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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Portuguese Grand Prix 2021: What time does the race start, on which TV channel and what are the odds?

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What TV channel is it on?

Sky Sports F1 has near-exclusive live coverage rights in the UK this year and even for the next ones with their usual excellent squad. Their qualifying coverage starts at 2 p.m. BST on Saturday and their race coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Channel 4 presents this year’s highlights with their equally excellent team. Their qualifying program starts at 6.30 p.m. BST on Saturday and their race highlights are at 7.30 p.m. on Sunday.

You can also keep up to date throughout practice, qualifying and the race here at Telegraph Sport.

What do we know about the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve?

  • Circuit length: 4,653 km
  • First grand prize: 2020
  • Tours: 66
  • Race distance: 306.826km
  • Race lap record: 1: 18,750 (Lewis Hamilton, 2020)
  • Number of corners: 15
  • Exceed the odds: The slippery surface helped create an exciting opening lap in last year’s race, but will it be the same in 2021? Carlos Sainz’s McLaren crossed the field in the first two laps to lead the field. The lack of grip track meant overtaking was possible just about anywhere, the most obvious being with the DRS in the pit straight and into the first corner. A few other spots are there as well, and it’s a pretty well-designed track for overtaking, even with these modern F1 cars.
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What is our prediction? Who will have the advantage in Portugal?

Did we really learn anything about the strengths of 2021 Mercedes and Red Bull cars at Imola last time around? I am not sure. We certainly learned a lot about their drivers, but was it easy to tell which car had the advantage overall? It was probably just Red Bull, with Hamilton making the overall gap between the RB16B and W12 smaller than it actually is.

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The track in Portugal is a different proposition. Red Bull still look like the best team in qualifying – Pérez and Verstappen’s mistakes likely contributed to Hamilton’s pole at Imola – so that’s where Mercedes’ concern should be, especially with McLaren who enters the mix at his pace of one lap. Maybe Ferrari won’t be that far either.

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As the top two teams – and Verstappen and Hamilton – seem to be so close, it’s hard to call, but overall Red Bull (or rather Verstappen) should be pretty much marginal favorites. The end result could be summed up in the performance of the second drivers on each team. Bottas and Pérez both had terrible weekends at Imola and if they are to help both the front-runners and their squad, they need to be at the forefront of the action. It will be an important weekend for both men.

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It will also be interesting to see which power unit has the most growls in the long pit straight.

Podium prediction: 1st Verstappen 2nd Hamilton 3rd Ricciardo

What are the latest odds?

  • Max Verstappen 11/8
  • Lewis hamilton 5/4
  • Sergio Perez 8/1
  • Valtteri Bottas 17/2
  • Lando norris 33 /1
  • Charles Leclerc 33/1

Read more: Our editors’ predictions for the 2021 F1 season, from driver’s title to breakthrough stars

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