Qatar GP: Verstappen cruises to victory, Mercedes drivers collide

    McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris completed the podium at Qatar.

    Published On Oct 09, 2023 11:21:00 AM

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    Max Verstappen capped off winning the 2023 F1 title with a commanding victory at the Qatar GP. McLaren continued their resurgent form, with Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris completing the podium, while Lewis Hamilton was eliminated on the opening lap itself following a collision with teammate George Russell.

    1. Verstappen wins 4.833 secs ahead of Piastri
    2. Russell recovers to P4

    Tyre life limit heightens gruelling conditions at Qatar

    Ahead of the race, a maximum tyre life of 18 laps was imposed after concerns over tyre delamination. This, combined with the humid conditions and the high-speed nature of the Lusail Circuit, resulted in a gruelling race for the drivers.

    The shorter stints meant tyre conservation was thrown out of the window, with more flat-out sprints in between pit stops. Speaking after the race, Charles Leclerc even called this the “toughest race” of his career. Rookie Logan Sargeant retired midway after feeling unwell.

    Despite all of this, Red Bull and Verstappen pulled off another controlled and commanding win (Verstappen’s 14th so far this season). “I think what made the race was my first stint,” Verstappen explained. “After that I could just manage my pace, making sure that my tyres were always in a good window. But the McLarens were quick again today, I had to push for it, so it was definitely a tough race out there.”

    Hamilton takes responsibility for collision with Russell

    Both Verstappen and Russell on the front row started the race on medium tyres, while Hamilton opted for the more aggressive softs. However, the seven-time world champion retired just moments after the start.

    Hamilton tried to go around the outside of Russell through Turn 1, but the two made contact in the bottleneck. While Hamilton was out on the spot, Russell dropped down the order as he had to pit for repairs. Reflecting on the incident, Hamilton said, “Massive apologies to everyone back at the factory. I think it was probably just a racing incident. I take full responsibility for it. I don’t think George had anywhere to go.”

    This gave McLaren the perfect opportunity to claim another double podium finish. Piastri backed up his sprint victory with a P2 finish in the race, ahead of his teammate Norris. This places McLaren just 11 points behind Aston Martin in the constructors’ standings with five more rounds to go.

    Russell did pull off an impressive recovery to finish fourth. Charles Leclerc was fifth for Ferrari; Carlos Sainz didn’t even make it to the start after Ferrari discovered a fuel system issue on his car. Fernando Alonso finished sixth, ahead of Esteban Ocon and the Alfa Romeo pair of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.

    It was a tough race for Sergio Perez. He had to start from the pit lane after Red Bull was forced to make major changes to his car following his sprint crash. To add to this, he was also hit with multiple time penalties for track limit violations. Nevertheless, he could salvage a top 10 finish.

    F1 will now head to Austin for the American GP on October 20-22.

    2023 Qatar GP results

    2023 Qatar GP results
    PosDriverTeam
    1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
    2Oscar PiastriMcLaren
    3Lando NorrisMcLaren
    4George RussellMercedes
    5Charles LeclercFerrari
    6Fernando AlonsoAston Martin
    7Esteban OconAlpine
    8Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo
    9Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo
    10Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing
    11Lance StrollAston Martin
    12Pierre GaslyAlpine
    13Alex AlbonWilliams
    14Kevin MagnussenHaas
    15Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri
    16Nico HulkenbergHaas
    17Liam LawsonAlphaTauri
    NCLogan SargeantWilliams
    NCLewis HamiltonMercedes
    DNSCarlos SainzFerrari

    Also see:

    Verstappen seals 2023 F1 title as Piastri wins Qatar sprint

    Red Bull are the 2023 F1 champions as Verstappen wins in Japan

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