Home Sport news Formula 1, Qatar: Hamilton wins ahead of Verstappen, Alonso comes third – Sport

Formula 1, Qatar: Hamilton wins ahead of Verstappen, Alonso comes third – Sport

by archysport

The man, who could have had a great influence on the tight title fight in Formula 1 on Sunday, was anything but dissatisfied when it turned out that he hadn’t succeeded. Why not? It was undoubtedly a feast day for the 40-year-old from Oviedo in Spain. The two-time world champion had to wait seven years for this moment, which he experienced every 14 days before what felt like an eternity: But, yes, Fernando Alonso once again climbed a Formula 1 podium on Sunday night in Qatar. His first since the race in Budapest 2014. Alonso actually finished third in the losing Alpine, behind Lewis Hamilton, who burned a start-and-finish victory on the desert asphalt that was never endangered and put the obvious into words: “I drove ahead on my own, I can do that you enjoy too. “

And behind the second Max Verstappen, who caught up the penalty of five places he had received for a crime in the qualification. In the end, Alonso also managed to save his Alpine over the finish line on ancient tires without bursting, which neither Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas nor the two Williams of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi managed to do. “Do I enjoy that?” Asked Alonso. “Shit, I’ve waited so long for this!”

And as for the title fight: with two races to go, Hamilton has reduced his deficit on Verstappen to eight points. “Great, Lewis! And now we’re going to Saudi Arabia”, his team boss Toto Wolff congratulated.

The premiere of Formula 1 on the Losail International Circuit in Doha was less spectacular than the entertaining opening program on Friday had promised. In the evening there had been an eternal meeting of the drivers with Fia race director Michael Masi, at which the controversial, tough defensive maneuver by Verstappen was last discussed in Brazil, which the commissioners, strangely enough, did not even look at. And that escaped a subsequent revision aimed at by Mercedes due to a lack of new evidence of a review. But the pilots from the meeting did not become particularly clever, as they admitted on Saturday. “It’s still not clear where the track’s limits are,” said Hamilton. “But it is clearly no longer the white line when overtaking.”

All of the sanctions created a starting grid that Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have come up with better

In a touch of British humor, the Formula 1 directors also let the Red Bull and Wolff team bosses Christian Horner loose on each other in a joint press conference. There was “no relationship” with the opponent, Horner said with a bang on this occasion, “It’s a competition. I don’t have to go to dinner with Toto, I don’t have to kiss his butt. Other team bosses may need that.”

In 2007 they were bitter rivals at McLaren: The old stars Lewis Hamilton, 36, and Fernando Alonso, 40, celebrate a first and a third place in Qatar 14 years later.

(Photo: Hamad and Mohammes / Reuters)

And because Red Bull continues to subtly threaten lawsuits against the rear wing of the Silver Arrows in the midst of the already poisoned atmosphere, Wolff described the political status quo with a picture from martial arts. The season began like amateur boxing with head protection, said Wolff, “then at some point it was professional boxing, and now we’re doing martial arts”. So in the fight without gloves, designed for blood and pain.

The fear that the commissioners might have set a precedent with their gentleness towards Verstappen did not come true. The fact that there was no new wheel-to-wheel duel was also due to two penalties that the commissioners had to impose because the regulations did not leave much room: After he overlooked (or ignored) a double-waved yellow flag in qualifying Verstappen was pushed back five places from the second most popular parking bay. Bottas was also punished for disregarding a simple yellow flag: Instead of third, he rushed into the race in fifth. Because Horner attracted attention with a strange criticism before the start of the race, he then had to go to a hearing with the commissioners and apologize. On Sky he said: “I think it was just a renegade sports steward who held out a flag and was not instructed by the Fia. They have to have the stewardship better under control, very simple.”

All of the sanctions created a starting grid that Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have come up with better. At least in theory. Frenchman Pierre Gasly and old star Alonso lurked behind Hamilton. Gasly drives for the Red Bull subsidiary Alpha Tauri. And Alonso moved his old rival from common Zoff days at McLaren so close to the exhaust pipe as not for a long time. “I am counting heavily on Alonso,” said Red Bulls motorsport advisor Helmut Marko before the start. Especially since he just like Gasly rolled on the faster and softer tires than Hamilton.

The run-up from pole position to the first corner in Qatar is 371 meters long, Alonso sucked himself into the slipstream, but only got past Gasly. Verstappen started like a dervish, fighting his way into fourth place in the first corners and braking with his presence of mind to avoid a collision with Alonso. In the fourth lap he made it past Gasly, then he also flew past Alonso. After just five turns he was second again and had made up his penalty. And Alonso had missed the big surprise he might have dreamed of.

The not-so-clever plan with Bottas ends in fireworks for Mercedes

Hamilton and Verstappen now sailed through the desert in synchronized flight, taking an insane two and a half seconds per lap away from the competition at times. The Dutchman asked over the radio whether he might have demolished his front wing while riding off the asphalt strip. His times were falling, he couldn’t follow Hamilton. “It looks like Verstappen has more to struggle with the rear,” recognized the engineers at Mercedes.

“Come on now, Valtteri, grab the cars,” an audibly annoyed Toto Wolff radioed to Hamilton’s adjutant Bottas, who was passed from fifth to eleven after the start and was once again not much help.

On lap 18, Verstappen headed for his pits, he just made it back onto the track before Alonso. Immediately afterwards, Hamilton also stopped, like Verstappen, he had the hardest tires screwed on. “The stop came too early,” complained Hamilton, who had apparently dreamed of making it to the finish with just one rest. But in view of his massive lead of eight seconds, the suffering of the Silver Arrows did not even arouse pity in Stuttgart that day.

“We believe that Verstappen will hold twice,” Mercedes now let Bottas know. Ah, so that was the plan! By giving Bottas just one service, he should still make it onto the podium. Halfway through the race he was third – but also the only one who had not yet driven to the workshop. Shortly afterwards, the not-so-clever plan with Bottas ended in fireworks: his left front tire was flat, the chassis scratched the ground, spreading smoldering particles and made Bottas a sparkling marvel. He dragged himself to the pits, but later had to give up.

With 15 laps to go, Verstappen held for a second time, followed by Hamilton. He just had to copy his opponent to avoid making a strategic mistake that day.


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