- Round 12 of the 2020 Formula 1 season arrives in the Algarve this weekend for the Portuguese Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton can set record for number of F1 wins with victory in Portimao on Sunday
- Briton leads World Drivers’ Championship by 69 points after Nurburgring win a fortnight ago
PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL – As Formula 1 gears up for another two-week jaunt across Europe, can Lewis Hamilton claim a record 92nd win at the Portuguese Grand Prix?
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Hamilton on trail of history
With Lewis Hamilton now on the brink of history again, the 2020 Formula 1 season resumes in Portimao this weekend, for the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Off the back of picking up his seventh race victory of the campaign and a record-equalling 91st F1 win at the Nurburgring a fortnight ago, the Briton arrives in the Algarve looking to go one step further in the history books.
Drawing level with Michael Schumacher‘s tally, this weekend could see the latest chapter in the Book of Hamilton.
Now holding an increasingly commanding 69-point championship advantage over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas also, a seventh world title is now a not-too-distant prospect.
For the entire Paddock, the Portuguese GP represents new ground, but for Hamilton, Portimao could merely be another track to simply etch his indelible mark onto.
If he does make it eight for the campaign this weekend, history beckons.
Stroll green-lit after Covid
On the heels of a controversial season, all eyes will be on Racing Point once more in the Algarve, but for very differing reasons.
After it was revealed Lance Stroll tested positive for Covid-19 after the Eifel Grand Prix on Wednesday, the Canadian has been given the all-clear to race in Portugal.
Stroll sat out Round 11 at the Nurburgring a fortnight ago with a mystery flu-like virus, which turned out to be coronavirus – despite earlier indications it was not.
It comes after teammate Sergio Perez was forced to miss both British and 70th Anniversary GPs at Silverstone in August, after contracting the virus also.
Racing Point have not been shy in their protestations over their car his season, but as Team principal Otmar Szafnauer has stated in regard to their particular Covid protocols, his team have gone by the book.
As he told BBC Sport:
“If I thought our process was wrong, I would change it. I’m not going to do anything else. There is nothing else to do.”
This one is likely to roll on in Portugal this weekend.
Haas approaching new horizons
Midweek build-up was also dominated by the news that both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are to vacate their seats with Haas Racing at the end of the year.
The duo have been with the American manufacturer since 2016 and 2017 respectively.
After an impressive move up the rankings at the start of 2019, the team fell down the pecking order once more towards the end of last term.
Now finding themselves ninth in the constructors’ standings, the call has been made to switch things up.
Owner Gene Haas is mooted as saying the decision is driven by financial circumstances during the pandemic, but regardless, it leaves two openings for next season.
Could Mick Schumacher be one such contender for Haas F1 in 2021?
Return to Portugal
With six races of the season to go, F1 makes its penultimate European stop-off this weekend, making a return to Portuguese shores for the first time since 1996.
F1 returns not to more habitual Lisbon environs of Estoril, but to the Autodromo Internactional do Algarve however, looking to cement itself in future seasons.
Set to host MotoGP later this year also, the 15-turn, 4.653 km circuit, cost approximately 195 million euros, with construction finishing in 2008.
The circuit is a fitting memorial, with one of the track’s corners named in honour of former World SuperSport rider Craig Jones, who was killed in a motorcycle crash at Brands Hatch in 2008 – shortly before the venue was opened.
Williams driver Jacques Villeneuve won 24 years ago, the last time F1 touched down in Portugal.
The 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix takes place at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, in Portimao this weekend.
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