Qatar GP: Max Verstappen claims 14th win of memorable title-winning marketing campaign

Newly-crowned three-time world champion Max Verstappen cruised to his 14th win of an excellent season for Crimson Bull on Sunday when he gained an exhausting, frantic and infrequently complicated Qatar Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old Dutchman, who secured his third straight title win in Saturday’s dash race, got here house 4.838 seconds away from McLaren’s rookie Oscar Piastri, who gained Saturday’s dash, and lapped his Crimson Bull team-mate, erstwhile title rival, Sergio Perez.

Lando Norris completed third within the second McLaren forward of Mercedes’ George Russell, who survived a first-corner crash with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who retired within the gravel.

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Components 1: Oscar Piastri on pole place for Qatar GP’s dash race as Max Verstappen closes in on title

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the Italian crew’s solely runner after Carlos Sainz withdrew as a result of gas points earlier than the beginning, completed fifth forward of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon of Alpine.

Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo was eighth, Perez got here house ninth and Zhou Guanyu tenth within the second Alfa Romeo, however their positions have been reversed as a result of Mexican’s time penalties.

It was Verstappen’s forty ninth profession victory and got here full with pole place and quickest lap, giving him a traditional hat-trick to mark his triple title triumph.

“I believe what made my race was my first stint,” mentioned Verstappen. “After that I might handle the tempo and maintain the tyres in window, however the McLarens have been fast and actually pushed me.”

Piastri, reflecting the emotions of all of the drivers, mentioned: “It was so scorching. With three stops, it was flat out each lap so it was like 57 qualifying laps… I’m comfortable, but it surely was the toughest race of my life.”

Norris mentioned: “Properly, I’m sweaty, scorching, drained and comfortable.”

– Mercedes chaos –
After one other sweltering day, the air temperature was 32 and the observe 37 when the race started in sensational vogue as the 2 Mercedes collided at Flip One in an accident that despatched seven-time world champion Hamilton spinning out of the race.

Verstappen had made an ideal begin and Hamilton, the one front-runner on smooth tyres, tried to brush spherical the skin of Russell, however succeeded solely in steering his rear-right tyre into his compatriot’s entrance wing.

The affect despatched each automobiles spinning. Hamilton flew off, however Russell recovered to proceed and make a pit cease as a security automotive was deployed.

After muttered complaints, Russell apologised, but it surely appeared that he had nowhere to go in an incident which, for Mercedes, revived recollections of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix when Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg collided and retired on the first nook.

The winner on that day, claiming his maiden victory, was a then-18-year-old Verstappen.

After 4 laps, the protection automotive got here in and the race restarted with Verstappen blasting away from Piastri to open up a lead of 1.2 seconds with Alonso third.

This transfer adopted Saturday’s revision of the marked observe limits and kerbs that had broken the partitions of a number of automobiles’ tyres on Friday and meant all of the groups needed to undertake a minimal three-stop technique.

Perez, who began from the pit-lane following automotive modifications after his crash in Saturday’s dash, additionally sliced by means of the sector to achieve third earlier than, on lap 18, after Verstappen pitted, Williams’ Alex Albon took the lead and Perez fell, after a cease, to sixteenth.

Albon pitted inside a lap and Verstappen was again in cost forward of Piastri and Alonso, all on a three-stop technique.

Along with the frantic tactical problem of the brand new tyre guidelines, a number of drivers have been proven a black and white warning flag for exceeding observe limits –- that means a repeat transgression would deliver a five-second penalty.

For Perez, this duly got here as Verstappen’s domination continued.

By lap 30, he was 22 seconds away from Russell as he set a report for laps led in a season together with his 740th in command, beating the 2013 report set by four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.

The demanding situations took their toll on the drivers. Alonso went off at Flip Two and survived a gravel lure earlier than re-joining through an escape highway after which Logan Sargeant reported feeling nauseous and vomiting in his helmet.

“I don’t really feel effectively, man,” mentioned Sargeant. “I have to cease.”

On lap 42, he retired and Perez collected one other five-second penalty.

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