Max Verstappen is a three-time FIA Formula One World Champion following a podium in the Qatar Sprint. Oscar Piastri also took his first race win in Formula One, although it will not count in the records book as this was not the actual Grand Prix.
Despite not being happy with his weekend performance up until the end of Sprint Qualifying, Lando Norris would start the Sprint from second on the grid. His disappointment may have been extra fueled by his team-mate Oscar Piastri, who took Pole Position for the Sprint. Unfortunately for the Australian, this will not count towards the official Pole Position record.
At the race start it was a great start from Piastri, with George Russell taking his Mercedes up to second place as Liam Lawson went flying off into the gravel at the rear of the pack. The safety car came out with Sainz and Leclerc following behind the top two with Champion-elect Verstappen in fifth place. Norris would be disappointed with his start, dropping to sixth place.
While all eyes were on the battle between Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso, Russell was able to sneak past Piastri for the race lead. The British driver on the soft compound, compared to the medium on the McLaren.
Logan Sargeant was the next driver to end up in the gravel, which brought the safety car out once again with only three laps complete.
With Verstappen back to winning ways in Japan following a disappointing streak-ending defeat in Singapore, it was clear that he still had a point to prove as he carved through the Ferrari’s and onto the podium. The Dutch driver only needed three points and a top-six finish was all he required.
Then Piastri got past Russell and back into the lead of the race and just a few seconds later Norris managed to get past Leclerc, moving up to fifth place.
Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg then tangled and both ended up in the gravel, an incident that would crown Max Verstappen a three-time World Champion. The Haas driver was the filling in a Red Bull/Alpine sandwich but did manage to keep going.
Despite being made Champion, Verstappen still wanted the race victory and would soon get past Russell and began to close down Piastri, with just under two and a half seconds separating the pair at that point.
Piastri would eventually take the race victory, with his team-mate Lando Norris joining him and Verstappen on the podium.
It was a Mercedes 4-5, with Russell beating Hamilton, while Sainz got the better of Leclerc, taking sixth place with Leclerc in seventh. Alex Albon was the final point scorer with only the top eight getting points in the Sprint. However, Leclerc had four track limit infringements on the final lap and was handed a post-race time penalty of five seconds. Therefore, Albon moved to P7 and Fernando Alonso inherited the final points-paying position.