The reigning F1 world champion recovered from a tricky opening practice session to top FP2 at the Algarve International Circuit, with the Mercedes driver setting a best lap time of 1m19.837s, just 0.143s faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Both drivers were unhappy with the state of the slippery tarmac, which Verstappen remarked was “not very enjoyable to drive” on.
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who led the morning session on Friday at the Portimao track, was shuffled down to third position but kept clear of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
The opening day in Portugal was encouraging for Alpine, as Fernando Alonso claimed fifth place at the end of FP2 fractionally ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon in sixth, as the pair beat Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari.
Daniel Ricciardo also had a positive Friday for McLaren after his tricky start to the season adjusting to his new team, with the Australian driver eighth quickest in the second practice session, as Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez completed the top 10.
Both Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin endured the biggest off-track incidents during Friday practice, with the Williams driver going off across the gravel at the exit of Turn 8, while the Haas driver locked up and ran off also at Turn 8.
Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
What time does qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix start?
Qualifying for Portuguese GP starts at 3pm local time (3pm BST), using the regular Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout session format.
- Date: Saturday 1st May 2021
- Start time: 3pm local time – 3pm BST
How can I watch qualifying?
In the United Kingdom every F1 practice, qualifying and race is broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, with qualifying coverage starting at 2pm BST.
Autosport will be running a live text coverage of qualifying here.
When can I watch the highlights?
In the United Kingdom Channel 4 is broadcasting highlights of qualifying for the Portuguese GP at 6:30pm BST on Saturday. The full programme will run for 90 minutes, covering both qualifying and wrapping up the major talking points of the race weekend so far.
For the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.
- Channel: Channel 4
- Start time: 6:30pm BST
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Will it be on the radio?
Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra or via the BBC Sport website.
Coverage of the Portuguese GP qualifying will start at 2:55pm BST on the BBC 5 Live Sports Extra channel.
Why is F1 racing in Portugal?
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt the regular motorsport calendar, the start of the 2021 F1 season has been reshaped after the Australian GP was postponed to November and the Chinese GP was called off for this year.
As a result, and just like last season, the Portimao track has been selected as a late replacement to fill the gap in the calendar and will host the Portuguese GP.
At the time of writing, the 2021 F1 calendar reverts to a largely familiar schedule in May with the Spanish GP and Monaco GP, but another calendar tweak has been confirmed for June, with the series heading to Turkey after the cancellation of the Canadian GP.
What’s the weather forecast for qualifying at Imola?
Sunny conditions are forecast for Saturday afternoon at Portimao but it is expected to remain dry throughout. Temperatures are set to be 18 degrees Celsius at the start of qualifying – around four degrees warmer than qualifying for the Emilia Romagna GP.