Verstappen Wins, McLaren Double Podium in Qatar
Max Verstappen finished the weekend with a third F1 title Championship and a race will in Qatar. Verstappen dominated the race from the beginning breaking Sebastian The race featured an unfamiliar tire allocation requirement due to the excessive degradation risks at Lusail. Due to the safety concerns, an 18 lap limit was placed on all tires for the race. The mandate meant that teams would have to make a minimum of 3 pits stops to make it the full lap distance. Many teams opted for 4 stop strategies given the early safety car on the first lap of the race.
Carlos Did Not Start the Race
Due to a fuel system issue Carlos Sainz did not start the Qatar Grand Prix. Sainz was set to start P12 but the issue was discovered one hour prior to the formation lap. Thus there was not enough time for Ferrari to rectify the issue. The non start is another blow to the Ferrari side as they were beginning to close the gap to Mercedes in the constructors championship. However on the opening lap of the race the Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton collided taking Hamilton out of the race and dropping Russell outside of the points.
One man who benefited from this greatly is Sergio Perez. With Lewis Hamilton starting the race 29 points behind Perez a DNF eliminated one more chance to cut into Perez’s lead. Perez finished the race P10 allowing him to recover 1 point he previously lost to Hamilton in the sprint race yesterday. He will maintain a 30 point lead over Hamilton despite being issued another 5 second penalty after the race.
The McLaren’s put together a perfectly crafted double points finish. Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris finishing P2 and P3 behind Verstappen. The final stint by the pair on hard tires brought them to the front of the pack. In fourth was George Russell who salvaged his race after having crashed into Lewis Hamilton on the first lap. Russell held off Leclerc eliminating any points gain from Ferrari on the day with Sainz out of the race.
Logan Sargeant Ends Race Due to Health Concerns
Despite his best efforts track conditions ended the race for Logan Sargeant. He was complaining about vision and heat exhaustion symptoms that created an unsafe driving experience for him. Despite wanting to continue he eventually retired from the race.
Multiple drivers were issue time penalties for exceeding track limits. No other safety cars were deployed after the first lap.