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Hamilton expecting Portuguese qualifying "dogfight"

Hamilton expecting Portuguese qualifying "dogfight"

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Hamilton expecting Portuguese qualifying "dogfight"

Hamilton expecting Portuguese qualifying "dogfight"

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is expecting qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix to be a "dogfight" as drivers try and create space for flying laps.

Formula 1's first official sessions in Portimao caused chaos as drivers struggled for grip through the allocated three hours, while Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll collided whilst fighting for track position.

Hamilton, who finished second practice in eighth, believes the struggles will continue throughout the weekend, explaining space on track was "not easy to get".

He added: "It is really difficult to get the tyres in the window here, even with the soft. Naturally, they are hard tyres, this is the hardest range of tyres. On a circuit like this, it is to be expected.

"I think Q1, particularly, there will be a lot of cars out there and it will be a dogfight to get position to get a clear lap. That is what we do. Everyone is in the same boat."

It was not an easy day for the British driver, who saw his run plans disrupted by track limit violations and red flags as team-mate Valtteri Bottas stormed to the top of the timesheets in both sessions.

Hamilton revealed the car took a step back between first and second practice and conceded the circuit was difficult to get to grips with.

"It is a difficult circuit," he said. "Massively challenging, the undulations are incredible and a lot of places you can't see where you are going.

"The exit of turn eight, you are looking at the sky for a period of time and you have no idea what is beyond the hill.

"Also, into 11, you come in and don't know where you are and all of a sudden it arrives on you out of nowhere. Really challenging and the surface is very smooth, you see a lot of people sliding and spinning. It has not been an easy day.

"P1 was probably the better session for me, even though the car didn't feel that great, and then we made some changes into this one and it felt pretty terrible in P2.

"So I need to take a few steps back to figure out where I went wrong in the set-up and see if we can improve for tomorrow."

Before you go...

Ricciardo and Renault under investigation for tyre breach

Stroll and Verstappen exonerated by stewards for "misunderstanding" over practice crash

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