Unlike last year’s chaotic Grand Prix, this event was more tactical as teams took advantage of the durable Pirelli tyre range to execute one-stop strategies, bolstered by the ease of overtaking at the Algarve International Circuit.
Sebastian was able to battle the cars around him on the opening lap, taking part in a three-car battle through Turns 2 and 3 to retain 10th on the opening lap.
He would hold onto the position when the Safety Car was called on the second lap of 66 after Kimi Räikkönen shed his front wing on the start/finish straight, causing debris to litter the track.
When the race resumed on lap seven, Sebastian remained in touching distance of the cars ahead as he solidified 10th place in the opening stint.
The pit window opened on lap 22 and Sebastian came in to make his one and only stop for a switch to a set of new Medium tyres.
On the positive side, I will have some new parts on my car next week, which we feel are a step in the right direction.
He returned to the track in 16th and wasted no time climbing up the order once his tyres got up to temperature, dispatching Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Haas’s Mick Schumacher in quick succession.
Sebastian was then unable to make further inroads on the cars ahead and settled into 13th.
He would later allow Lance past so he could use his 13-lap tyre offset compared to his team-mate on the Mediums to give the Canadian a chance to close in on the cars ahead.
“That was quite a busy and difficult race with a very long stint on the medium tyres,” explained Sebastian.
“I do not think we could have done anything different with the strategy, but, overall, we did not have enough pace or consistency to hold onto the group fighting for points.”
On the final lap, Sebastian would return to 13th as Lance returned the position.
“On the positive side, I will have some new parts on my car next week, which we feel are a step in the right direction,” added Sebastian.
“But the real priority is to have a clean Saturday, which is the key to a better Sunday.”
Lance started the race on the backfoot in 17th place but was able to make up ground at the start by quickly passing McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The Safety Car on lap two prevented him from making up further ground for the next five laps but Lance was alert and able to pick off AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda for 15th on the restart.
He would then dispatch George Russell in a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle through Turns 1-3 and came out on top for 14th before settling into a long stint on the Soft tyres.
“The car felt better balanced in the race, and we made up several places in the first half, but we just lacked that little bit more to make it into the points,” added Lance.
We will not dwell on today too much, but we will learn what we can and make improvements ahead of next weekend.
Lance would run the longest first stint of any driver on the Soft tyre and completed 39 laps while rising to seventh before making his one pitstop.
Returning to the track on new Mediums in 14th place, he was able to initially make the most of the new tyre advantage to close on the cars ahead.
Sebastian would allow Lance past to chase down the cars ahead in a bid to make the points, but Lance handed the place back to his team-mate on the final lap.
“It was not our best day, but I think we were a bit stronger in race conditions than we were yesterday,” said Lance. “Ultimately, a challenging Saturday meant that we were on the back foot today.
“We will not dwell on today too much, but we will learn what we can and make improvements ahead of next weekend. We will arrive in Barcelona in a stronger position.”
While the Portuguese Grand Prix proved a challenging affair for the team, CEO & Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer says the double-header offers an instant chance to respond strongly.
“Lance drove a good race from a less than optimal grid slot, never put a foot wrong, and ended up finishing 14th in a race that contained very little attrition,” said Otmar.
“Towards the end, he was running just behind Sebastian, but on fresher tyres, so we asked Sebastian to let Lance past so that he could have a go at trying to catch and pass the cars ahead, to give us an outside chance of nicking a point.
“In the end, Lance was not able to do that so, very sportingly, he gave the place back to Sebastian on the final lap.
“Obviously, we are disappointed not to have been able to score any points today, but the good news is that the Spanish Grand Prix is next weekend, so we have a chance to correct that in just a few days’ time.”
We’re just getting started. Sign up to be the first to hear about latest news, new apparel drops and gain access to exclusive experiences.