Qatar Grand Prix LIVE: Latest F1 updates

Qatar Grand Prix LIVE: Latest F1 updates
Follow all the action as the F1 season approaches a thrilling climax

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F1 Rejects Mercedes’ Request To Review Verstappen’s Brazil Move

Follow all the action from the Qatar Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton starts on pole ahead of Max Verstappen as the Formula One season approaches a thrilling climax.

In search of a record-breaking eighth world championship, Hamilton trails Verstappen by 14 points in the drivers’ standings with just three races remaining of the season. However, after his stunning victory in Brazil, where Hamilton came from tenth on the grid to take victory, the momentum is firmly with the Mercedes driver. He followed up that performance with a dominant display in qualifying on Saturday, finishing four-tenths quicker than his title rival to take pole.

Overtaking is expected to be tricky on the Losail circuit, with teams likely to take a one-stop strategy, meaning there will be more pressure than ever on the approach into turn one. Verstappen escaped punishment after appearing to run Hamilton off the track in Brazil and the Briton admitted there was still a lack of clarity over the incident. “It’s not clear, every driver except for Max was asking for clarity,” he said. “It’s still not clear what the limits of the track are, it’s clearly not the white line any more when overtaking, so we just go for it. We just ask for consistency so, if it’s the same as the last race, then it should be the same for all of us.” Follow all the latest updates below:

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Drivers are on the formation lap

Mechanics and engineers are moving off the grid and the drivers are now rounding the circuit on the formation lap.

Lewis Hamilton will have the longest wait of all as he slots into pole position and waits for the other drivers to find their starting spots, all the way down to Nikita Mazepin in the Haas in 20th.

Dan Austin21 November 2021 14:01
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Overtaking could be difficult in Qatar

There are 16 corners around the Losail circuit but with most requiring the cars to travel at high speed, overtaking could be very difficult in Qatar, which is making its debut on the Formula 1 calendar.

There is one DRS zone on the long pit straight down into Turn 1, which will most likely represent the best opportunity for drivers to move up the order.

Making places up at the start will be crucial, so some drivers could be more willing to take a risk once the lights go out.

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:59
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Marko scathing in attack on the FIA on the grid

Helmut Marko also launched a blistering attack on the FIA on the grid after they punished Max Verstappen for ignoring yellow flags in the final part of qualifying 90 minutes before the start of the race.

Marko told DAZN: “It’s ridiculous. You know the FIA can’t organize a proper marshalling system and they are hiding their incompetence on the shoulders of the driver. Unbelievable.”

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:54
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Marko talking with Gasly and Tost

The had of Red Bull’s young driver programme Dr. Helmut Marko has been talking with sister team Alpha Tauri’s team principal Franz Tost and front row started Pierre Gasly on the grid ahead of lights out.

Gasly could help out Max Verstappen enormously by causing Lewis Hamilton problems into Turn 1, but Alpha Tauri need to manage their own race too.

Hamilton has the threat of a Red Bull sister car directly behind him, and an enormously racey former rival in Fernando Alonso starting from third. The start could be electric.

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:53
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Lando Norris weighs up chances ahead of race start

Lando Norris has been telling Damon Hill and Jenson Button about his strategy, with ten minutes to go until lights out at Losail.

“We’re thinking about Gasly and Fernando, the guys we’re really racing today” the McLaren driver said. “I’ll have one eye on behind. Carlos has a nice starting position on the clean side of the grid. Already some drivers were struggling [physically] yesterday, and because of the circuit and temperature it will be hard today.”

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:48
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Fernando Alonso talks up chances into Turn 1

Fernando Alonso has been talking to Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, where he will start third for the first time since 2013 with Ferrari.

“We were happy with P5, but P3 is another 60 metres ahead,” the Spaniard said. “Lewis will start with the medium tyre, Gasly on the wrong side, we’ll see. It’s a lovely track, long corners, you can lean on the car and the tyres. Action is going to be difficult to follow.”

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:39
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Verstappen can seriously challenge if he clears Bottas

That grid order switch could be absolutely crucial, as Max Verstappen now has a stronger chance of leap-frogging Valtteri Bottas off the start.

The Finn has struggled with race starts all season long but will be instructed by his Mercedes bosses that blocking Verstappen and helping Hamilton is his major responsibility this afternoon.

If Verstappen can clear Bottas into Turn 1, he will be able to attack the likes of Sainz and Norris ahead. With Norris, Gasly and Alonso due to stop earlier on the soft tyres while Verstappen will be using the mediums, he could still challenge Hamilton if Bottas can’t help his team-mate out.

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:28
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Bottas and Sainz grid order swapped

Valtteri Bottas will now start sixth with Carlos Sainz in fifth after a late change to the final grid order from the FIA.

The provisional order had the Finn ahead, but he will now line up directly ahead of Verstappen without the buffer of the Ferrari in between. The final grid order for the top ten is:

1) Hamilton

2) Gasly

3) Alonso

4) Norris

5) Sainz

6) Bottas

7) Verstappen

8) Tsunoda

9) Ocon

10) Vettel

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:23
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How Sergio Pérez could come into play

Another significant disadvantage Verstappen has is that team-mate Sergio Pérez starts a lowly eleventh after failing to progress into Q3 during yesterday’s qualifying session.

The Mexican won’t be able to prevent the Mercedes adopting a pincer strategy on his 24-year-old team-mate, where each of Hamilton and Bottas takes a different strategy with Verstappen unable to cover off both on his own.

What could benefit Pérez, and in turn Verstappen, is the fact that the former Racing Point driver starts on the medium tyres. If he can overtake the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda ahead, Pérez could run very long on those mediums and try to disrupt the Mercedes ahead after they pit.

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:21
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Bottas must hold-off Verstappen for Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas’ objective at Losail this afternoon is to keep Max Verstappen behind him so that the Dutchman can’t progress up the order and eventually challenge Lewis Hamilton.

An hour ago Bottas was set to start third, a place behind the Red Bull man, but their respective penalties mean Bottas is now at P5 and Verstappen P7.

Carlos Sainz sits between them and Verstappen will need to dispatch the Spaniard as soon as possible so he can face-off with Bottas, who has struggled consistently with his starts throughout the entire season.

Dan Austin21 November 2021 13:17

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