Lewis Hamilton took pole position at the Qatar Grand Prix, but it was not without controversy. He was given a five-second penalty for an unsafe release in Q3 that eliminated Sebastian Vettel from the race.
Lewis Hamilton took pole position in the season opening Formula One grand prix, but his fastest lap was half a second slower than Sebastian Vettel’s that he set during qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton claimed victory in last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
From the one-two finish for Mercedes at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton took pole position in a qualifying session that was blow by blow. In making it back to his favorite track with a dominant performance, he also reclaimed top spot on the championship points table from Sebastian Vettel.
Lewis Hamilton set a scorching speed to earn pole position by almost half a second for the Qatar Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who leads the championship by 14 points, finished 0.455 seconds behind Hamilton in second.
Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s teammate, finished third, 0.196 seconds behind Verstappen, with Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri fourth and Fernando Alonso of Alpine fifth.
Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate, finished 11th, placing Red Bull at a strategic disadvantage for the race.
Mercedes may aim to pin Verstappen on race strategy in a race by forcing him to stop at an inconvenient moment with Bottas out front with Hamilton. When a team only has one vehicle, it’s difficult to protect two cars on strategy.
Lando Norris of McLaren placed sixth, ahead of Carlos Sainz of Ferrari.
Yuki Tsunoda’s second Alpha Tauri was eighth, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top ten.
Despite driving wide in Turn One and making a mistake in Turn Two, Hamilton was fastest on both laps in the final top 10 shootout, coming in just under 0.2 seconds ahead on the first run.
His last lap, though, was stunning, and Verstappen and Bottas were left speechless.
“It was an extremely challenging day for me yesterday,” Hamilton remarked. I wasn’t feeling well on Thursday and Friday, and I had a stomach pain.
“I had to dig hard yesterday since I was off [the pace].” I worked late till midnight and remained here until the wee hours of the morning.
“We identified a number of areas in which I might improve, made some adjustments for final practice, and it seemed to work.”
“You should aim to take that momentum into qualifying. There was no traffic, and the final lap was breathtaking. This track is fantastic to drive since it has a variety of medium and fast bends.”
Verstappen was quoted as saying: “It just lacks a little oomph. Qualifying has been a little more difficult for us this time. We’re battling a little more than usual since Checo [Perez] isn’t even in Q3. [I’m] second, so there’s still a lot to play for.”
During practice, Verstappen experienced issues with his rear wing, which he blamed on the fact that he was driving down the straight.
What’s on the line?
The title is still delicately balanced, with wins crucial for both contenders.
If Verstappen wins, he will stretch his points advantage to within a few points of a clear victory with just two races left, a gap Hamilton will find difficult to overcome.
But, assuming Verstappen finishes second, if Hamilton wins for the second week in a row after his magnificent performance in Brazil last weekend, in which he started the sprint race from the back and overtook a total of 25 cars over one and a third grand prix distances to win, the gap will be between six and eight points.
Hamilton can’t afford a collision on the track with Verstappen because of his current disadvantage.
Overtaking is likely to be tough on a circuit with so many quick corners, so the fight for the lead down to Turn One, as well as pit-stop strategy, will be crucial.
“Being such a quick track, I don’t believe it’ll be the simplest to follow, but it’s also not dramatically degrading the tyres,” Hamilton added.
Bottas, who admitted to losing control of the vehicle after seeming so quick on Friday practice, said he was certain Mercedes could use the tactic to their advantage with two cars against one.
Hamilton donned a rainbow-themed helmet to show his support for diversity.
‘I’m waiting to hear,’ Hamilton declares.
Formula One has been questioned regarding the appropriateness of the new contracts for races in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which will take place in two weeks.
On Thursday, Hamilton said that F1 has a “responsibility” to raise notice of human rights concerns in the nations that “require examination.”
He’s wearing a rainbow pride-themed helmet this weekend in favor of LGBTQ+ rights, and he announced after qualifying that he’ll be wearing it in Saudi Arabia as well, and maybe at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“I’ll probably be wearing the same helmet for the next two races after this, or at least next week,” he remarked.
“I’m not aware of any bad feedback or comments about it.” ‘We stand together,’ I wrote on the back, and ‘love is love,’ I wrote on the front.
“It’s vital for me to represent that group here because I’m aware that there are a number of issues that need to be addressed.”
When asked whether any Qatari officials had approached him about the matter, he replied: “I’m hoping someone [from Qatar] contacts me, and I’d want to learn more about what they’re doing here to assist the LGBTQ+ community. I’m waiting to hear back.”
Lewis Hamilton took the dominant pole position for the 2018 Qatar Grand Prix. His team-mate Valtteri Bottas was second and Sebastian Vettel third. Reference: f1 schedule.
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