Portuguese Grand Prix: 5 of the best F1 moments in Portugal


Formula 1 returns to Portugal this weekend for round three of the 2021 World Championship as the roller-coaster ride that is the undulating Portimao circuit plays host to the 18th Portuguese Grand Prix in the sport’s history.

Indeed, it’s an event that has been on and off the calendar since its first appearance in 1958 and we only returned to the country last year in a makeshift schedule for 2020 after over two decades away.

Even so, there have been some brilliant moments in the Iberian nation over the years and, ahead of the weekend, we’re taking a look at five of them now…

Stirling Moss’ sportsmanship – 1958

The first race in Portugal took place at the Boavista street track in Oporto and saw one of the earliest, and perhaps best, moments of sportsmanship in the championship’s history.

Stirling Moss leapt to the defence of Mike Hawthorn to get him reinstated in the race after he had been disqualified for allegedly driving into the flow of traffic after a late spin.

Moss said Hawthorn had been on the pavement and off-track, in doing so, he got Hawthorn re-classified and the points that came with it.

Hawthorn would win the title later that year by just a point… 


Niki Lauda completes his hat-trick – 1984

After a hiatus of around 20 years between the 1960s and 1980s, the Portuguese GP returned to the calendar in 1984 at Estoril, with it the final event of that particular season.

It saw a title fight decided between Niki Lauda and Alain Prost in the McLarens, too, as the experienced Austrian took his third Drivers’ title ahead of his young upcoming French teammate.

Lauda won the title by half a point – the tightest margin in F1 history – as he rose from 11th on the grid to finish in the second place he needed, behind winner Prost, to seal his third crown.

Ayrton Senna’s first win – 1985

A year later, another of the sport’s great three-time champions underlined his talents with his first victory in Formula 1.

In torrential conditions at Estoril, Ayrton Senna, for the first and certainly not the last, navigated his way around better than anyone else in the field to record a stunning win.

It was his first in the sport as he finished over a minute in front of Michele Alboreto in second and lapped the rest of the field in his Lotus to truly announce himself on the Grand Prix stage.

Alain Prost, record breaker – 1987

In 1987, Alain Prost got his own slice of Portuguese glory with him becoming F1’s most successful driver in terms of race wins at the time as he took the chequered flag at Estoril.

A late surge up the field saw him overtake Gerhard Berger in the final laps to take victory – one that put him out in front ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart for race wins as the Frenchman tallied up 28 – something he’d nearly double by the end of his career.


Kimi’s early surge and Lewis’ own record-breaking feat – 2020

The year 2020 saw us head to Portimao for the first time in the sport’s history and it was a race to remember.

Cold conditions and low grip made for an entertaining start as those on the soft tyres rose through the field with ease – Kimi Raikkonen being the main example of that as he made up 10 places over the course of the opening lap.


By the final one, meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was once again in front with him making it 92 F1 wins – setting a new record after overhauling Michael Schumacher‘s tally of 91.

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