Hamilton and Mercedes well placed to thrive on Portimão's slopes

Algarve track offers a stunning setting for F1’s return to Portugal and one on which Mercedes drivers look the likeliest winnersThe Portuguese Grand Prix, returning to the calendar after a 24-year absence, is revelling in its day in the sun. This Covid-enforced one-off race has been set on a magnificent stage; the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, nestling in the hills north of Portimão, presents a singular challenge, a test of finesse and old-school judgment that has been embraced by the drivers.Portugal has hosted many a classic race: Niki Lauda’s title win in 1984, perhaps Ayrton Senna’s greatest performance in the wet in 1985, and Jacques Villeneuve passing Michael Schumacher the last time F1 was here in 1996 among them, but all were at Estoril. When finance dictated where F1 visited, Portimão, as the circuit is colloquially known, was never in the running but when coronavirus left the calendar in tatters and simply racing became imperative, Portugal in October made a lot of sense. Continue reading...

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