F1: Commanding win for Lewis Hamilton at inaugural Formula One race in Qatar
Sunday 21st Nov – It was a commanding win for Lewis in Qatar, taking the 102nd victory of his F1 career and 81st for the Mercedes F1 Team. This is also the 30th different track he has won at. As day turned to night, the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix got underway.
Lewis had a strong start and quickly established a healthy lead, with Verstappen pitting on lap 17 for the Hard tyre, the Team reacted by changing Lewis’ tyres on the next lap, retaining his advantage. The gap between the two fluctuated as they negotiated traffic, but Lewis continued to control the pace.
Reacting to Verstappen’s second stop, pitting Lewis for Mediums on lap 43 he was then able to stretch out his advantage, eventually finishing the race 25.7 seconds ahead of Verstappen after the Red Bull’s late third stop.
Phil Neale, Electronics Technician, accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the Team.
Max Verstappen (351.5 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 8 points from Lewis (343.5 points) with Valtteri (203 points) in P3.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (546.5 points) lead Red Bull (541.5 points) by 5 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Lewis Hamilton – 1st
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.
MAX VERSTAPPEN, 2nd
“I’m of course happy with the result today. This weekend has been quite difficult for us as a Team and we are still lacking pace, I tried everything I could after the five-place grid penalty so to finish in second and score the fastest lap is really good. I had an exciting start and I knew that the first few laps were really important, I had a good launch and I was fairly quickly back in to second place, from there I tried to keep the gap small and that worked out quite well. I had fun today, especially when going for the fastest lap. It’s a shame that Checo didn’t make it to the podium today, he scored good points for the Team. I’m also happy for Fernando, we all know how good he is, there’s no doubt about that. For now, we need to stay focused, there are still two races left to go and a lot of things can happen, anything is possible.”
Fernando Alonso, 3rd
“It was fantastic and so good to be back on the podium. The whole team deserved it and I had to wait seven years since my last podium. I hope we don’t have to wait that long! We took a few risks with the one stop strategy, but it worked well. We had a solid pace and we did what we needed to hold on despite Perez’s return. Esteban did a great job helping us get this result and our saves were great, so kudos to the whole team. I love this track and the car has been amazing all weekend so I can’t wait to come back. There was also quite a bit of action and overtaking, which we weren’t sure about until we came. In the end, it’s a perfect weekend, we scored a lot of points in the Constructors’ Championship and we now have a good advantage over Alpha Tauri going into the last two races. ”