F1 Qatar Grand Prix 2021 LIVE! Hamilton wins - Race updates, result, overtakes, TV channel

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Qatar Grand Prix - LIVE!

Lewis Hamilton inched closer to the Formula One championship lead with a dominating victory Sunday in the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix to earn back-to-back wins and chip away at Max Verstappen’s points advantage.

It was the second consecutive win for Hamilton, who has trimmed 17 points from Max Verstappen’s lead in the title race in a week. Verstappen still holds an eight-point lead with two races remaining in one of the most dramatic F1 title fights in at least a decade.

The seven-time champion started from pole for Mercedes and was never challenged on the Losail International Circuit as Hamilton won his 102nd career race. It was his seventh victory of the season.

Verstappen was hit with a penalty before the race even began when he was dropped five spots on the starting grid for violating a yellow flag in Saturday’s qualifying. The Dutchman had qualified second but the stewards ordered him to drop back on the grid following Sunday hearings for Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz.

Despite the penalty, Verstappen needed only five laps to recover and drive back to where he was originally slated to start. But he still finished 25 seconds behind Hamilton in second.

Fernando Alonso of Alpine finished third for his first podium since 2014. He was aided by the pre-race penalties to Verstappen and Bottas, which moved the Spaniard up to third on the starting grid. Sergio Perez finished fourth to help Red Bull in its push to beat Mercedes for the constructors championship.

Follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below...

Read More

Qatar Grand Prix: Max Verstappen hit with five-place grid penalty for yellow flag infringement in qualifying

Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen: the battle is on for two of the greatest F1 drivers in history

Race highlights

  • Lights out!

  • Verstappen into second after strong start

  • Bottas suffers a puncture from third place!

  • Two-stop strategy for the leaders

  • Virtual safety car after multiple late punctures

  • Hamilton wins!

16:23 , Marc Mayo

Recap the action from Losail International Circuit with our Standard Sport report.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

16:18 , Marc Mayo

Strong chance that Horner reprimand might be coming after he blamed Verstappen’s five-place grid penalty earlier today on "a rogue marshal”

He said the marshal: “Stuck a flag out when he's not been instructed to by the FIA,” adding: “They've got to get control of their marshals, it's as simple as that.”

More trouble for Red Bull...

16:11 , Marc Mayo

The Championship standings after the Qatar GP

16:08 , Marc Mayo

Max Verstappen - Red Bull, 351.5 points

Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes, 343.5

Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes, 203

Sergio Perez - Red Bull, 190

Lando Norris - McLaren, 153

Charles Leclerc - Ferrari, 152

Carlos Sainz - Ferrari, 145.5

Daniel Ricciardo - McLaren, 105

Pierre Gasly - AlphaTauri, 92

Fernando Alonso - Alpine, 77

That winning feeling...

16:03 , Marc Mayo

How it all finished in Qatar

15:52 , Marc Mayo

15:46 , Marc Mayo

Here comes the celebrations! Alonso douses Verstappen and there is a satisfied smile to the Spaniard as he clutches his trophy.

15:41 , Marc Mayo

15:39 , Marc Mayo

The man of the moment - Alonso says: “Unbelievable, seven years...

“Honestly I thought I could be leading after Lap 1, and then Checo was very close at the end... it was a really good Sunday. We planned one-stop but never knew about the degradation, it was well executed.

“F*** I’ve been sweating so long for this.”

15:37 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen next up, speaking underneath the podium to Jenson Button.

He says: “We had a really good start, to get that fastest lap was very nice. I know it’s going to be difficult to the end but that’s nice, it’s been very exciting.

“I feel good, it’s going to be a tight battle to the very end.”

15:36 , Marc Mayo

Hamilton in rather ominous form today. He adds: “I feel fitter than I’ve ever felt. Recovery feels great. Bring on the next two.”

15:36 , Marc Mayo

Hamilton says he’s looking forward to watching the replay of the race, to discover what went on behind him! He describes his race as a bit “lonely” but doesn’t look like he minds...

15:34 , Marc Mayo

Alonso is your official F1 Driver of the Day... Well deserved.

15:31 , Marc Mayo

Alonso cries out “Ole! Ole!” on the Alpine radio. There will be one huge smile on the podium in just a minute.

Verstappen tells Red Bull rather drolly “yeah, that was fun”.

15:30 , Marc Mayo

Hamilton takes congratulations over team radio as the fireworks fly into the Qatari night’s sky: “Fantastic job, guys. Let’s keep pushing. We can do this.”

15:29 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen takes second and Alonso, perhaps saved by the VSC, is third - that’s his 98th podium and first since 2014!

Chequered flag!

15:28 , Marc Mayo

Lap 57: Hamilton wins the Qatar Grand Prix!

15:27 , Marc Mayo

Lap 57: VSC ends for the last lap...

15:26 , Marc Mayo

Lap 56: Verstappen takes a cheap pit stop for the Softs under VSC, in case we have a last-lap bolt for the fastest lap point.

Hamilton calls for the Softs himself and gets the “negative” from Mercedes.

15:25 , Marc Mayo

Lap 55: Retrieving Latifi’s car has brought the crane and marshalls out - that may be the race!

15:24 , Marc Mayo

Lap 55: Verstappen takes the fastest lap point.

Norris is up to ninth after jumping Vettel.

And a virtual safety car!

15:22 , Marc Mayo

Lap 54: Perez is nine seconds behind Alonso...

The same gap Verstappen has to make up on Hamilton - both of whom have already got off the Hards.

15:22 , Marc Mayo

Lap 53: Latifi tells Williams over team radio he had no vibration or any clue that his tyre was about to go, and he’s had to retire by Turn 10.

No safety car or VSC just yet as a result.

15:20 , Marc Mayo

Lap 52: Russell was well away from the points and comes out 19th.

The replay suggests it just, kind of, happened. No big bump or such to cause a sudden deflation.

And now Latifi has a puncture!

Five laps to go...

15:18 , Marc Mayo

Lap 51: Another puncture!

Russell’s front-left has gone. A very nervy end to all running those Hard tyres to their limit...

15:18 , Marc Mayo

Lap 50: Alonso is asked to avoid high-speed kerbs by team radio - perhaps spooked by that earlier Bottas puncture.

Norris pits! That hands Perez fourth, and a slow stop puts him out 11th.

And Bottas retires from 12th, his Mercedes surely taking damage with that puncture earlier.

15:14 , Marc Mayo

Lap 48: Ocon certainly fights like a lion after Perez looked to secure an easy move around Turn 1!

On older, slower tyres he came back at the Red Bull but was sent onto the kerb and had to yield fifth place.

Perez is 15 seconds off Alonso, with Norris in the way.

15:12 , Marc Mayo

Lap 47: Fastest lap for Hamilton. Ten to go. Nine seconds is the gap.

And Perez is up to sixth after cruising around Stroll on the main straight. Red Bull team radio tell the Mexican “you’ve got the podium”.

15:10 , Marc Mayo

Lap 46: Alonso issues a rallying cry to Alpine teammate Ocon, who has Stroll and Perez behind him: “Tell Esteban to defend like a lion!”

15:09 , Marc Mayo

Lap 45: That 8.6-second advantage hasn’t really budged all race and Hamilton is still comfortably clear after those stops.

Alonso has 6.3 seconds on Norris in the race for third, with a second stop perhaps no longer on their radar as Perez hunts them down from seventh.

15:06 , Marc Mayo

Lap 43: Perez follows suit and its another clean stop for Red Bull.

Here comes Hamilton! The Mediums are out and it’s nice and easy for the Mercs.

15:04 , Marc Mayo

Lap 42: Verstappen pits! Mediums go on. Will Hamilton respond?

15:03 , Marc Mayo

Lap 41: Hamilton reporting of “small vibrations” on his tyres. A very intriguing subplot has opened up with that Bottas puncture.

15:00 , Marc Mayo

Lap 39: Time check on the leaders after a bout of traffic for both Hamilton and Verstappen, who are separated by 8.5 seconds.

Will the Dutchman stop, throwing away a minor chance of a win to secure the fastest lap point? And if you’re Mercedes, do you pit Hamilton to battle for the point and risk somehow throwing it all away if the stop goes wrong?

14:57 , Marc Mayo

Lap 37: Gasly, one of the earlier stoppers, is back in the pits for Mediums.

14:56 , Marc Mayo

Lap 36: That leaves Perez third and Alonso fourth, with the Constructors’ Championship lead held by Mercedes by just four points if it all stays the same - with Hamilton currently the fastest lap.

14:55 , Marc Mayo

Lap 35: Disaster for Mercedes!

The front-wing needs a change after he crawls home, having felt the puncture right at the start of the lap.

That was 33 laps on the Mediums and Bottas is back to 14th! A stark reminder to anyone pushing for a one-stopper...

14:52 , Marc Mayo

Lap 34: Bottas has a puncture!

14:50 , Marc Mayo

Lap 32: Hamilton and Verstappen are trading blows in the fastest lap record, as their cars get a bit lighter for fuel load and the track wears in a bit more.

The gap is 6.6 seconds as the Dutchman attempts to up the ante.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

14:47 , Marc Mayo

Lap 30: Verstappen fancies it! He says “let’s have a bit of fun, we’re only going to be second anyway...”

Red Bull team radio gives the green light - with a slight proviso to watch his brakes.

Perez then gets Alonso with some good honest, hard racing around the first sector. Great defending, great attacking.

14:45 , Marc Mayo

Lap 28: A big lock-up from Leclerc allows Alonso through and Perez makes it stick a couple of corners later. They’re now fourth and fifth, with Bottas 19 seconds ahead as the only frontrunner yet to pit.

14:43 , Marc Mayo

Lap 27: Norris stops and is back behind Gasly, while Perez is now at the heels of Alonso.

There is a good mix of one and two-stoppers out there, which should make the fight for the podium very interesting.

30 laps to go.

14:40 , Marc Mayo

Lap 25: Alonso’s immaculate first stint comes to an end and the Alpine comes out ninth on fresh Hards, ahead of Ricciardo and Perez.

Verstappen puts in a fastest lap, with the gap down to 7.5 seconds after Hamilton was held up briefly while lapping Schumacher.

14:38 , Marc Mayo

Lap 23: Perez fails to take Vettel on his first run into Turn 1, being sent down the dusty outside line before the Aston Martin swoops across him, backs him into the corner exit, and launches clear to keep 11th for the rest of the lap.

And Bottas gets Norris for fourth! Alonso is 11 seconds up the road of the Finn, what can he do about that?

14:35 , Marc Mayo

Lap 22: The gap between Hamilton and Verstappen has stuck at 8.3 seconds since the pit stops. Very comfortable so far for the Brit.

14:34 , Marc Mayo

Lap 21: Hamilton is concerned about the strategy, and tells team radio: “You’ve definitely stopped me way too early.”

Perez takes his Hards and drops to 12th, although perhaps won’t lose too much time launching back up the pack given how easy overtaking has been so far.

Bottas looks like he’s going long and has Norris in his sights for fourth.

14:31 , Marc Mayo

Lap 19: In comes Hamilton, covering off Red Bull. He’d seconds earlier said his tyres were good and he didn’t want to pit too early!

It’s a straightforward stop and the Brit is almost the whole start/finish straight clear.

14:30 , Marc Mayo

Lap 18: Verstappen pits!

The Mediums are done, earlier than others’ Softs, and the Hards go on nice and easy.

Perhaps some strategy there. It will have to be one hell of a theory to catch Hamilton, mind.

14:27 , Marc Mayo

Lap 16: We’re looking at a Mercedes/Red Bull top four even after the grid penalties, Perez’s poor qualifying and Bottas’ slow start.

Hamilton leads Verstappen by a chunky 7.9 seconds.

While Perez takes Norris for fourth and Bottas has Sainz on toast for seventh. Slick.

14:24 , Marc Mayo

Lap 14: Perez is the next to jump Gasly with a clean move off the main straight, he’s up to fifth and a podium seems very possible for the Red Bull No2.

Just five seconds and four places back is Bottas, still very much in the mix for third as well.

Gasly pits, following Tsunoda and Raikkonen in stopping early.

14:22 , Marc Mayo

Lap 13: Norris gives it some gas to sweep past Gasly for fourth at Turn 1, as McLaren fight back in the Constructors’ battle for third!

More bad news for Ferrari too with Sainz under huge pressure from Bottas for eighth.

14:20 , Marc Mayo

Lap 12: Let’s have a check on the leaders - Hamilton has a 5.7-second advantage over Verstappen.

Alonso, in third, is a whopping 22.4 seconds off first place. Just in case you needed evidence of their pace.

14:18 , Marc Mayo

Lap 10: Toto Wolff gives Bottas some, shall we say, encouragement over team radio... and he responds by flying around Tsunoda inside at Turn 1.

Plenty of action out on track, with DRS doing a good job on the main straight and these chunky kerbs causing issues for those running wide.

14:16 , Marc Mayo

Lap 9: Potential damage to Verstappen’s front wing is causing a touch of understeer, Red Bull tell the Dutchman over team radio.

No such issue for Perez, who takes Sainz at the next attempt before overtaking Ocon for sixth - and Ricciardo has fought back to arrive right where he started: 14th.

14:13 , Marc Mayo

Lap 7: Down in the midfield, Bottas is stuck behind Tsunoda and Stroll in 11th, with Leclerc behind him after a gutsy move on Raikkonen.

Perez is hunting down Sainz for seventh and nearly gets the Spaniard at Turn 1 - but takes a snap of understeer and goes wide!

Bad starts for Ricciardo and Vettel, they’re 16th and 17th.

14:10 , Marc Mayo

Lap 5: Verstappen into second!

Alonso can do NOTHING about the pace of the Red Bull on the main straight and now he has 52 laps to chase down the Mercedes.

14:09 , Marc Mayo

Lap 4: Verstappen tells team radio he’s a “bit stuck” behind Gasly, but the AlphaTauri goes wide and Verstappen can swoop through!

Hamilton is already up to 3.7 seconds clear of Alonso and 4.1 clear of the Dutchman. We may not be seeing the Brit very much today...

14:07 , Marc Mayo

Lap 3: Hamilton already pulling clear to the tune of 1.9 seconds and Verstappen is closing in on Gasly.

Meanwhile Perez takes Stroll for ninth.

14:05 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen up to fourth... Bottas down to 11th!

Lights out!

14:04 , Marc Mayo

Nobody wants to be on the dusty side of the track, where Gasly starts in second.

Hamilton leads and Alonso battles with Gasly to take second!

14:00 , Marc Mayo

The formation lap starts off and the pack is very quickly backed up as cars dive over to the ‘clean’ left side of the track.

Reminder!

13:57 , Marc Mayo

The race will be shown LIVE on Sky Sports F1.

Five-minute warning...

13:55 , Marc Mayo

What can the Red Bulls do with their backs up against the wall today?

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Why was Bottas fifth?

13:51 , Marc Mayo

A three-place grid penalty for Valtteri Bottas had only dropped the Mercedes down two spots.

And he had Max Verstappen to thank, as Bottas infringed on yellows first and technically accrued his penalty first.

Therefore he dropped to sixth, before Verstappen then was hit with a heavier penalty and dropped from second to seventh - which included bumping up the Finn by one spot.

Alas, as the grid was formed the stewards moved Bottas to sixth, and Carlos Sainz to fifth.

13:43 , Marc Mayo

Let’s talk strategy

13:38 , Marc Mayo

Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas all start on the Medium tyre in Qatar, allowing them to extend their first stint off the line.

But a two-stop strategy looks to be par for the course across the grid, with another set of Mediums and a set of Hards available.

Expect the Soft starters to dive into the pits at around Lap 15, with the Mediums needing a switch at Lap 20 or so. The first stop should see them go onto the Hards, with some perhaps hoping to push that through all the way to the end.

Famous faces

13:31 , Marc Mayo

Football hero David Beckham, filmmaker George Lucas, his wife and Starbucks chief Mellody Hobson, and FIFA boss Gianni Infantino among the celebrities in Losail today. The football World Cup kicks off in exactly a year’s time in Qatar.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

13:21 , Marc Mayo

The pit lane is open! Let’s get this show on the road.

McLaren milestone

13:15 , Marc Mayo

Today marks the 900th F1 race for McLaren, can they mark it with a shot at the podium? Lando Norris does start fourth...

https://twitter.com/ZBrownCEO/status/1462390339558330371

Here is your official starting grid...

13:03 , Marc Mayo

Lights out in one hour!

Leclerc scare

12:49 , Marc Mayo

Ferrari were hard at work this morning fixing Charles Leclerc’s car.

A crack was found in the chassis after qualifying and required a full refit, which was completed just before the stewards’ cut-off - avoiding a grid penalty.

Weather Forecast

12:40 , Marc Mayo

Officially just a one per cent chance of rain tonight as the temperature begins to drop a little in Qatar.

The race will take place in a fairly toasty 26°C with light winds of around 11mph, and mild humidity.

More on Max’s penalty...

12:36 , Marc Mayo

The stewards’ verdict read: “The driver acknowledged his awareness of the presence of Car 10 on the right side of the track. Having seen a disabled car, it is reasonable to expect, as was the case of the driver of Car 55, that there was a potential danger.”

Five places for Verstappen!

12:28 , Marc Mayo

The stewards have handed down their verdict and the Dutchman is knocked off the front row!

One down, two to go...

12:26 , Marc Mayo

We’ll bring you the results of an inquiry into Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz when it lands imminently - and the clock is ticking.

The duo, along with Valtteri Bottas, were all investigated for potentially speeding under yellow flags during qualifying after Pierre Gasly’s puncture.

A grid penalty could hit all three with Verstappen up for as much as five places if found guilty of infringing double-yellows.

How to watch in the UK

12:26 , Marc Mayo

The race will be shown LIVE on Sky Sports F1. Coverage of Grand Prix Sunday starts at 12.30pm on F1.

12:24 , Marc Mayo

We’ve had the first of our three verdicts on qualifying yellow-flag infringements...

Valtteri Bottas has been handed a three-place grid penalty admitting to not seeing or slowing down for the flag in Q3 yesterday. He had put his Mercedes third on the grid.

Good afternoon!

12:23 , Marc Mayo

It’s a huge Qatar Grand Prix on the menu this Sunday afternoon, so buckle up!

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