Bottas records his seventeenth pole position, Vettel reaches Q3 for the first time in fifteen races and Russell records Williams’ best qualifying result in almost three years. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix!
BOTTAS ON POLE
Valtteri Bottas became the third different polesitter of the 2021 season at the Portuguese Grand Prix. The Finn recorded his seventeenth career pole; his first since the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
With his seventeenth pole position, Bottas equalled Jackie Stewart’s total of poles. Rene Arnoux is now the only non World Champion with more poles than the Finn, Bottas having overtaken both Stirling Moss and Felipe Massa’s tallies this weekend.
Bottas recorded Mercedes’ 128th pole position, which means the team equals Williams for the third most poles in Formula 1 history. Williams took their 128th and latest pole position at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.
The pole margin at the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix was just 0.007 seconds – the 19th-equal closest qualifying session in F1 history. Lewis Hamilton also took pole position by 0.007 seconds at the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix. It was the closest pole margin since the 2019 British Grand Prix, when Bottas was fastest by only 0.006 seconds.
Bottas’ pole margin was the smallest ever seen in Portugal, beating Damon Hill’s previous record. Hill took pole for the 1996 Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril by 0.009 seconds. This was the sixth time pole has been decided by less than a tenth of a second in the country.
IN THE TOP TEN
Max Verstappen qualified in third place, recording his twelfth successive top three qualifying result. Verstappen also qualified third at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly, who qualified ninth, is the only other driver to record the same qualifying result as last year in Portugal.
Carlos Sainz out-qualified Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc for the first time. Sainz qualified in fifth, recording his fifth top five qualifying result in Formula 1. It’s the first time Sainz has qualified in the top five since the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix.
Lando Norris out-qualified his team-mate for the first time in 2021. Norris has qualified seventh at every race so far this season.
Sebastian Vettel reached Q3 for the first time since the 2020 British Grand Prix. It’s the first time he has qualified in the top ten with Aston Martin. Vettel qualified in tenth: the same position as he qualified the last time he was in Q3.
An Aston Martin driver has qualified tenth at all three races so far in 2021. The team have had at least one car in Q3 at all but one of the last eighteen races.
After three races this year, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly are the only drivers to qualify in the top ten at every round.
OUT IN Q2
George Russell qualified in eleventh place at the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, recording his best ever qualifying result in a Williams car. The Brit missed out on a place in the final part of qualifying by just 0.057 seconds.
Russell’s eleventh place in qualifying was Williams’ best Saturday result since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, when Lance Stroll qualified in tenth.
Russell is one of four drivers to out-qualify their team-mate at both races held so far at Algarve International Circuit. The other drivers to do so are Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly.
Alfa Romeo recorded a double Q2 exit for the second time in 2021, having also done so at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Antonio Giovinazzi out-qualified Kimi Raikkonen for the fifth time in the last six races. With twelfth place, the Italian recorded his best qualifying result since reaching Q3 at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.
OUT IN Q1
Daniel Ricciardo was the surprise elimination in Q1, recording McLaren’s first Q1 exit since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was Ricciardo’s first Q1 exit since the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.
With Ricciardo exiting in Q1, Mercedes are now the only team to have reached Q3 with both cars at every race weekend in 2021.
Lance Stroll qualified in seventeenth place, recording his first Q1 exit since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. The Canadian also qualified seventeenth the last time he was out in Q1. This was Aston Martin’s second Q1 elimination of the season. The team recorded only two Q1 exits in total in 2020.
This was the first time Stroll failed to reach Q3 since the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll, both out in Q1, are the only two drivers who were out-qualified by their team-mate at both the 2020 and 2021 Portuguese Grands Prix.
For the second time this year, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin set the two slowest times in qualifying. This was Haas’ ninth double Q1 elimination in a row.
Schumacher is one of only three drivers to out-qualify their team-mate at every race so far in 2021. The other drivers to do so are Pierre Gasly and George Russell. Only Schumacher and Gasly have set faster sector times than their team-mates in all nine qualifying sectors so far this year.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.