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Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen


Watch the third round of F1 2021 after an exciting start to the new campaign, live only on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday; Sky F1 build-up including Nico Rosberg starts at 1:30 p.m. before the race at 3 p.m. with Bottas leading Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez on the grid

Last updated: 02/05/21 9:03 am

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen



Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen







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Watch the best bits from Nico Rosberg’s first appearance on Sky Sports F1 in the 2021 season starting Saturday at the Portuguese GP. Join the team from 1:30 p.m. Sunday

Watch the best bits from Nico Rosberg’s first appearance on Sky Sports F1 in the 2021 season starting Saturday at the Portuguese GP. Join the team from 1:30 p.m. Sunday

Sky F1’s Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton will start approaching Max Verstappen differently in wheel-to-wheel combat now that the Dutchman has become a main contender for the title.

The Portuguese GP on Sunday afternoon will see Hamilton and Verstappen line up second and third respectively on the grid behind Valtteri Bottas, who aims to launch his own championship challenge from pole position,

Speaking during his first appearance of the season on Sky Sports F1 On Saturday in Portimao, Rosberg said the first round events at Imola two weeks ago – when Verstappen and Hamilton made contact as Red Bull overtook the Mercedes at the first chicane – were significant.

“We’re in a very different situation now,” said the 2016 dynamic champion Hamilton-Verstappen, the latter’s seventh year on the grid.

“Now Verstappen is the number one rival and the elbows are sticking out. I don’t think Lewis is going to back down like he once did.

“I promise you Lewis noted that Turn One at Imola. He will remember it and be ready to be reimbursed.

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Hamilton admitted in 2019 that “you always give Max a lot of space, it’s the smartest thing you can do.”

Reflecting on the two dramatic season opener events, Rosberg said: “I think we’re going to have a fantastic season this year, because Red Bull vs Mercedes – and their cars are just as fast and they have some fantastic drivers who are coming together. are beating out there on the right track.

“We are already seeing kicks between Hamilton and Verstappen, and we are only in two races. It will be a great year.

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen 1:12
Lewis Hamilton felt he could have gone faster in qualifying after being edged out by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at Portimao

Lewis Hamilton felt he could have gone faster in qualifying after being edged out by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at Portimao

“Max Verstappen is arguably as phenomenal a driver as Lewis Hamilton at the moment.

“Max has always had phenomenal speed, it’s just that he was too aggressive and made mistakes a few years ago. Now he really put things in place, and the mistakes are no longer there for Max. . “

“He can really bring it to Lewis.”

What is the history of Portimao so far? Look at Ted’s Qualification Book!

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen 28:44
Ted Kravitz brings his notebook to the Portuguese Grand Prix, as he looks back on qualifying and shares his thoughts on the big stories in the paddock

Ted Kravitz brings his notebook to the Portuguese Grand Prix, as he looks back on qualifying and shares his thoughts on the big stories in the paddock

Mercedes with a starting advantage over Red Bull in Portimao

Verstappen’s impressive wet-weather win at Imola a fortnight ago came from third on the grid and the Dutchman started from the same position on Sunday, although conditions are unlikely to be so changeable on Sunday.

Qualifying represented Mercedes ‘first lockout at the top of the season and the world champions’ W12 apparently holds a slight advantage over Red Bull’s RB16B so far in Portimao, particularly on the medium tire on which all four cars will start for the first stint of the race.

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen 1:31
Climb aboard with Valtteri Bottas for his pole-winning 1: 18.348 full lap and listen to his team’s radio reaction at the end of qualifying for the Portuguese GP.

Climb aboard with Valtteri Bottas for his pole-winning 1: 18.348 full lap and listen to his team’s radio reaction at the end of qualifying for the Portuguese GP.

“I haven’t had a single lap this weekend, just because of the condition of the track,” Verstappen said after qualifying. “The track is amazing but the grip we are experiencing I don’t find it pleasant. I know it is the same for everyone, but for me personally it is not pleasant to drive.

“We’ll see [on Sunday] what we can do. It’s not that easy to follow here, but if we have a good pace we will definitely put the pressure on. “

Hamilton, who leads Verstappen by just one point in the championship, told Sky F1: “It will probably be a close battle between the three of us and we will try to get as close as possible to Valtteri from the start.”

Portuguese GP: Nico Rosberg at the start of the F1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Bottas will look to make three race winners in as many races at the start of the new season to start entering the title picture himself after a third and a DNF so far.

“We have to focus on starting the race and go from there,” said the Finn. “You know what the plan is.”

Red Bull also has Sergio Perez in the second row, but Rosberg believes that the fact that all four cars up front start with the same tires means Mercedes remains in the box seat.

“It’s not going to be easy [for Red Bull] because they all start on the medium tire and that gives them a very long first stint and some flexibility for Mercedes, ”said Rosberg.

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