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Unsung heroes from the Portuguese Grand Prix

Unsung heroes from the Portuguese Grand Prix


Unsung heroes from the Portuguese Grand Prix

Unsung heroes from the Portuguese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton earned a record-breaking 92nd grand prix victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix via another dominant performance to lead home team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The debut race at the Algarve International Circuit served up a chaotic event at times, with surprise and intrigue scattered as regularly as the odd sprinkle of rain in Portimão.

But we are not looking at Hamilton, Mercedes, or indeed Red Bull's brilliance here. We are exploring the drives you may have missed.

As an aside, Sergio Perez is not included as he was awarded driver of the day and is therefore not unsung, so let's take a look at four of the Portuguese GP's other heroes.

Kimi Raikkonen

There is life in the old dog yet. Raikkonen rolled back the years with an outstanding performance spanning all 66 laps.

Of course, his spectacular start has been well documented, rising 10 places to sixth and even challenging Max Verstappen for fifth on lap two. Such was his pace, he was heard over the radio to declare "What are the others doing?"

His afternoon did not stop there though. There was a gargantuan tussle with Carlos Sainz - one the Finn looked destined to lose - that only lasted as long as it did because of Raikkonen's exquisite race craft, exemplified by a switchback move at turn five to retake the position.

Eventually, Raikkonen finished agonisingly short of a point but nothing can take away from his performance in the trickiest of conditions.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Continuing with Alfa Romeo, Giovinazzi may not have had a spectacular race in terms of pace and final positioning, granted.

But what if you were told he had no radio communication throughout the race. In an age when the drivers and teams are almost constantly chatting to each other, concerning themselves with data, sensor readings, tyre life and strategy, it is almost inconceivable as to how he was able to finish.

It may sound dramatic, but when thinking about how much management these complex machines need in order to preserve the different components - whether it be power unit, gearbox et al - it really is remarkable the Italian pulled through.

Oh, he finished ahead of both Haas cars, Nicholas Latifi and Daniil Kvyat. Not a bad day's work given the fairly major issue he had to contend with.

Carlos Sainz

Much like with Raikkonen, Sainz's first few laps are fairly obvious reasons as to why he should make this list.

But actually, despite taking an early lead, the McLaren was not that strong pace-wise. In fact, both of the team's drivers plummeted down the top 10 through the race.

Yet, somehow, Sainz found something in his MCL35 that allowed him to claw his way back up the order, showing good pace and racecraft to eventually get past Raikkonen.

A late move on Perez was enough for sixth in a race when at one stage, by comparing lap times mid-race at least, McLaren may have gone pointless.

Esteban Ocon

Ocon has suffered some criticism on his return to F1, unwarranted it may seem.

In fairness, Daniel Ricciardo has largely outperformed the Frenchman this season, although he would do the same to many a driver. However, the race at Portimão will hopefully as a catalyst for Ocon to push on for the remainder of the year.

An unbelievable first stint on the medium tyres allowed him to pit with just 12 laps remaining and producing one of the most outrageous overcuts of the Pirelli era in the sport.

In fact, Ocon finished ahead of Ricciardo, jumping from a comfortable 12th early on in the race to eighth, just over a second behind Perez.

Before you go...

Coulthard baffled why Hamilton has yet to receive a knighthood

'Perez camp fuelling Williams rumours to pressure Red Bull' - Russell


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