The reigning F1 world champion has recovered from a tricky opening practice session to climb to the top of FP2 on the Algarve International Circuit, with the Mercedes driver setting a best lap time of 1.19m .837s, just 0.143s faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Both pilots were unhappy with the condition of the slippery tarmac, which Verstappen said was “not very pleasant to drive”.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas, who led Friday’s morning session at the Portimao track, was dropped to third but kept Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. sidelined.
The opening day in Portugal was encouraging for Alpine, as Fernando Alonso took fifth place at the end of FP2 slightly ahead of his teammate Esteban Ocon in sixth, as the duo beat Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari.
Daniel Ricciardo also had a positive Friday for McLaren after a difficult start to the season adjusting to his new team, with the Australian driver eighth fastest in the second practice session, while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.
Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin suffered the biggest off-track incidents during practice on Friday, with the Williams driver crossing the gravel at the exit of Turn 8, while the Haas driver locked himself in and also fled at Turn 8 .
Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
What time do qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix start?
Qualifying for the Portuguese GP begins at 3 p.m. local time (3 p.m. BST), using the Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout session format.
- Date: Saturday May 1, 2021
- Start time: 3:00 p.m. local time – 3:00 p.m. BST
How can I watch the qualifiers?
In the UK, all F1 practice, qualifying and races are broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, with qualifying coverage starting at 2 p.m. BST.
UKTN will broadcast live text coverage of qualifying here.
When can I watch the highlights?
In the UK, Channel 4 is showing highlights from qualifying for the Portuguese GP at 6.30pm BST on Saturday. The full program will run for 90 minutes, covering both qualifying and the main talking points of the race weekend so far.
Throughout the 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights from each qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event. Highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on-demand catch-up services.
- Channel: channel 4
- Start time: 6.30 p.m. BST
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Will it be on the radio?
Live radio coverage of every training, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on UKTN Radio 5 Live, UKTN 5 Live Sports Extra or via the UKTN Sport website.
Coverage of the Portuguese GP qualifying will begin at 2:55 p.m. BST on UKTN 5 Live Sports Extra.
Why is F1 racing in Portugal?
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt the regular motorsport schedule, the start of the 2021 F1 season has been reshaped after the Australian GP postponed to November and the Chinese GP canceled for this year.
As a result, and just like last season, the Portimao track has been selected as a late replacement to fill the calendar void and will host the Portuguese GP.
At the time of writing, F1’s 2021 schedule is reverting to a largely familiar schedule in May with the Spanish GP and Monaco GP, but another schedule adjustment has been confirmed for June as the series ends. heading to Turkey after the cancellation of the Canadian GP.
What is the weather forecast for qualifying in Imola?
Sunny conditions are forecast for Saturday afternoon in Portimao, but it is expected to remain dry throughout. Temperatures are expected to be 18 degrees Celsius at the start of qualifying – around four degrees warmer than qualifying for the Emilia Romagna GP.