Photo: Red Bull Media House

F1 Qatar GP: Verstappen wins as McLaren complete double podium

Max Verstappen took victory in Qatar, his 14th in a row when he has started on pole position. The three-time World Champion was joined on the podium once again by the McLaren duo of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris.


Carlos Sainz was unable to start the Grand Prix due to a fuel systems issue with his Ferrari, a real disappointment for the Spanish driver who was hoping to improve after a challenging qualifying session.


At the race start it was the newly crowned three-time World Champion, Max Verstappen on pole in his Red Bull alongside the Mercedes of George Russell. While Verstappen kept the race lead into turn one, Russell’s Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton tried to go around the outside of the corner, with Russell being the filling in a ten-time World Champion sandwich. Verstappen managed to escape contact, but the Mercedes duo collided with both being sent in a spin. Russell was able to rejoin, while Hamilton was stuck in the gravel with a tyre missing of his car.

With Fernando Alonso being blocked by the spinning Russell, it allowed Oscar Piastri to move up to second place in his McLaren before the safety car was brought out. The stewards deemed the turn-one incident a racing incident. Another thing to note from the race start was that Nico Hulkenberg parked his Haas in the wrong grid slot, being confused by the absent Sainz and being handed a ten-second time penalty.


With there not being much action other than pit stops, the track limits issue was the thing most people were keeping an eye on. On lap 28, Sergio Perez was handed a five-second time penalty while he was in fourth place, moving up to third a few corners later as Norris dived into the pitlane. The Mexican driver would later be handed another five-second time penalty for a further track limits infringement.


Fernando Alonso had a few adventures in his Aston Martin and on lap 34 he was in the gravel before rejoining in front of Leclerc at the end of the escape road. This incident was noted by the race stewards.

There was also concern for Logan Sargeant who began feeling unwell during the race. His Williams team gave him the option to retire as he was running down in 18th and last place but he opted to stay out. However, he would later retire on lap 41.

As the race went on, the black and white flag was out more frequently and Lance Stroll was the next driver to be handed a five-second time penalty for track limit violations. Pierre Gasly was also given a time penalty a short time afterwards, again for track limit infringements. Next up, Alexander Albon on lap 49 was shown a black and white flag earlier in the race.

With only a few laps remaining, Lance Stroll was handed yet another time penalty for track limit violations, with the Canadian running in ninth place.


Max Verstappen took victory ahead of the McLaren duo of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. Despite putting on a set of soft tyres for his final stint, Russell finished in fourth place which was a strong effort after dropping to the back of the grid following the lap one incident.

Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll and Piere Gasly crossed the line as the points scorers. However, with penalties applied, it was Perez ninth and Zhou 10th, with Stroll and Gasly moving to 11th and 12th.

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