The 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix promises to be very interesting, owing to the fact that the starting grid is full of surprises. There were also a few constants like strong performances from Mercedes and Red Bull, but a lot of positions have been shaken up.

First of all, Valtteri Bottas out-qualified his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton. While they locked out the front row as expected, Hamilton has always been the favourite to sit on pole. He will have to wait longer to secure his 100th pole position, thanks to a fired up Bottas.

The second row was also predictably claimed by Red Bull but Max Verstappen really should have been much faster than what was eventually his final qualifying time. Unfortunately, his fastest effort was deleted for exceeding track limits. Track conditions in the closing minutes meant that the Dutchman could only make it to third beside his teammate Sergio Perez.

The real surprises come from after the first two rows, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz making it to 4th and out-qualifying his teammate Charles Leclerc, who only managed to get to 8th. Alpine's Esteban Ocon was a sensation in 6th place, considering how far behind the team was in the first two races. Unfortunately, his teammate Fernando Alonso was only able to qualify in 13th.

Lando Norris looked strong in practice and in Q1 and Q2, but he was only able to make it as far as 7th in Q3. A much bigger surprise comes from his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who will be starting from 16th place on the grid. He made a shock exit at the end of Q1, alongside Aston Martin's Lance Stroll who only got to 17th place. However, Sebastian Vettel finally got into Q3 for the first time this season, but could only get his Aston Martin into 10th place.

George Russell also had a notable result, taking his Williams up into 11th place. It's a massive improvement from last year, which saw the team languishing at the back of the field on most races.

Speaking of the back of the field, The Haas cars of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were perhaps the only ones that remained in status quo, claiming 19th and 20th respectively.

Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas plots his pole position drive AFP / Mark RALSTON