‘Superhero’ Lewis Hamilton set to get ‘spicy equipment’ after Qatar Grand Prix win

Lewis Hamilton took another big step to hauling in Max Verstappen as a gripping battle for the Formula One world title neared a conclusion after the Qatar Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion is now within eight points of the Dutch driver after an excellent drive that saw him dominate from start to finish after claiming pole position with a sublime qualifying performance.

Verstappen did his best to limit the damage though, rising from seventh on the grid after a five-place penalty to finish second, while also salvaging his day further with a valuable late point added for the fastest lap. There was some nostalgia too, as Fernando Alonso claimed a first Formula 1 podium in seven years to deliver for Alpine, doing enough to seize the highest rating in Indy Sport’s Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings.

Verstappen appeared to be upbeat after the race, perhaps seizing a morale victory with the additional bonus point for the fastest lap: “Our starting position was a bit compromised but luckily we had a really good start. I got quite quickly back to second and to get the fast lap was very nice. It’s going to be difficult to the end but that’s nice, it keeps things exciting. This track is a lot of fun to drive. it’s really quick. I feel good, it’s going to be a tight battle until the end.”

Here’s all the latest F1 news and reaction from Qatar as the builld-up to Saudi Arabia begins:

Read More

Lewis Hamilton wins Qatar Grand Prix to close gap on Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton insists there’s ‘no time to celebrate’ after Qatar Grand Prix win

F1: Toto Wolff hails Lewis Hamilton’s ‘superhero powers’ after Qatar Grand Prix win

Fernando Alonso offers precious reminder of class of old with Qatar Grand Prix podium

Latest F1 news

  • Lewis Hamilton wins Qatar Grand Prix to close gap on Max Verstappen

  • ‘Lion’ Hamilton backed to keep title race alive with two races to go

  • Red Bull left unhappy by Verstappen’s grid penalty

  • Pirelli explain raft of punctures in Sunday’s race

Horner praises Verstappen’s ‘big day’

16:38 , Ben Burrows

Max Verstappen finished a distant second in Doha but can be crowned world champion in Jeddah if he wins with the fastest lap and Hamilton fails to finish in the top five.

The Dutchman started seventh following his penalty in Qatar but he made light work of the rest of the field to limit the damage in his enthralling battle with Hamilton.

“It was a big day,” added Horner. “I think Max’s recovery on the first lap was stunning and his first two corners were sensational.

“Mercedes had a quicker car with Lewis, but we were able to come back at them in the second and third stint. Whilst we haven’t got quicker, our straight-line speed was competitive and the fact that Max was able to get the fastest lap before switching to soft tyres was encouraging.

“We are now just five points behind in the constructors’ championship and eight points in front in the drivers’ championship, so there are two very big races to come and it’s all to play for.

“We are going to work hard next week and improve the car as much as we can and see what we can do in Jeddah.”

Perez lost out on podium due to Red Bull tyre concern

15:58 , Dan Austin

Sergio Perez looked nailed-on to secure third-place at the Qatar Grand Prix after cutting through the field from 11th on the grid and overtaking Fernando Alonso once the first round of pit stops had been completed.

But while the likes of Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll managed to make a one-stop strategy work, Red Bull pitted the Mexican for a second time, and he had to settle for fourth come the chequered flag after failing to catch and pass Alonso again.

Team principal Christian Horner explained that Valtteri Bottas’ front-left tyre puncture, which damaged the underbody of his Mercedes so severely that the Finn was forced to retire from the race, spooked the team into bringing Perez in.

“Our problem was we felt it was too much risk to run a one stop with Checo particularly after what we saw with Valtteri,” Horner explained. “So that’s why we chose to stop [for a second time]. I think without the virtual safety car, we would have been right with [Alonso] on the last lap.”

Horner defends behaviour after FIA reprimand

15:46 , Dan Austin

Christian Horner has defended his trackside conduct after being given a formal warning by the FIA on Sunday.

The Red Bull team principal was found to have breached the international sporting code by criticising a volunteer marshal following the five-place grid penalty stewards awarded to Max Verstappen.

Horner apologised live on Sky Sports F1 or “any offence caused” to the marshal or other volunteers at tracks around the world, adding that “without marshals there would be no motorsports so it’s just the circumstances that were frustrating.”

He did, however, emphasise that he does not regret any of his behaviour during the title fight with Mercedes. “The way I’ve conducted myself, I’ve got no issues with it, I’d do exactly the same,” he said. “I believe in my team, I’m a straight-talker. I’ve always conducted myself in that manner. If I think you’re being an arse, I’ll say you’re being an arse.

Horner added that he was “not an overly emotional person” and said “I don’t rant at cameras”, a jibe at his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff who pointed down a camera lens and shouted during the Brazilian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton took the lead of the race.

Ocon says he made crucial different in Alonso podium battle with Perez

15:31 , Dan Austin

Esteban Ocon believes he paid back a favour he owed to team-mate Fernando Alonso by costing Sergio Perez 2.5s as the Mexican charged through the field and tried to steal the Spaniard’s third-place.

Frenchman Ocon won his first ever grand prix in Hungary earlier this year after Alonso delivered a masterful defensive performance to block Lewis Hamilton’s progress, preventing the Mercedes from catching up to Ocon and second-placed Sebastian Vettel before the chequered flag.

Alonso pleaded over the team radio for Ocon to “defend like a lion” against Perez after the Red Bull driver made an unexpected second stop, and the 25-year-old believes his intervention made a difference after Alonso finished just over 2s clear of Perez.

“I tried to do the best that I could against Perez and I made him lose a good two, two-and-a-half seconds I think in that defence,” Ocon told Sky Sports F1. “But the thing is the straights are longer here than in Budapest unfortunately so it was not as easy to defend against a Red Bull with new tyres.”

Alonso celebrates after “finally” making it back to the podium

15:25 , Dan Austin

Fernando Alonso has been busy celebrating his first podium in seven years after securing third-place at Losail on Sunday, even apologising to his fans online for taking too long to post a joyous photo.

The Spaniard’s happiness and relief were palpable post-race, though he was quick to make sure things didn’t go overboard. “Obviously the win is the win, so [a podium] cannot rank too high,” he explained to Sky Sports afterwards. “But this is like… finally!”

Norris bemoans McLaren’s loss of ground to Ferrari

15:12 , Dan Austin

Lando Norris has bemoaned McLaren’s tyre misfortune in Qatar and is frustrated by the ground lost to Ferrari in the battle for third place in the constructors’ championship.

The 22-year-old drove a strong race and was in fourth with eight laps to go when the pitwall spotted signs of a slow puncture and brought him in for a fresh set of tyres. That dropped the Briton to 11th, before he eventually recovered to ninth to take two points.

With team-mate Daniel Ricciardo outside the points for a third successive race, that means Ferrari were able to increase the gap in the standings by eight points, thanks to Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc’s respective seventh and eighth-place finishes.

“It was a puncture,” said Norris to the press afterwards. “I heard quite a few people punctured so there was an obvious problem going round. Nothing we can do. I think the team did a pretty good job, but we could have done much better. I think we deserved a lot more today, we could have been P4 today at least. We should have out-scored Ferrari and closed the gap a little bit.

Alpine chief reveals how close Alonso was to losing out on podium

15:00 , Dan Austin

Fernando Alonso’s podium at Qatar came as a surprise to the man himself and his team as well as fans around the world.

The Spaniard started third after demotions for Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, and took full advantage by passing Pierre Gasly for second early doors before holding off his rivals to maintain third once Verstappen had gone through.

He managed to make a one-stop work by nursing heavily worn hard tyres towards the end of the stint, and Alpine has now revealed it was tough-and-go between podium and puncture at the very end.

“Everybody really worked hard to make that tyre last until the last few laps, so yeah, it was stressful,” Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski told the media. “We knew if we stopped we wouldn’t get anything. We managed these tyres quite early, but also we understood that avoiding the kerbs was key and we instructed our drivers to do that.

“On the last lap I saw all the mechanics jumping on the grid, I was like ‘no, no, no, there is a few more corners left’. Just because we… honestly it was a question of a few corners whether we would make it or not.”

Vettel blames Bottas for poor Qatar start

14:43 , Dan Austin

Sebastian Vettel has blamed his own drop down the order at the start of the Qatar Grand Prix on Valtteri Bottas’ dreadful start up ahead.

The Finn struggled with wheel spin off the start and slipped down to 11th from sixth as he was passed by the likes of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, but Vettel could not make the same move because of he Mercedes’ positioning and fell to 17th place. The German drove a strong recovery from there, though, and took a single point for finishing tenth.

“I had nowhere to go,” the four-time world champion told the press after the race. “The cars in front of me could pass [Bottas], and I was the first in line who then had to get off the accelerator. I lost the rear end and had to open the steering, otherwise I would have spun. And then actually all the cars were through.”

Stroll welcomes “great” weekend for struggling Aston Martin

14:32 , Dan Austin

Lance Stroll has welcomed a “great result” for Aston Martin, after he took an impressive sixth for the Silverstone-based squad in Qatar.

The Canadian started the Grand Prix in 12th but executed a one-stop strategy perfectly to capitalise on the solid race pace of his car, and scored his best result since finishing on the podium at Sakhir a year ago when the team was still known as Racing Point.

“It was a great result, and a great race,” Stroll told the media at Losail. “The car was really good today. We had a good start, got by [Yuki] Tsunoda in the first stint and then we started to catch the group ahead, [Esteban] Ocon, [Carlos] Sainz – and we undercut Sainz for P6. So we really had good pace and I was able to attack every lap and the car was feeling good.”

Sainz’s race compromised by radio problems

14:23 , Dan Austin

Carlos Sainz looked like a contender for a podium in Qatar before lights out, with the Spaniard starting in fifth after demotions for Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, with the advantage of going out on the more durable medium tyres compared to the softs those ahead were using.

But the Ferrari dropped back throughout the race, lacking pace throughout, and the 27-year-old ultimately wound up finishing seventh, one place ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Radio communication problems meant that Sainz could not hear his race engineer’s instructions clearly, and he missed the call to pit when the time came to execute his one-stop strategy, meaning he came in a lap later than planned.

“We need to review what happened there with the radio because I didn’t hear the box call and maybe we lost out a bit by that call,” Sainz told reporters afterwards. “But it’s been a bit of a boring race for me because we were very concerned about the tyres and I was saving tyres all race, thinking about that front left that was giving so many headaches to other teams.”

Hamilton getting “right back to work” as title fight heats up

14:13 , Dan Austin

Lewis Hamilton says he going straight “back to work” after taking victory at the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix and reducing Max Verstappen’s advantage in the standings to eight points.

The seven-time world champion enters the final two races — the first another debut event at Jeddah, a Red Sea town in Saudi Arabia, before the finale at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi — in scintillating form having taken one of the greatest victories of his career in Brazil before a comfortable win at Losail.

The 36-year-old told Sky Sports F1 he feels “fitter than ever” on Sunday evening, and sent a positive message to his Twitter followers afterwards.

Qatar Grand Prix: Lando Norris sounds off on Pirelli

13:53 , Jack Rathborn

“You don’t expect your tyre to fail, especially when you’re on the hard compound. We weren’t even that far into the stint, about 20 laps I think. The tyre should be able to last much longer than 20 laps,” Norris told

“If there had been a wall, it really could have been a lot more dangerous. They just need to make better tyres. It’s dangerous for us as drivers.

“We risk our lives every time, but if we can’t even just drive a Formula One car around the track, what can you do?”



F1 drivers’ championship: Lewis Hamilton relishing ‘pressure’ in title race with Max Verstappen

13:44 , Jack Rathborn

“I’m loving it. I love the close battle, the pressure, the demands it puts on you and the whole team.

“So I thoroughly enjoyed it but these next two races need even better performance, so we’ll be bringing our ‘triple A’ game for those ones.”

F1 drivers’ championship: Max Verstappen remains optimistic in Lewis Hamilton battle

13:34 , Jack Rathborn

“Of course I know it’s going to be difficult to the end but I think that’s nice, it keeps it exciting.

“I would of course have liked to make it a bigger gap, but when you don’t have the pace, it’s impossible to do that, so we’ll just try to be better, and come back strong, especially in Saudi on the street track, and then we’ll see in Abu Dhabi.”

F1’s global shipping system to get cars to races explained

13:26 , Dan Austin

The Qatar Grand Prix was the third of a triple header of Formula 1 events after the races in Brazil and Mexico which took place over the previous two weekends.

That might be entertaining for fans around the world, but it makes things extremely difficult for trackside staff of all 10 teams, and especially those responsible for shipping the cars and equipment to the next race. Mechanics had to pull all-nighters in Brazil to make sure the race was able to run on time after delays to the shipping process in Mexico.

The logistics sustain the championship and are crucial in allowing us all to enjoy battles like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s this season, but how does everything really work? Check out the full story below for all the details:

How does F1 move cars between races?

Driver ratings after Alonso and Perez impress but Gasly and Ricciardo struggle

13:16 , Dan Austin

Fernando Alonso was unquestionably the most impressive driver on track at Losail on Sunday and fully deserved the praise he was given by fans and pundits and alike.

Sergio Perez made the most overtakes of anybody while marching through the field from eleventh on the grid, and could have taken third-place himself if Red Bull hadn’t opted to pit him for a second time.

Meanwhile, the likes of Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda will have been disappointed to finish outside the points.

But how did each of the drivers rank in comparison with one another? Take a look at our full driver ratings for an in-depth assessment of all 20 men:

Qatar GP driver ratings as Lewis Hamilton dominates to cut Max Verstappen lead

Wolff says pressure explains why Horner was “naughty” in Qatar

13:06 , Dan Austin

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the pressure of the title fight may have been behind his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner being “naughty” in Qatar, referring to comments the 48-year-old made about volunteer marshals which landed him in hot water with the FIA.

Horner was summoned to the stewards and given a formal warning for breaching the international sporting code after criticising what he referred to as a “rogue marshal waving a yellow flag” following Max Verstappen’s grid penalty.

“I think that there is a lot at stake. in a way I don’t even want to comment on him because we are all responsible for what we say and what we do,” Wolff told the media at the Losail circuit after Lewis Hamilton took a second successive win ahead of Verstappen. “[We all] have our own pressures and that is certainly very high.”

“I haven’t even heard or read what he said, only that he was naughty,” the Austrian smirked.

Alonso reaching “another level” with podium and 2022 plans

12:49 , Dan Austin

Fernando Alonso says he feels he is reaching “another level” after his best result of the season in Qatar, and is stepping up his preparations for a competitive year in 2022.

Next season will brings a major set of regulation changes for Formula 1 team, which means each time will run entirely revamped cars which will look significantly different to this year’s machinery. That presents an opportunity for the running order to be shaken up, and midfield squads like Alpine will be looking to use the changes to shoot up the grid and challenge for race wins.

Speaking to the media after securing his first podium since Hungary in 2014 with Ferrari, Alonso said: “As a weekend in general, this one was the best [of the season so far] because Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it was very consistent. I think the last part of this 2021 for sure is another level compared to the first part, so I’m happy with this year of comeback and the preparation into next year is definitely another level now.

“I think [the regulation changes are] a reset for everybody and it’s up to us to produce a fast car. I feel strong, I feel ready to take the battle and let’s see.”

Norris wants Pirelli to “make better tyres” after punctures

12:42 , Dan Austin

Lando Norris was one of four drivers whose struggle with tyre failures cost him big time at the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old was brought in for a late pit stop by McLaren after they spotted signs of a slow puncture, meaning ninth was as high as Norris could finish despite starting fourth. Nicholas Latifi and Valtteri Bottas saw their races ended by damage caused following failure son their front left tyres, while George Russell also suffered a puncture but was able to bit and continue.

Norris believes the blame lies with Pirelli, and wants the Italian manufacturer to make improvements for the future.

“You don’t expect the tyre to blow up,” he told reporters in the media pen after the end of the race. “Especially not on the hard tyre. We weren’t even that far into the stint, it was 20 laps or something, and the tyre should do over 20 laps.

“They should make the tyres better. It’s dangerous for us as drivers, we risk a lot every time.”

Ricciardo had to save fuel from the start in Qatar

12:31 , Dan Austin

Daniel Ricciardo finished outside the points in his McLaren for the third consecutive race as his difficult continued in Qatar.

The Australian has been off the pace of team-mate Lando Norris all season long and struggled in qualifying, missing out on a Q3 appearance and starting the race in P14.

From there he struggled to progress up the order and could only muster 12th by the time the chequered flag was waving, but the 31-year-old said some intense fuel saving was partly to blame.

“After the start we had fuel saving from super early in the race,” he told reporters at the Losail circuit. “I started doing what I thought was already a lot but it was not enough. I think at times we were losing probably two seconds a lap fuel saving and with that, brakes get cold, tyres get cold, and you lose grip as well, so it’s just kind of a downward spiral.”

Horner’s marshal outburst “unacceptable”, FIA confirms

12:20 , Dan Austin

Christian Horner’s outburst at a “rogue marshal” is simply “not accepted”, the FIA has confirmed.

The Red Bull team boss was criticised volunteers working for Formula 1 at the Qatar Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1, incensed after Max Verstappen was given a five-place grid penalty for ignoring double yellow flags during the final part of Saturday’s qualifying session.

Horner was summoned to the stewards for breaching the international sporting code afterwards and, as part of a settlement with the FIA, accepted a formal warning and apologised publicly on television. He blamed the nature of his comments on being “under the pressure of competition”.

FIA Race Director Michael Masi, though, criticised Horner in the aftermath, saying: “I think you should not attack any person. Especially when we have thousands of volunteer marshals around the world, that give up a huge amount of time globally.

“Without them this sport that everyone has very close to their heart, and all of them give up a huge amount of their time, won’t happen. I will defend every volunteer official and every official at every racetrack around the world, and stress that this is not accepted.”

Christian Horner’s ‘rogue marshal’ outburst ‘not accepted’, FIA confirms

DRS more powerful than ever in Qatar

12:11 , Dan Austin

The Losail circuit in Qatar proved popular in qualifying, with its high speed corner challenging the drivers to carry as much speed as possible throughout the entire lap.

Drivers like Daniel Ricciardo labelled it “a lot of fun”, but in the race things were different.

The track is narrow and suffers from a lack of heavy braking zones, meaning that the only real opportunity for overtaking was down the pit straight.

Now, some overtakes are better than none, certainly, even if they all take place at the same spot on track. But the drag reduction system (DRS), which allows cars within a second of the driver in front to open the rear wing flap for an extra straight line speed boost, was so powerful that no driver was able to put up a decent defence.

DRS has been criticised by pundits and fans in the past for creating ‘artificial’ overtaking manoeuvres, but without it the order would barely have changed in Qatar.

You can read a full explanation on how the system works here:

What is DRS in Formula 1, what does it mean and how does it work?

Hamilton kept off the kerbs to avoid puncture worry

12:03 , Dan Austin

Lewis Hamilton was never worried about suffering a puncture at the punishing Losail circuit despite team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ race ultimately being ended by one.

The Qatar track was making its Formula 1 debut after hosting MotoGP races for 17 years and the rough kerbs at the track caused damage to plenty of cars throughout qualifying and the race.

The Briton, though, explained that he stayed away from the kerbs throughout the entire Grand Prix and never felt he was at risk of a tyre failure.

“I mean, I wasn’t [worried]. I was managing quite well, I wasn’t on any of the kerbs, so it wasn’t a concern for me. I assumed [the punctures] were coming from people running on the kerbs but I was never near any of them, that wasn’t an issue.”

Alonso planned to overtake Hamilton for the lead in Qatar

11:54 , Dan Austin

Fernando Alonso may have been left “very happy” after securing his first podium in seven years on Sunday afternoon, but the Spaniard had his sights set even higher originally.

The Spaniard started third on the grid after penalties for Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen saw them demoted, and the Alpine driver was able to pass Pierre Gasly at the start to move up to second.

“Honestly I thought to be leading after Lap 1,” he told Sky Sports F1 on his way to the podium. “I thought with the red [soft] tyre I could have a go on Lewis, but I couldn’t. “Obviously the win is the win, so [a podium] cannot rank too high. But this is like… finally!”

Mercedes to use fast Brazil engine in Hamilton’s car again

11:42 , Dan Austin

Mercedes will return to using the engine which helped Lewis Hamilton slice through the field at Interlagos at Jeddah next time out.

The Saudi Arabian circuit is making its debut on the Formula 1 calendar but seems to favour the Mercedes machinery over the Red Bull car thanks to its high speeds and long straights.

The fresh internal combustion engine Hamilton used in Brazil cost him a five-place grid penalty but that punishment was worth it as his top speed far out-stripped the pace of every other car on the grid. It was removed for Qatar in order to prolong its lifespan for the final two races.

Trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin told reporters in Qatar: “We’ve seen pretty big swings of performance over the recent races, [but] if we look at the track in Saudi, I think it should suit us. For Lewis, we have got the more powerful engine to go in the car, so that’s going to give him a useful engine.”

Hamilton promises AAA game at Saudi Arabia

11:30 , Dan Austin

Lewis Hamilton has promised that he and his Mercedes team will be firing on all cylinders by the time they arrive in Saudi Arabia for the penultimate race in just under a fortnight’s time.

The seven-time world champion has taken two excellent victories at the most recent grands prix at Interlagos and Losail, and says he feels “fitter than ever” before in his career.

“I love the close battle and the pressure, the demands it puts on you and the whole team,” the 36-year-old told Sky Sports F1. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it but these next two races need even better performances, so we will be bringing our AAA game for those ones. The last two weeks have been fantastic but there is no time for celebrations.”

Alonso’s first Alpine podium and why athletes define the way we view time

11:26 , Dan Austin

Fernando Alonso took his first podium in 104 Formula 1 races on Sunday afternoon after a stellar, consistent drive gave him third-place ahead of Sergio Pérez and team-mate Esteban Ocon.

The Spaniard took a two-year sabbatical from the sport in 2018, after a dreadful second spell with McLaren yielded a best result of a fifth-place finish, vowing to challenge for podiums and race wins. Qatar was his first realistic shot at the top three and the 40-year-old grasped it with both hands.

Alonso is a great example of an athlete who career has spanned different era, the kind of sportsperson whose peaks and troughs define the way that fans experience time.

Read the full story on Alonso, Roger Federer, athletes who capture the public consciousness and how they make us confront our own ageing below:

Fernando Alonso offers precious reminder of class of old with Qatar Grand Prix podium

Williams drivers bemoan punctures

11:13 , Dan Austin

Both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi suffered punctures for Williams in the latter stages of the Qatar Grand Prix, with the Canadian forced to retire after the incident caused damage to the floor of the car.

The team had discussed the possibility of punctures in their pre-race strategy meeting, but both drivers were surprised by the timing of their tyre failures.

“No warning, but we actually anticipated that prior to the race,” Russell told reporters post-race. “We didn’t have enough pace today. The high-speed corners where you need to manage, the corners leading onto the straights, and the guys were already right behind me in the high-speed corners, so if I manage any more, they would have just overtaken me regardless.

“When I heard it was the tyre, I was like okay, well mine feels fine, I don’t even feel front-left limited,” Latifi explained. “I think we had nothing to lose trying to make that strategy work, especially with the Alfas behind us. They were our race and it just wasn’t to be.”

Work continuing on Saudi Arabia circuit with F1 confident

11:02 , Dan Austin

Formula 1 heads to the Red Sea town of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as the country hosts its first ever Grand Prix.

F1’s decision to race there has been criticised by human rights organisations including Amnesty International, and Lewis Hamilton is set to continue sporting the rainbow design helmet he debuted in Qatar in support of the local LGBTQIA+ community.

The event at Jeddah is a temporary street circuit which is still being built, but the sport is confident preparations will be complete in time.

“The track will be done, the priority we know is there,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “But you will see the level of show that they’re going to bring there too. They are all excited, a lot of work has been done. So it’s really good.”

Gasly frustrated by ‘shocking’ Alpha Tauri speed in Qatar

10:51 , Dan Austin

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly started from the front row at Losail but finished outside of the points after his two-stop strategy saw him leap-frogged by those who were able to make a one-stop work.

The Frenchman has enjoyed a stellar season so far but this was his most disappointing Sunday of the campaign, and he said the lack of the pace in the car was a significant issue.

“I think it’s fair to say we just didn’t have the pace the whole race,” Gasly told reporters at the circuit. “Our pace was shocking, we were just nowhere. We both started, with Yuki, in the top ten and both finished outside the top ten with no pace the whole race.

“Honestly, I don’t have the answers. Even when I was trying to push as hard as I could with the two-stop strategy we had, I never could match the McLaren and the Alpines. Very frustrating.”

Verstappen not surprised by penalty as he never gets “presents” from FIA

10:41 , Dan Austin

Max Verstappen told reporters post-race in Qatar that was “not surprised” by the penalty he received for ignoring yellow flags in qualifying. The Dutchman disagreed with the decision but bemoaned treatment he seemed to suggest was unfair from the FIA.

“I knew I was going to get a penalty already yesterday evening, so I was prepared for that. I never get presents from them [the FIA],” Verstappen said.

“When I saw the result, I was not shocked or surprised. You just focus, you have to pass a few more cars than you normally would like, but luckily it worked out really well on lap one already.”

Masi furious with Horner’s outburst

10:26 , Dan Austin

FIA Race Director Michael Masi was furious with Christian Horner after the Red Bull team principal’s outburst against the governing body before the Qatar Grand Prix.

Regarding the penalty given to Max Verstappen for ignoring yellow flags in qualifying on Saturday afternoon, he Horner told Sky Sports F1: “To be honest with you, we are really struggling to understand it. It looks like a complete balls-up. I think it’s just a rogue marshal that stuck a flag out and he hasn’t been instructed to by the FIA. They’ve got to have control of their marshals. It’s as simple as that.”

He was given a formal warning by the FIA in the aftermath of the race for breaching the international sporting code, and apologised live on television for any offence caused.

Masi was quoted by The Race as saying: “I think you should not attack any person, particularly when we have thousands of volunteer marshals around the world, that give up a huge amount of time globally, without them this sport that everyone has very close to their heart [could not continue]. I will defend every volunteer official and every official at every racetrack around the world, that [kind of comment from Horner] is not accepted.””

Pirelli gives explanation for tyre punctures

10:15 , Dan Austin

Three drivers — Valtteri Bottas, Nicholas Latifi, and George Russell — suffered punctures to their front left tyres after trying to manage a one-stop strategy at Losail on Sunday, while McLaren’s Lando Norris made it to the pits just in time to avoid one of his own.

Qatar was hosting its first ever Formula 1 race, and as with any new circuit where meaningful data is in short supply, tyre wear was almost impossible to predict.

Tyre manufacturer Pirelli’s Head of F1 Mario Isola offered the company’s explanation for the failures, and suggested the team’s need to take responsibility.

He told Autosport: “We had a few teams trying a one-stop strategy, because here it’s difficult to overtake, they didn’t want to lose time in the pit. But the reason why we predicted a two-stop strategy was mainly because of the data on tyre wear that we collected on Friday, and the wear on the front-left was quite high. So today for example, the front-left and the rear-left were both worn to 100 percent. But the reason why we had a puncture on just the front-left has to be investigated.”

“Clearly with a tyre that is worn and is less protected against impact when you continue to punish the tyre.”

Red Bull inadvertently woke up Hamilton’s “lion”, says Wolff

10:04 , Dan Austin

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Red Bull made an error in the F1 title race at Brazil by waking up Lewis Hamilton’s “lion.”

Max Verstappen drove the seven-time world champion off the road at Interlagos, leading to a week of back-and-forth jibes between the respective camps, while Hamilton took two strong wins to cut the Dutchman’s lead to eight points.

“They have woken up the lion on the Saturday in Interlagos, he is absolutely on it and brutal,” Wolff said. “I think when adversity happens then it takes him to a place where he is able to mobilise superhero powers and it was the adversity that triggered that in Interlagos.”

“He’s cold-blooded and on it, this is the best Lewis we have seen in the past and he is right there.”

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Toto Wolff hails Lewis Hamilton’s ‘superhero powers’ after Qatar Grand Prix win

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings: Lewis Hamilton dominates to cut Max Verstappen lead

09:44 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton dominated the Qatar Grand Prix to cut Max Verstappen’s lead at the top of the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship to eight points with two races remaining.

The seven-time world champion never relinquished the lead after starting from pole position and looked comfortable throughout at a track where the kerbs caused big problems for car reliability.

Max Verstappen moved up from seventh on the grid after a five-place penalty to finish second, and take a crucial point for fastest lap, while Fernando Alonso earned his first Formula 1 podium in seven years with a superb drive for Alpine.

Qatar GP driver ratings as Lewis Hamilton dominates to cut Max Verstappen lead

Lewis Hamilton insists there’s ‘no time to celebrate’ after Qatar Grand Prix win

09:43 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton insists he has no time to celebrate back-to-back wins as he stormed to victory at the Qatar Grand Prix to move eight points behind title rival Max Verstappen.

With arguments, press conference sideshows, grid penalties and questions over even racing in a country with a poor history of human rights dominating the build-up to Sunday’s race, it was Hamilton who put on a show under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit.

Sporting a rainbow helmet in support of the LBGTQ+ community, a gesture criticised by the 2022 Qatar World Cup chief executive, the Mercedes driver cantered to a win ahead of Verstappen – who came home over 25 seconds adrift.

Lewis Hamilton insists there’s ‘no time to celebrate’ after Qatar Grand Prix win

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