Lewis Hamilton has won the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix at Losail International Circuit from Max Verstappen in emphatic style.
He finished 25.743 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen, following a late Virtual Safety Car period during which his championship rival made a ‘free’ pit stop to fit a fresh set of soft tyres and secure the fastest lap bonus point.
Verstappen still leads the championship with this result, but Hamilton has closed the gap down to just eight points with two races left to run.
Fernando Alonso successfully executed a one-stop strategy to finish third, for his first Formula 1 podium since the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix. Alonso managed 31 laps on a set of hard tyres, as several other drivers who attempted one-stop strategies suffered from tyre failures caused by striking the sharp kerbs at corner exit.
Valtteri Bottas retired after 48 laps. He made a poor start, and suffered a left front tyre failure as he attempted a one-stop strategy.
With Bottas’ retirement, and Sergio Perez scoring a fourth place finish, Red Bull have closed to within five points of Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.
The other drivers to suffer punctures after long stints on a single set of tyres included the McLaren-Mercedes of Lando Norris, who held on to a ninth place finish; as well as the two Williams of George Russell in 17th, and Nicholas Latifi, whose stopped car triggered the VSC intervention.
Esteban Ocon finished fifth for his best result since winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lance Stroll finished a season-best sixth place, ahead of the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jnr in seventh and Charles Leclerc in eighth; Sebastian Vettel finished behind Norris in tenth.
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2021 Qatar Grand Prix reaction
- Pirelli’s investigation into Qatar tyre failures indicates kerbs caused punctures
- Alpine thrive in Middle East heat as AlphaTauri endure “worst performance” of 2021
- Horner rejects talk of title fight pressure after criticism over marshal comment
- “I don’t know how much slower I can go”: Inside Ricciardo’s unnecessary economy run
- ‘No regulator in the world will be popular’ with a title fight this intense – Masi
- Why drivers backed Hamilton’s call for clarity after meeting over Verstappen incident
- Lessons to be learned from handling of Verstappen yellow flag incident – Horner
- Red Bull “played it safe” due to Bottas tyre failure says Perez after missing podium
- Car damage prevents Mercedes using Bottas to deny Verstappen bonus point
- “Attack” on volunteer marshals not acceptable says Masi after Horner comments
- Hamilton faster than simulations predicted in Qatar despite “less powerful” engine
- The yellow flag confusion which hit Verstappen’s title hopes in Qatar explained
- Ferrari’s fight with McLaren “not over yet” as lead grows again in Qatar
- Gasly laments AlphaTauri’s “shocking” pace after failing to score from front row start
- How Verstappen can clinch the F1 world championship at the next race
- Hamilton “mobilised superhero powers” after Interlagos adversity – Wolff
- Qatar GP punctures were “dangerous” and “just shouldn’t happen” – Norris
- Pirelli suspect kerbs played a role in “sudden” punctures for four drivers
- Horner given official warning over “rogue marshal” comments
- I never get presents from the stewards, rues Verstappen as penalty compromises race
- Alonso was “waiting so long” for podium as he ends seven-year drought
- Horner summoned to meet FIA stewards over alleged International Sporting Code breach
- Hamilton grateful for points gain at circuit Mercedes expected to be their “Achilles heel”