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After Securing Championship, Max Verstappen Eases To Qatar Grand Prix Victory Ahead Of McLaren Duo

From Formula 1

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen continued his title celebrations with a dominant performance during Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix, leading home the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris following a first-lap collision between Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Hamilton and Russell went wheel-to-wheel moments after the lights went out at the Lusail International Circuit, the seven-time world champion attempting to go around the outside of his team mate through Turn 1, only for the duo to dramatically make contact in the bottleneck.

With Hamilton out of the race on the spot, and Russell forced to pit for a new front wing at the end of the opening lap, two of Verstappen’s main rivals had already fallen by the wayside and the now triple world champion never looked back, romping to win number 14 of 2023.

McLaren backed up an impressive Sprint race display as Piastri and Norris came home second and third respectively for another double podium finish, rising from their P6 and P10 grid slots after losing lap times over track limits violations in qualifying.

Russell put in a fine recovery drive to take fourth at the chequered flag, getting the better of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who was hindered by an off-track excursion and an overheating seat.

Esteban Ocon came home seventh for Alpine, while Alfa Romeo logged their first double points finish of the season as Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu took P8 and P9, ahead of the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Perez made the points despite starting from the pit lane thanks to major car changes in the wake of his Sprint race accident, and an action-packed evening that saw him pick up three penalties for exceeding track limits.

Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) had crossed the line in the points-paying positions but dropped to 11th after the chequered flag for his own track limits violation, with Pierre Gasly (Alpine) and Alex Albon (Williams) also penalised in P12 and P13.

Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg and AlphaTauri pair Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson were the final drivers to make it to the finish in a race that saw the entire field complete at least three pit stops due to tyre-related safety measures.

Hamilton watched from the sidelines following his clash with Russell, while Logan Sargeant retired in the other Williams during the closing stages after reporting that he was feeling unwell at the wheel amid the intense heat.

Before the race had even started, Carlos Sainz was ruled out of proceedings due to a fuel system problem developing on his car that could not be resolved in time, meaning Leclerc was the sole Ferrari driver in action.

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Photo's: Formula 1 | Oracle Red Bull Racing | FIA


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