The Portuguese Grand Prix 2020 (officially known as the Heineken Grande Prémio de Portugal 2020 Formula 1) is a Formula One motor race planned to take place at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão, Portugal, on 25 October 2020.
It will be the first Portuguese Grand Prix held at the International Circuit of the Algarve since 1996 and for the first time. The twelfth round of the 2020 Formula One World Championship is planned for this race.
IMPACT OF COVID ON FORMULA 1
The 2020 Formula One World Championship opening rounds were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. After the aborted opening round in Australia, several Grands Prix has been canceled or postponed, prompting the FIA to draft a new calendar.
It was not expected that the Portuguese Grand Prix would appear on the 2020 calendar, but the FIA reworked the calendar during the summer break in order to maximize the number of races in the season.
Thus, for the 2020 calendar, the Portuguese Grand Prix has been confirmed. The race was initially expected to be attended by up to 45,000 fans. The number of fans allowed to participate in the race was subsequently reduced to 27,500 due to the surge of cases attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
DETAIL OF THE RACE
With no additional stand-in drivers for either the race or practice, the drivers and teams were the same as those on the season entry list. For teams to use in the race, Pirelli brought their C1, C2, and C3 compound tyres. The 2021 tyre compounds were also tested by Pirelli during the first 30 minutes of the second session of practice.
FREE PRACTICE 1, 2, 3
With Valtteri Bottas fastest ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, the first practice session ran without incidents and ended. Two red flags were seen in the second practice session; the first when AlphaTauri by Pierre Gasly caught fire, the second when Lance Stroll and Verstappen collided.
The session ended with the fastest Bottas, ahead of Verstappen and Lando Norris of McLaren. The race stewards investigated the collision between Stroll-Verstappen and took no action.
After Sebastian Vettel ran over a drain cover, the third practice session was red-flagged in the final minute of the session. Which came loose afterward. With Bottas fastest ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen, the session ended.
To allow track repairs to be completed, the start of qualifying was delayed. After a drain cover came loose at the end of the final practice session, the repairs were considered necessary.
For all three practice sessions ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets, but Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position away from the Finn with his very last run of the day when it came to the crunch in qualifying.
The reigning World Champion had not been able to match his teammate all weekend, and Bottas had set the early pace in Q3 just to see Hamilton pip him to the pole by only 0.102s at the very end of the session.
It’s Hamilton’s 97th pole position and gives him the best chance of winning the all-time Formula 1 record with his 92nd Portimao circuit victory on Sunday afternoon.