GP Qatar F1 (race): victory for Hamilton and Alonso third!

Impressive the race starring Fernando Alonso (Alpine), who after a race at a very high level, with a very good pace, managed to cross the finish line third, after making only one stop. Alonso had not been on the podium since the 2014 Hungarian GP. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) claimed his 102nd F1 victory, and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) was third after setting the fastest lap on the last lap.

In fourth place, Checo Pérez (Red Bull) qualified, who could not beat Alonso, followed by Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) was seventh …

The distance between Hamilton, current world leader, and Max Verstappen is 8 points with two races to go. A very exciting F1 championship final remains.

Fernando Alonso was chosen “pilot of the day”.

Qatar GP podium, with Fernando Alonso in 3rd position with Hamilton and Verstappen
Qatar GP podium, with Fernando Alonso in 3rd position with Hamilton and Verstappen

The grid underwent some changes in the first positions with respect to the rating position. Some pilots like Bottas and Verstappen, did not obey the yellow flags in Q3, when Gasly was standing on the finish line. Bottas was suspended from 3rd to 6th on the grid, while Verstappen dropped from 2nd to 7th. In the case of Carlos Sainz, who did raise his foot when he saw the Alpha Turi, did not receive any sanction, and gained two positions: from 7th to 5th, as Alonso, from the 5th to the 3rd. Pierre Gasly For his part, the author of the whole problem, also won two positions: from 4th to 2nd, and came after the poleman, Lewis Hamilton. This is your best spot on an F1 starting grid.

In which to tires refers and among the top 10, with the medium compound they started: Hamilton (1st), Sainz (5th), Bottas (6th), Verstappen (7th) … and with the soft: Gasly (2nd), Alonso (3rd), Norris (4th), Tsunoda (8th), Ocon (9th) and Vettel (10th).

In the Exit, Hamilton continued with his first position, while Alonso went up to second after overtaking Gasly. Behind, Max Verstappen, who rose from 7th to 4th, while Sainz dropped to 7th and Bottas to 11th. On lap 3, Gasly impersonated Verstappen, and thus the one of Red Bull was already third; his target was Alonso, who was only 1 second away. A twist later Verstappen overtook Alonso, was already second behind Hamilton, and had it to 4.2 seconds. Behind, Checo Pérez overtook Sainz, but the Spaniard from Ferrari regained seventh position. His teammate Charles Leclerc climbed to 12th place, behind Bottas, who was still 11th.

2 Fernando Alonso happy on the grid by winning two positions, from 5th to 3rd
Fernando Alonso happy on the grid to win two positions, from 5th to 3rd

By radio, Max Verstappen asked to have his front wing checked, and they told him to avoid getting on the pianos, it seemed that he had damaged it. Checo Pérez on lap 8, finally overtook Sainz, and placed 7th. From behind, Bottas was ahead and climbed to 9th, while his teammate Hamilton was increasingly leading, he was setting fast laps and his distance with Verstappen after lap 10 was more than 5 seconds.

Bottas, continued with his own fight and on lap 14 he was already 7th, after beating Sainz. On the radio they told him that his objective was “the third position”, he was already going for it. And ahead, Pérez was already fourth, he was going for Alonso. It was proving that against all predictions, overtaking was easier than expected at Losail.

On lap 17, Verstappen went into the pits and placed a game of hard. The distance he had at that time with the leader, Hamilton, was more than 9 seconds. When he returned to the track he was 34, and he was still second ahead of Alonso. Hamilton entered a lap later, copying Verstappen’s strategy, and on his return to the track the distance was still 9 seconds. On the radio he told them it was too early a stop.

Checo Pérez stopped, doing an “undercut” to Alonso, and when he returned to the track he was 12th. Alonso was still third behind Hamilton and Verstappen, whose distance was slightly shorter, 8 seconds. Alonso’s pace was very good, it remained without problems in the third position. Bottas overtook Norris and was placed behind Alonso, he was 11 seconds behind on lap 22. Until the Alpine pitted and also mounted some hard. When he returned he was eighth, after Leclerc, with Pérez behind him after beating Ricciardo.

At Ferrari they prepared for a double stop: Sainz entered before Leclerc. At his exit, the Spaniard was 10th and the Monegasque 13th. Pérez surpassed Alonso and was already fourth, although he would later win another place, because Bottas, who was running in third position, was the only one who had not stopped, and everything had to be expected that he was going to a single stop, the same as other pilots . The degradation was being less than expected.

On lap 33, something unexpected and at the same time expected happened: Valtteri Bottas suffered a punctureI had been on medium tires for a long time. He left the track and went to the pits. He lost a lot of time in the garage, where the front wing was also changed, and from third position he dropped to thirteenth.

5 Bottas puncture when he was 3rd.  Coming out of the pits it was 13th
Bottas puncture when he was 3rd. Coming out of the pits it was 13th

The fourth position of Fernando Alonso was increasingly solidas Gasly, who was behind him, stopped for the second time to change tires. At that moment – lap 36 – he was behind Norris 8 seconds behind. The other Spaniard, Carlos Sainz, was eighth, with Stroll 7 seconds ahead.

With 16 laps to go, Verstappen reported on the radio that his wheels were no longer running well, and Hamilton said the same shortly after. Both were afraid that the same thing that could happen to Bottas, but Bottas’s Pirellis were the mediums and Hamilton and Verstappen’s were the tough ones. And that’s when on lap 41 Verstappen entered, and a lap later was made by his teammate Pérez, and also by Hamilton. Neither wanted to risk. Would Alonso, who was back in third place again? Pérez, from 7th place, set the fastest lap (v. 43), he wanted to get closer to the leaders again. And Alonso on the radio, said to ask Ocon, who was 5th, to hold on, so that the Red Bull would not approach him. But it was difficult, Pérez surpassed Stroll and already had him in his sights, until despite the total fight between the two, Pérez advanced to Ocon, and was already going for Norris. In the lead, Hamilton set a fast lap and the next Verstappen, they wanted the point at stake, they took 8 seconds.

4 Pérez overtook Alonso on lap 28 and placed fourth
Pérez overtook Alonso on lap 28 and placed fourth

There were 7 laps left and Norris, who was fourth behind Alonso, entered to put new tires. Pérez was then free after Alonso, who was still third, had him 13 seconds away. Bottas definitively quit, while Russell suffered a puncture like his, in the front left tire. Shortly after, his partner Latifi also prodded. Alonso had a dilemma, and so did Sainz: to go into the pits or not to put on new tires? There were only 4 laps left, and Alonso had the podium in his hand.

It was then that the “Virtual safety car” because Latifi’s car was stopped on the side of the track. Vestappen took advantage and went in to change tires again, in order to mark the fastest lap and score 1 more point. The “virtual” was very good for Alonso, everyone slowed down and so their tires held a little longer.

And that’s how Lewis Hamilton got his 102nd win, Verstappen set the fastest lap at 57 and was second, and Fernando Alonso was third !. Behind, Pérez fourth, followed by Ocon, Stroll, Sainz 7th, Leclerc, Norris, Vettel …

RACE CLASSIFICATION (57 laps):

  • 1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 W12 EQ Power + 57v
  • 2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16B 25.743
  • 3 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A521 59.457
  • 4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16B 1’02.306
  • 5 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A521 1’20.570
  • 6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR21 1’21.274
  • 7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 57 1’21.911
  • 8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 57 1’23.126
  • 9 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL35M 56 1 v
  • 10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR21 56 1 v

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