The twelfth round of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship will take place in a new venue for the World Championship, the Algarve International Circuit at Portugal. The Portuguese Grand Prix returns to the F1 calendar for the first time since 1996 when the event took place at the Estoril Circuit.
Again a new track in the calendar, the Algarve Circuit might present some interesting challenges for the teams and the drivers. The track offers various types of corners, but most are high-to-medium speed turns, similar to the Nurburgring last time out.
Mercedes and Red Bull should be in front again, and there could be a fight for the win between them since the Austrian team is still trying to unlock the potential of their upgrades and Mercedes has admittedly stopped developing their W11.
Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of establishing a new all-time win record in Formula 1 since he tied Michael Schumacher’s tally of 91 in Germany in the previous race. If Hamilton does take home his 92nd victory trophy, it will be the second time such a feat happens ar Portugal, as Alain Prost took his then record-breaking 28th Grand Prix win back in 1987 at Estoril (surpassing Jackie Stewart’s tally of 27 wins).
Outside of Hamilton, his teammate Valtteri Bottas and the one-man Red Bull (led by Max Verstappen), we might again see Renault close to a podium, with Daniel Ricciardo looking to maintain his fantastic level for the French team since the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
Racing Point and McLaren should be close to Renault and hoping to beat the French team and keep them behind in their fight for P3 in the World Constructors’ Championship. Sergio Pérez has finished fourth in the last two races and in the top five in the last three events for Racing Point and will be eager to reach the podium for the first time this year. Also, the returning Lance Stroll desperately needs a strong result to continue fighting for P4 in the WDC.
Ferrari took a slight step ahead on Saturday at the Nurburgring, but their race was lacklustre. Still, the team is hoping to be in the top six in qualifying in the remaining races, according to the Head of Performance Development Enrico Cardile. Charles Leclerc managed to qualify on P4 for the Eifel GP and with upgrades coming up for Portimao, the Italian side might improve their form.
AlphaTauri scored points in the last eight races in a row (twice with both cars), including a victory and they might continue that streak, given Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly’s form and Daniil Kvyat’s streak of scoring points in three of the last four events. For Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams, they will need a tricky event and some retirements in front of them to try and compete for points, which Alfa Romeo and Haas managed to do with success at Germany two weeks ago.
2020 Portuguese GP Facts & Figures
The race was celebrated in 1959 and 1960, with Moss and Jack Brabham winning both races with a Cooper-Climax car, at Monsanto and Boavista, respectively. The race was dropped from the calendar until 1984 when the Estoril Circuit came into the World Championship, and Alain Prost won for McLaren-TAG, in the same day Niki Lauda sealed his third Formula 1 title.
In 1985, Ayrton Senna took his maiden Formula 1 win at Portugal with a masterclass on the rain. Mansell won in 1986 for Williams-Honda and Prost broke Jackie Stewart’s all-time win record with his 28th victory in 1987, while he beat Ayrton Senna in 1988, passing the Brazilian after Senna defended his position a little over the limit.
The 1989 race saw a disqualified Nigel Mansell crashing into race-leader Senna and causing him to retire from the race, which would be costly for Senna’s title chances in 1989. Mansell beat Senna in 1990 for the win after a thrilling fight between the Ferraris and the McLarens.
Riccardo Patrese won for Williams in 1991, while Mansell did it in 1992, in a race in which Patrese suffered a horrendous accident which luckily caused no injuries. The 1993 event saw Michael Schumacher win his second Grand Prix, while Prost secured his fourth Formula 1 World Championship with second place.
Williams dominated from 1994 to 1996, with three different drivers. Damon Hill won in 1994, then David Coulthard took his maiden F1 win in 1995, and Jacques Villeneuve took his record-breaking fourth win in his rookie season in 1996.
The leaders in victories among drivers are Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell. They won three times each at the track. Among teams, Ferrari has taken seven wins in Portuguese soil, but only two of those came under the umbrella of the World Championship. Williams leads the ranking in terms of wins for teams, with six victories at Portugal in races that were part of the World Championship.
Algarve International Circuit
The Portimao track is a 4.692-km circuit with 15 corners with exciting elevation changes and a final corner which should offer greatly aesthetic images of this era of Formula 1 cars, especially during qualifying.
The track will host its first Formula 1 race (and also its first MotoGP race in November). In 2009, the track hosted a Formula 1 test, with Lewis Hamilton taking part of it. Other drivers with F1 experience at the track are George Russell, Lando Norris, and Nicholas Latifi.
This will be the fourth different Portuguese track to host a Grand Prix, after Boavista, Monsanto and Estoril. Algarve will be the 73rd different track to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix and the second one in 2020 which had not hosted a race before, after Mugello.
2020 Portuguese Grand Prix - Tyres
The dry tyres for the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix will be the C1 as P Zero White hard, C2 as P Zero Yellow Medium, and C3 as P Zero Red soft. This combination has been used three times before in the 2020 season and is Pirelli’s hardest choice.
Pirelli explained their choice with a statement in a press release: “This selection has been made in order to cope with the heavy demands of the undulating circuit. Although it’s a modern track, it has an old school feel. Nobody knows exactly what to expect in Portimao for Formula 1, but Pirelli has some previous experience of the track in GT racing. Nonetheless, a conservative choice has been made by nominating the hardest tyres in the range – in order to cover every eventuality.”
For the first time this year, the tyre allocation will be different. Pirelli will give each driver seven sets of soft tyres, three sets of medium tyres, and three sets of hard tyres.
Also, during the first 30 minutes of FP2, drivers will test a prototype of the tyres for next year.
2020 Portuguese Grand Prix - Weather Forecast
Friday, Oct 23rd - FP1 & FP2
Conditions: Mostly sunny and pleasant
Max. temperature: 20°C
Chance of rain: 3%
Sunday, Oct 25th - Race
Conditions: Mostly cloudy, showers around
Max. temperature: 20°C
Chance of rain: 62%
Who will be on the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix Podium?
We are coming off of predicting the exact podium for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, but we might not be so lucky this weekend.
Still, with 10 of the 21 drivers and seven out of the 10 teams with at least one podium this year, there are many good chances to see a mixed podium on Sunday, if the circumstances can help the teams in the middle of the pecking order. Mercedes and Red Bull will probably have two of the top three places again, but 62% chance of rain for Sunday might produce some changes.
Hamilton has F1 experience at Portimao, but the test happened 11 years ago, so he is practically in the same boat as the rest, though Norris, Russell and Latifi tested F1 cars at the track in 2017.
Red Bull will probably remain close to Mercedes for this weekend, with the track having a similar feel to the Nurburgring, where Verstappen finished second with Fastest Lap. Renault, Racing Point, and McLaren will probably continue their fight for the remainder of the season, while the one-man Ferrari showed last race that they can compete against those teams, at least on Saturday.
The prediction of the top bookmakers in the UK for the top three of the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix is: 1. Lewis Hamilton, 2. Max Verstappen, 3. Valtteri Bottas.
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