F1 Rejects Mercedes’ Request To Review Verstappen’s Brazil Move
In search of a record-breaking eighth world championship, Hamilton trails Verstappen by 14 points in the drivers’ standings with just three races remaining of the season. However, after his stunning victory in Brazil, where Hamilton came from tenth on the grid to take victory, the momentum is firmly with the Mercedes driver. He followed up that performance with a dominant display in qualifying on Saturday, finishing four-tenths quicker than his title rival to take pole.
Overtaking is expected to be tricky on the Losail circuit, with teams likely to take a one-stop strategy, meaning there will be more pressure than ever on the approach into turn one. Verstappen escaped punishment after appearing to run Hamilton off the track in Brazil and the Briton admitted there was still a lack of clarity over the incident. “It’s not clear, every driver except for Max was asking for clarity,” he said. “It’s still not clear what the limits of the track are, it’s clearly not the white line any more when overtaking, so we just go for it. We just ask for consistency so, if it’s the same as the last race, then it should be the same for all of us.” Follow all the latest updates below:
Verstappen up to second
LAP 5/57: Verstappen now makes mincemeat of Alonso with the power of DRS down into Turn 1 and the Spaniard doesn’t fight the overtake too much at all.
In the space of five laps the context of the race now feels entirely different. With Bottas down in 11th, Hamilton has no rear-gunner to help him hold off Verstappen.
This is going to be fascinating.
Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:13
Hamilton charging out front
LAP 4/57: Hamilton meanwhile is racing away out front, and has stretched the gap out over Alonso to over four seconds.
The Mercedes man needs to increase the margin further.
Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:11
Verstappen up to third
LAP 4/57: What a start from Max Verstappen.
Pierre Gasly runs wide in the final corner and that allows Verstappen to move into third with the easiest overtake of his career.
Now only Fernando Alonso separates the Dutchman from Hamilton out front.
Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:10
Verstappen wants Gasly to move
LAP 3/57: “Already a little bit stuck here” says Max Verstappen on the team radio as he finds himself in fourth behind Pierre Gasly.
He may well just be commenting on the narrowness of the track, but that could also be a thinly-veiled message to Alpha Tauri to shift Gasly out of the way.
Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:09
Bottas and Vettel big losers so far
LAP 1/57: Valtteri Bottas endured another atrocious start once again and has dropped form sixth to 11th behind Lance Stroll, with Sebastian Vettel in the other Aston Martin dropping all the way down to 17th from 10th.
Ben Burrows21 November 2021 14:07
Alonso and Verstappen make progress
LAP 1/57: Max Verstappen enjoys an electric start and make sup three places by passing Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris to make it up to P4!
Meanwhile Fernando Alonso dives down the inside of Pierre Gasly to take second place!
Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:06
Lights out! The Qatar Grand prix is underway!
LAP 1/57: The race is underway and Lewis Hamilton has the lead out of Turn 1!
Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:05
Drivers are on the formation lap
Mechanics and engineers are moving off the grid and the drivers are now rounding the circuit on the formation lap.
Lewis Hamilton will have the longest wait of all as he slots into pole position and waits for the other drivers to find their starting spots, all the way down to Nikita Mazepin in the Haas in 20th.
Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:01
Overtaking could be difficult in Qatar
There are 16 corners around the Losail circuit but with most requiring the cars to travel at high speed, overtaking could be very difficult in Qatar, which is making its debut on the Formula 1 calendar.
There is one DRS zone on the long pit straight down into Turn 1, which will most likely represent the best opportunity for drivers to move up the order.
Making places up at the start will be crucial, so some drivers could be more willing to take a risk once the lights go out.
Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:59
Marko scathing in attack on the FIA on the grid
Helmut Marko also launched a blistering attack on the FIA on the grid after they punished Max Verstappen for ignoring yellow flags in the final part of qualifying 90 minutes before the start of the race.
Marko told DAZN: “It’s ridiculous. You know the FIA can’t organize a proper marshalling system and they are hiding their incompetence on the shoulders of the driver. Unbelievable.”
Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:54