17/04/2024

Lewis Hamilton all smiles after winning the Qatar GP. (Photo: F1/Twitter)

Lewis Hamilton has continued to close the gap on Max Verstappen, after winning the Qatar GP with a dominant performance.

Lewis Hamilton has made it two Grand Prix wins in a row, taking out the Qatar Grand Prix after performing brilliantly all weekend, qualifying first and then leading every second of the race.

With the win, Hamilton has now closed the gap between him and title rival Max Verstappen to now only eight points with just two races remaining for the year.

Hamilton was never really threatened all race long, able to comfortably lead with a strong gap between him and second place.

Even with Verstappen trying to close the gap, it had little effect with Hamilton holding a 10-second advantage even after both had pitted on lap 19. It was a similar story when Hamilton pitted on lap 43 just after Verstappen and still came out with an 8.5-second advantage.  

This was the first time that Formula One had raced in Qatar and marks Hamilton’s 102nd victory.

The podium was rounded with Verstappen in second place and Fernando Alonso finishing in third. This was the first podium for Alonso since the Hungarian Grand Prix back in 2014.

The win helps Alpine in the Constructors Championship, who now comfortably sit in fifth position ahead of AlphaTauri on 137 points to 112.

Red Bull closing in on Constructors Championship

While it was not the result that Red Bull would have hoped for, the team walks away from the weekend with a second and fourth-place finish and now only sit five points behind Mercedes in the Constructors Championship.

Prior to the race start Red Bull and Verstappen got the unfortunate news that the Dutchman had received a five-place grid penalty for not slowing down during qualifying when yellow flags were waved.

Having to start the race in seventh place, Verstappen got off to an amazing start, climbing three spots up to fourth on the opening lap. From there he made quick work of the remaining cars in front of him, getting past Pierre Gasly on lap four and then Alonso on the next lap.

From there Verstappen was unable to close the gap between him and Hamilton, with undercut attempts proving unsuccessful. Verstappen was however able to get the fastest lap saving one point in the Driver Standings.

Teammate Sergio Perez also had an impressive performance. After starting in 11th he was able to finish the race in fourth place.   

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Ricciardo unable to get points finish

It was another uneventful Grand Prix for Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, unable to make much of an impact in Qatar. Ricciardo ultimately finished the race in 12th place, after starting in 14th.

Ricciardo got off to a poor start, dropping two places on the opening lap. It would take him until lap eight before he was able to make up for the slow start and get into 14th place.

From there Ricciardo remained out of the points, pitting on lap 27 and coming out in 15th before being able to slightly climb up the grid.

Forgettable weekend for Bottas

Like Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas also received a grid penalty prior to the Grand Prix, having to start in sixth place. It went from bad to worse from there, with Bottas having a shocking start losing five spots on the first lap and going down to 11th.

While he was able to turn his race around and get as high as fourth on lap 23, a puncture on lap 34 to his front left tyre which sent him off the track and into the pits put him back out of the points and into 14th.

Bottas was unable to make an impact from there with Mercedes ultimately deciding on lap 51 to retire him.

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