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Five things to expect from the Portuguese Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Portuguese Grand Prix

F1 News

Five things to expect from the Portuguese Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Portuguese Grand Prix

Two enthralling, action-packed races down and just the 21 more to run. F1 has been incredible in 2021.

There are no signs of the excitement slowing down as F1 returns to Portugal after a successful stand-in event last year which threw up action aplenty.

With Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen locked tightly in what already seems to be a two-horse battle for the title, what can we expect from the Portuguese Grand Prix?

Mercedes v Red Bull - Bottas and Perez to strike back

Whether it be through poor performance or bad luck, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez are both already some way adrift of their respective team-mates after the opening two rounds of the championship.

Whilst Hamilton and Verstappen have traded punches at the top by both finishing first and second in each of the first two races, Bottas and Perez are languishing 28 and 33 points behind.

A poor pitstop may have been to blame for Bottas' Bahrain failings but at Imola, the Finn suffered from tyre warm-up issues which resulted in a lack of pace and the now infamous collision with George Russell.

Perez, on the other hand, fought back from mechanical problems in the season-opener but endured an error-strewn race last time out after qualifying second.

Despite still being in the very early stages of the campaign, a strong performance for both drivers is imperative if a championship challenge is on the agenda. Can Portimão provide the solace both desperately need?

McLaren could be in fight for the lead

Cast your mind back to last October and Carlos Sainz taking the lead of the Portuguese Grand Prix in the papaya McLaren as the soft tyres generated heat quicker on the asphalt.

Lando Norris has shown blistering pace so far this season with a remarkable drive to third at Imola just reward for the MCL35M's performance given the British driver lost second on the grid through a track limit violation in qualifying.

With Norris' form electric and Daniel Ricciardo still to show his best with the Woking-based team, there is a case to suggest a McLaren leading at some point this weekend even with the dominance of Red Bull and Mercedes so far.

Will it last? Probably not, but the gaps separating teams in the opening two races certainly indicate McLaren is not far away.

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