Lewis Hamilton wins Portugal, beating Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas to extend lead

F1 Portimao Hamilton victory
Gabriel Bouys - Pool/Getty Images

PORTIMAO, Portugal — Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton made two typically clinical overtakes to bounce back and win the Portuguese Grand Prix for a 97th career victory Sunday, extending his championship lead over Max Verstappen to eight points in his bid for a record eighth F1 title.

At one point Hamilton slipped to third, but the Mercedes driver slickly moved ahead on Lap 20 of 66 to finish ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

“That was such a tough race, physically and mentally, keeping everything together,” Hamilton said. “Right on my limit. Great race.”

The British driver started from second on the grid behind Bottas, who took a bonus point for the fastest lap. Verstappen thought he set the fastest time — on his final lap — but it was deleted because he went wide of track limits in Turn 14.

“Really? OK. That’s a bit odd,” Verstappen said when he was told about the decision during the postrace track interviews.

Hamilton and Verstappen have been in the top two in all three races, with Hamilton winning two of them heading into next Sunday’s Spanish GP.

Bottas took pole to deny Hamilton a record-extending 100th, making him the third different pole-sitter so far after Verstappen and Hamilton. He made a clean start to hold off Hamilton and Verstappen but dropped off.

“It was a tricky day today, just didn’t have the pace,” Bottas said.

The safety car came out on Lap 2 for debris on the track as veteran Kimi Raikkonen lost his front wing and went off into gravel after clipping the left rear tire of his Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi.

“It was my mistake,” Raikkonen said. “I’m just glad I didn’t ruin his tire.”

When the race resumed on Lap 7, Bottas surprised Hamilton by restarting earlier than he perhaps expected, while Verstappen got in Hamilton’s slipstream to move past him into second.

Verstappen couldn’t overtake Bottas despite being in the DRS zone, but Hamilton used his to zoom past Verstappen on the outside to reclaim second four laps later, and then set about chasing Bottas, overaking him with another fine move on the outside to stamp his authority on the race.

“I didn’t quite get as good a start as Valtteri and then lost out at the restart, which was not good. I had to try and reposition myself,” Hamilton said. “I think Max made a mistake at some point and that was perfect. With Valtteri I had to make the move early before the tires were destroyed, and I just managed to get him.”

Verstappen was stuck behind Bottas, which allowed Hamilton to move ahead by nearly four seconds approaching the halfway point.

The undulating 4.7-kilometer (2.9-mile) track in Portugal’s Algarve region is one of the most pleasing on the eye, but drivers have complained of lack of grip since new tarmac was laid before last year’s race.

This seemed to make it harder for Verstappen to attack.

“This was an odd weekend in terms of grip,” Verstappen said. “We were not on top of it here, but we’ll see what we can do in Barcelona.”

Verstappen pitted before the two Mercedes drivers, on Lap 36 followed by Bottas on the next and Hamilton on Lap 38.

Bottas came out just ahead of a flying Verstappen, who passed him easily to move behind Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in the race lead — although the veteran Mexican was on old tires.

Perez narrowly avoided an accident when backmarker Nikita Mazepin clumsily cut across him with the Red Bull finally changing his tires soon after. Perez’s fastest lap was beaten by Bottas.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Bottas moved up to fourth in the standings and five points behind Norris, who trails Verstappen by 24 heading into race No. 4.

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead


With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.

In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list