Lewis Hamilton wins the Qatar Grand Prix comfortably.
By George Ferreira
Lewis Hamilton saw out a comfortable lights-to-flag win in the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix closing the championship standing gap to title rival Max Verstappen, who himself managed a second-place finish and fastest lap of the race after starting in P7 due to being given a five-place penalty in qualifying after failing to respect double waved yellow flags. The podium was rounded out with Fernando Alonso of Alpine finishing third, a first podium for the Spanish driver since the 2014 Hungarian Grand prix, it was also the second podium finish for Alpine in the 2021 season.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez came in fourth after the decision for a second pit stop and a virtual safety car prevented him from being able to attack Alonso for third place. Valtteri Bottas after also receiving a 3 place penalty in qualifying for failing to respect single waved yellow flags which saw him begin in 6th place, had found himself comfortable in third until on the 35th lap of the race where he had a puncture on his front tyre forcing him to pit and falling all the way down to 14th, however it seemed the puncture caused further damage on the car as Mercedes decided to retire the Finnish driver as he could not get into the points and was losing time during his laps.
Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished 8th and 9th a relief for The Prancing Horse after Sainz missed the radio call from the team telling him to pit. Sainz stated that “we need to review what happened there with the radio because I did not hear the box call and maybe we lost out a bit by that call.” With McLaren’s Lando Norris finishing 9th and Daniel Ricciardo finishing out of the points in 12th it meant McLaren finished with only two points from the weekend which means Ferrari are more comfortable in third place of the constructors championship.
Lance Stroll labelled Sunday’s Grand Prix as a ‘great day’ after he led Aston Martin to a double points finish with the Canadian taking p6 and Sebastian Vettel taking P10 whilst completing a successful one stop strategy. Stroll was ecstatic as he stated, “it was a great result, and a great race, the car was really good today.” With the car feeling good Stroll was able to undercut Carlos Sainz during his pit stop to guarantee P6. Sebastian Vettel was able to perform an incredible come back race after falling from P10 to P17 at the end of lap 1. This is the third time this season that both Aston Martin drivers have scored points in a race after Monaco and France. Aston Martin find themselves in P7 in the constructors championship and 35 point adrift of the AlphaTauri team.
The Qatar Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton win back-to-back races after his spectacular come back race in Brazil the week before. After the race Toto Wolff pointed to the disqualification in Brazil as the catalyst for Hamilton’s improved performances, he stated that “ He’s totally in the zone… they woke up the lion, they have woken up the lion on the Saturday in Interlagos. He is absolutely on it, brutal and cold-blooded. And this is the best in Lewis, We have seen it in the past, he is right there. When adversity happens, it takes him to a place where he is able to mobilise superhero powers, and it was the adversity that triggered that in Interlagos.” The win sees Lewis only 8 points behind championship leader Verstappen heading into Saudi Arabia. Wolff joked that Mercedes will be bringing their ‘rocket’ engine to Saudi Arabia, but he will more than likely be hoping that Lewis Hamilton brings his new found superpowers to Saudi Arabia as he looks to win a record breaking 8th world championship.