One day after becoming Formula 1 world champion, the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won the Qatar Grand Prix, this Sunday in the night race held at the Lusail circuit.
After starting from pole position, Verstappen signed his 14th victory in 17 races this year, ahead of the McLarens of Australian Oscar Piastri and the British Lando Norris.
«The McLarens were again very fast today and made the race difficult for me. There are still races and I want to win them," said Verstappen, about the five grand prix that remain until the end of the season, in which he could 'burn' some records after becoming champion on Saturday during the sprint race.
This Sunday the 'standard' race was complicated due to the numerous stops at the drivers' stands.
– The Mercedes crash –
Due to doubts about the degradation of the Pirelli tires in Lusail, the FIA took action and imposed on the teams the obligation to stop three times, in addition to not being able to use the same tires for more than 18 laps, under penalty of disqualification. in a race that counted 57.
Things soon began to happen: in the first corner the Mercedes of the British George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who started from second and third position, collided, causing the second to abandon the car and the safety car to go out.
When Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, tried to overtake on the outside, Russell found himself blocked between his teammate and Verstappen. The two Silver Arrows spun.
Hamilton seemed upset on the radio. When his engineer asked him if he was okay, he only responded: "I was forced to leave because of my own partner."
This abandonment is a hard blow for Hamilton, who is fighting for second place in the World Championship with Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and who had a good opportunity to reduce the difference because the Mexican started from the last position after being sanctioned.
Fortunately for Hamilton, Pérez, who had a 29-point lead before the race, finished tenth after receiving three five-second penalties for not respecting the track limits, which prevented him from entering the points.
– Sainz offside –
Hamilton was more conciliatory at the end of the day: «At the time I thought it had been like that (it was Russell's fault) but it was a race incident. I am prepared to take responsibility. It was very tight and George had nowhere to go. He wanted to attack and pass in front, but clearly it is not a good result.
Russell saved the day for Mercedes with an important fourth place, given the circumstances, but the German team lost a good opportunity to distance itself from Ferrari in the race for second place in the Constructors' World Championship.
The Scuderia only had one car this Sunday because Carlos Sainz had "a problem in the fuel system of his car," according to the team.
The Monegasque Charles Leclerc limited the losses with fifth place, just ahead of the Spanish Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin).