Portimao one to forget for Verstappen after P2: 'I hope we don't come back'

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Max Verstappen certainly won't remember the Portuguese Grand Prix all that fondly after settling for second on Sunday.

The Dutchman looked in good shape after producing a great move on Lewis Hamilton early on, but an error allowed the Mercedes back through and then Valtteri Bottas became a roadblock until he was able to get ahead thanks to an undercut strategy.

Once back in second Verstappen simply didn't have the pace to challenge Lewis, however, and he was fortunate a loss of power prevented Bottas from trying to fight back late on.

“It was pretty decent,” Max said in parc ferme. “I had a good restart and then of course I tried to put the pressure on Valtteri, but in the end, we just lacked a little bit of pace overall.

“Lewis got by again and after the pit stop, the warm-up is super hard on these tyres. Once we settled in the second we could clearly see around here we were lacking a bit of pace compared to them, but still, second.”

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After qualifying, Verstappen admitted the new track surface at Portimao meant the circuit was no longer in his top three of favourite tracks.

And after filling in gaps during the Covid-era of F1, the Dutchman won't be disappointed to leave.

“The whole weekend I didn’t enjoy because of the grip levels around here,” he told Sky Sports. “I hope we don’t come back.

“Barcelona is good. It’s a nice track for an F1 car and I think we’ll see more of how the progression of the teams has been from the start of the season to today.

“I was just clearly lacking a little bit of grip, a little bit of top speed, just not being able to put the pressure on Mercedes.”

Only adding to Verstappen's frustration was the loss of the extra point for fastest lap on the final lap, after exceeding track limits at the penultimate corner.

“Really? That’s a good one,” he responded upon being informed of the deletion by the stewards. “That’s a bit odd because they were not checking track limits at Turn 14, but whatever.”

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In fact, since qualifying, Turn 14 was on the list of corners where drivers couldn't run all four wheels beyond the kerb, but after having the win in Bahrain and pole at Portimao denied because of tracks limits, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was equally miffed.

"Track limits are a point of contention and the consistency of their application," he told the British broadcaster.

"This championship will come down to the marginals and it is still at an early stage.

"We saw Lewis make a howler of a mistake [at Imola] but he got away with it. These things happen but Max is driving the wheels off the car and it is super, super tight between them."