Lewis Hamilton beats teammate Valtteri Bottas for Portugal pole position with final lap

Lewis Hamilton Portugal pole
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PORTIMAO, Portugal  — On his final lap of the Lewis Hamilton edged Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to take pole position Saturday for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Having secured a record-extending 97th career pole, Hamilton can make Formula One history if he wins Sunday’s race with a 92nd win to move one clear of Michael Schumacher.

The runaway championship leader’s victory two weeks ago at the Eifel GP in Germany tied Schumacher’s F1 record of 91, in a season where he is odds-on to equal the German great’s record seven F1 titles.

Bottas, who had topped the previous three practice sessions, had the leading time after his lone qualifying lap, but Hamilton did three laps in Q3 and squeezed through on his last attempt to beat him by 0.1 seconds.

“It’s amazing. I can’t tell you how hard that was today,” Hamilton said. “Valtteri has been so quick this weekend, he’s topped every session, so I’ve just been digging and trying to find that extra time. That last lap got better and better as I went through.”

Mercedes has taken all 12 poles this season with Hamilton up 9-3. Bottas seemed close to getting another until a small mistake toward the end of his lap.

“Mine was a decent lap, not perfect and it has been tricky to get really clear laps,” Bottas said. “I will do what I can from (second place).”

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was 0.25 seconds back in third place and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualified in fourth.

Former F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen was among the five drivers eliminated from Q1, the first part of qualifying, and four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel was slowest in Q2 and starts from 15th.

Right at the end of Q2, Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault and went off into the gravel. With this rear wing damaged, the Australian driver was unable to take part in Q3 and starts 10th. Hamilton topped Q1 ahead of Verstappen, while Bottas led Q2 from Hamilton.

Earlier, Bottas topped the third and final practice session. After leading Friday’s two practices, he was .03 seconds quicker than Hamilton and .16 ahead of Verstappen.

Hamilton damaged the front wing after sliding off into gravel on a track hosting its first F1 race that has caused numerous drivers problems because of its lack of grip. Leclerc again spun his car, as he had done on Friday.

Near the end of the session, a confused Leclerc asked his team over radio what was happening with his own, because he could hear Hamilton’s radio messages. Leclerc was sixth fastest.

Meanwhile, Williams driver George Russell escaped with just a warning after going through a red light at the end of the pit lane.

There were mask-wearing fans sat in the stands around the undulating 4.6-kilometer (3-mile) circuit in Portimao, which has frequent elevation changes. It is the second new track on the coronavirus-hit calendar after the Tuscan GP in Mugello last month.

“The track is hardcore, there are places you can’t see where you are going. It really is one of the hardest circuits I’ve been too,” Hamilton said. “The surface is strange. This is a very smooth surface and doesn’t work the tires the same as, say, Barcelona.”

With one minute left, the session was stopped because of a drain cover that came loose when Vettel drove over it on Turn 14. It delayed the start of qualifying by 30 minutes while repairs were carried out.

Portugal last hosted a race in 1996, when three F1 champions made the podium after Jacques Villeneuve won ahead of Damon Hill and Schumacher in Estoril.

Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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