Lewis Hamilton Claims Victory In First Qatar Grand Prix

By Robert Haile

Two races are left to decide whether it’s eight championships or the first.

After Pierre Gasly puncture in qualifying Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas both received penalties for not slowing when the yellow flag.

Bottas will start three places back in sixth while Verstappen starts five back in seventh, the harsher penalty due to the yellow flag being waved.

This made little difference as Lewis Hamilton completed a dominant weekend by leading from start to finish keeping Fernando Alonso, in third, and Gasly, in second, behind him.

Race winner Hamilton said: “It’s been a hell of a year so to be at this point of the season and have back-to-back wins is a great feeling.

“It was a pretty straight forward race for me, a little bit lonely but of course, we needed those points, so a really solid job by the team.

“A big thank you to everyone trackside and back at the factories for all their hard work.

“I’m really grateful for these points and it’s amazing to be able to close the gap so much in the last two weeks.

“We’ve still got our work cut out, but we’re loving such a close battle and the challenge that it brings.

“It was a real shame for Valtteri today, having to retire, but the pace was good this weekend and that puts us in good stead for the next two races.

“We’ll be bringing our triple a-game for those.”

Verstappen was up to second by the fifth lap and that is as far as he got and would take his place on the podium with Fernando Alonso as he took third and returned to the top three for the first time since 2014.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finished fourth with Esteban Ocon’s Alpine fifth and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll sixth.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished seventh and eighth ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris extended Ferrari’s lead in the battle for third.

Completing the top ten was Sebastian Vettel scoring the final point of the race.

AlphaTauri’s Gasly finished eleventh with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the second AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda in twelfth.

The outgoing Alfa Romeo pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished fourteenth and fifteenth with Mick Schumacher’s Haas finishing in front of Williams George Russell and teammate Nikita Mazepin.

Williams Nicholas Latifi and Mercedes Bottas did not finish the race.

After the race Verstappen’s lead was cut to eight points while Mercedes lead in the constructors was cut down to five.

With two races left both championships will go down to the wire as the teams head to Saudi Arabia over December 3-5.