Max Verstappen (P2, 18 pts): 9/10
Another very strong weekend for Max Verstappen, although if we're honest it always looked like the Red Bull was slightly playing catch-up and never quite a match for the Mercedes in Portimão, which is possibly the first time we can say that in 2021. Naturally Verstappen himself gave it his best as always and was in the top three throughout practice (and quickest of all in FP3). If failing to break into the Mercedes front row lock-out in qualifying had been a disappointment, he soon put that right on Sunday by getting the jump on Lewis Hamilton and taking second place at the restart following an early safety car. He was putting pressure on race leder Valtteri Bottas when he made a rare mistake, minor but still enough to open the door for Hamilton to take back the position. After that the world champion disappeared down the road and Verstappen had to rely on undercutting Bottas in the pit stops to pass the Finn on lap 37. That pretty much set the finishing order, although Verstappen and Bottas went on to entertain themselves vying for the bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the race. It went to Bottas after Verstappen's faster time was deleted for exceeding track limits along the way: "It's a shame the fastest lap got taken away. Stupid track limits, they should just put gravel back!"
Lewis Hamilton (P1, 25 pts): 9.5/10
The days when Lewis Hamilton used to be able to dominate a Grand Prix weekend from first practice to final chequered flag might be over thanks to all the aerodynamic rule changes levelling the field - and thank goodness for that in terms of excitement and entertainment - but everytime the reigning champion is tested to the limit he still seems to manage to find something special when it's needed. Fastest in FP2 (but not the quickest driver on Friday as a whole), he came within seven thousandths of a second of pipping Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas to pole in qualifying. Although he had no trouble keeping position at the start of the race, he was caught out by Bottas' late restart and inadvertently ceded the tow to Max Verstappen who passed him in turn 1. But Hamilton doesn't take that sort of thing lying down, and four laps later he was able to get his revenge on Verstappen, and then on lap 20 he forced his way past Bottas ot take the lead for the first time. Red Bull reacted by keeping Sergio Perez out for a longer first stint than the others, but once Hamilton cruised up to the back of the Mexican on lap 51 there was nothing left in the Red Bull's tyres. The lead - and the win - was Hamilton's, the result of another display of outstanding technical and driving acumen as well as calm under pressure that puts him ahead of everyone else on the grid right now. While the competition has never been closer, he's never scored so many points from the first three races in all his fifteen seasons in the sport.