Lewis Hamilton wins the Qatar Grand Prix from pole to cut Max Verstappen’s title lead to just eight points.
‘Let’s Keep Pushing, We Can Do This’ – Lewis Hamilton Resilient
After starting on pole, Lewis Hamilton didn’t relinquish the lead of the Qatar Grand Prix. It was a parade for the current World Champion who was under no threat whatsoever throughout.
This was what we have been used to seeing in recent years, Hamilton making it look so easy to get the win. However, this year he still finds himself behind Max Verstappen in the Driver’s Championship.
After the race, Hamilton was incredibly focussed on his team radio. He sent a message to Verstappen, Red Bull and his fans saying, ‘Let’s keep pushing, we can do this.’ The title fight is going down to the wire and Hamilton still believes he can triumph after back-to-back race wins in Brazil and now Qatar.
Max Verstappen – Damage Limitation
Despite qualifying second, Verstappen found himself 7th on the grid after a five-place grid penalty for ignoring double waved yellow flags in qualifying. Thankfully for the Dutchman, Valtteri Bottas also had a penalty, three places for ignoring a single waved yellow in qualifying.
It was a sensational start for Verstappen who charged up to second place inside the opening five laps. After that though, he just couldn’t make any inroads into Hamilton’s lead and secured a comfortable, but well-earned P2. He had had the time to pit for soft tyres and not lose a position, so he did just that. Taking the softs to secure the bonus point for fastest lap.
Fernando Alonso – Driver of the Day
For the first time since 2014, Fernando Alonso set foot on the podium after a fantastic race. He started third on the soft tyres, and remarkably managed to nurse the car home despite an audacious one stop strategy.
Hungary was the last place he took the podium and this was his first since returning to Formula One. Rightfully so, he was voted as Driver of the Day by supporters for his brilliant drive.
He had a stroke of luck though, Sergio Perez was closing up on fresh tyres, but a virtual safety car saved the Spaniard in the closing laps. Perez had no time left after it finished to have a look at Alonso and has to settle for P4.
Disaster for Valtteri Bottas
After his penalty, he couldn’t make the places back up like Verstappen. One of his flaws is when he gets a slow start, he struggles to get going. After dropping from 6th to 11th on the opening lap, he took a while to move through the field.
He finally started moving up and found himself P3 (without stopping) and was in contention for some good points. Then, after the disastrous start, his misery was compounded. On turn seven he got a puncture on the front left and crawled back for a change. Then out of the points, the damage from the puncture was terminal and the car had to be retired.
Bottas wasn’t the only driver to suffer a puncture. Similarly to the Finn, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi suffered front left punctures. McLaren felt Lando Norris was at risk of suffering the same fate and called him in on lap 50 before anything could happen.
Lewis Hamilton was full of praise for his team: “It was a pretty straightforward race in the end and it was a great job by the team because we really needed the points today. To get back-to-back wins is a great feeling and sets us up well for the final two races.”
Max Verstappen was satisfied with his day: “Luckily we had a really good start. At the end of the day to get the fastest lap was very nice.”
Fernando Alonso couldn’t hide his delight, grinning from ear-to-ear saying: “It’s been seven years but finally we got there [a podium finish]! I’m so happy for the team. The team were excellent and the reliability of the car is great at the moment. I’ve waited so long for this and I’m so happy!”
FINAL CLASSIFICATION: QATAR 🏁
Lewis wins again and closes the gap – and Fernando's back on the podium 👀
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 21, 2021
Lewis Hamilton Wins in Formula One for the 102nd time to match his 102 pole positions, who wins the title from here?
Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images