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F1 | Portuguese GP | Verstappen takes 40th podium in Portugal

Max Verstappen took the third place, his ninth podium finish of the season and his 40th in Formula 1 at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

( palabras)
F1 | Portuguese GP | Verstappen takes 40th podium in Portugal
Fuente imagen: Twitter.com

Starting P3, Max made a good getaway from the clean side of the track and tussled for P2 with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas into turn one. The Finn forced the Red Bull man wide however and as he recovered Max was attacked by Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.

There was brief contact between the two and Sergio was pitched off the track. Max was able to carry on but he was quickly passed by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz. 

Max made his first stop for new tyres at the end of lap 19 and his switch to mediums saw him rejoin in P6, behind Sainz, who had yet to pit. The Spaniard eventually steered towards the pit lane at the end of lap 26 and Max rose to P5 behind the impressive AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly who had climbed to P4 in the first third of the race.

As the race hit the halfway mark, both Mercedes drivers pitted for hard tyres. Max began to edge closer to Bottas and on lap 47 the Dutchman was just 7.2 seconds behind the Finn. Bottas responded, however and over the following laps he again eked out a solid gap to Max.

The race at the front then settled as the Mercedes pair raced towards a one-two finish. Max dug in for a steady march to P3, protecting his ageing medium tyres with Leclerc, on hard tyres, 18 seconds behind.

"Overall I’m happy with third and I think it’s where we expected to be. I tried everything I could and the beginning was of course not so easy with a little bit of rain and low grip, which meant the tyre temperatures were very low for the first few laps," the driver said.

"I had a little touch with Sergio but luckily I had no damage and then it started raining a little bit so I just tried to keep the car on the track and stay out of trouble.

"I don’t know how but the McLarens had a lot of grip on the opening lap so once the rain had passed I overtook them to get back into P3 and then focused on my own race," Max added.

"For some reason the soft tyre wasn’t working so well today but once we pitted and went onto the medium tyres we had good pace and it was quite ok.

"Of course by then already the gap to Mercedes was so big so we couldn’t really do anything but we can still be happy with another podium. I am not sure what the time of the pit stop was but it felt very fast today, so I think the mechanics all deserve a beer tonight for being the best in the paddock."

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