on having an extra flying lap in Q3 as he pipped team-mate Valtteri Bottas by recording a time of one minute, 16.652 seconds on his final run.  

Bottas was quickest in all three practice sessions but will start from second after going one tenth slower, while Max Verstappen guided his Red Bull to third.

While Verstappen will start the race on the soft tyres, the Mercedes duo will be on the medium compound at lights out.  

Bottas was on provisional pole after the Mercedes duo completed their first runs on softs, but when they came back out from the garage they switched to mediums as the wind picked up.  

The Finn improved on his time with his only flying lap to displace Hamilton but the Briton, who went back out on track earlier, was not to be denied and eked out his ninth pole of the season and 97th of his career.  

Sebastian Vettel failed to reach Q3 for the eighth straight race and will begin proceedings from 15th, behind the Williams of George Russell.  

However, Charles Leclerc steered his Ferrari into the final session on medium tyres and will start from fourth.  

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to set a time in Q3 with Renault unable to apply sufficient repairs in time for him to get back on track after a late spin in Q2.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION   

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:16.652 
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.102s 
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.252s 
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.438s 
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) +0.571s 
6. Alex Albon (Red Bull) +0.785s 
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +0.868s 
8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.873s 
9. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1.151s 
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) no time 

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