Hamilton is making up for valuable points to Verstappen. Alonso’s big comeback on the podium!

Verstappen’s rocket launch, Hamilton is doing his job

The start went well for Hamilton, who easily maintained his lead in the first corner, as did Gasly and Alonso right behind him. Behind their backs, Verstappen started to move brilliantly from seventh to fourth. Norris, Ocon, Sainz and Tsunoda followed the Dutch. Perez was promoted to ninth position, followed by Stroll. A completely unsuccessful start was achieved by Bottas, who lost as many as five positions and was only eleventh.

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Even on the first lap, Gasly had to recognize the superiority of Fernando Alonso, who was therefore in the second position. Lewis Hamilton quickly moved away from the Spaniard for almost two seconds and the advantage continued to grow. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen was not going to be satisfied with fourth place and was already second after six laps after easily winning the duels against Gasly and Alonso. The leader of the general classification meanwhile had the best single lap time, and he was 4.5 seconds behind the leading Hamilton.

Total War for the Formula One Title!  They will do anything to destroy their rivalTotal War for the Formula One Title! They will do anything to destroy their rival

It was not the end of the reshuffle in the field – the losses suffered as a result of unsuccessful qualifications were successfully made up by Sergio Perez, who dealt with Sainz and Ocon within a few circles and finished sixth. Soon Valtteri Bottas was also beginning to remember himself. Finn made it back to the top ten with his successful attacks on Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda. The latter became the first driver to go to the pit stop on the tenth lap. AlphaTauri mechanics equipped the Japanese with a fresh set of intermediate tires.

On the twelfth lug, there was a change in fourth place – Lando Norris then launched a successful attack on Pierre Gasly. The soft tires in the Frenchman’s car seemed to be working worse and worse as he soon lost another position, this time to Sergio Perez. The pace was picked up by the leader of the race, Hamilton, who had the best lap time and by lap eighteen managed to extend the lead over Verstappen to nine seconds. Perez and Bottas, in turn, gained subsequent positions. The Mexican moved up to fourth place on lap 16 at the expense of Norris, while the Finn passed Ocon to finish sixth.

The intermediate compound in Verstappen’s car clearly did not work, so on lap 18 he was called to the pit lane, where he was fitted with hard tires. Despite Hamilton’s objection, Mercedes decided to answer a lap later. The Brit was also given a tough compound and returned to the track in the same place – nine seconds ahead of the Red Bull driver. Soon the mechanics were also checked in by Perez, who was driving in fourth place, and the Mexican also returned to the track on hard tires.

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At the halfway point of the competition, Hamilton was still confident in the lead. The Mercedes driver had an advantage of seven seconds over Max Verstappen. In third place was Bottas, who was – next to Nikita Mazepin – the only driver who had not yet paid a visit to the mechanics. Perez was fourth, defeating Fernando Alonso on the 28th lap in a spectacular duel. Gasly was sixth, followed by Norris, Ocon, Stroll and Sainz. Soon Verstappen sped up – the Dutchman made the best single lap time and reduced the loss to Hamilton to 6.3 seconds.

Bottas’ drama, Red Bull is trying to undercut again

On lap 32 – a fairly quiet race to date – there was a major twist in the form of a punctured Valtteri Bottas tire. The Finn – still without a pit stop – had his left front tire broken and he had to drive almost the entire lap this way. In the seventh corner, Bottas even fell off the track, falling into a gravel trap, but managed to get out of it and reach the service station. An unplanned stop pushed the Mercedes driver to a distant, thirteenth position.

Max Verstappen, on the other hand, complained about the increasing vibrations, who after a few strong laps again began to lose his distance to Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull decided to react and on the 42nd lap decided to bring both of their drivers to the pit lane. Verstappen got a fresh set of intermediate tires, while Perez got a used one. Once again, Mercedes responded to the service from Milton Keynes, calling for Hamilton a lap later. The Brit, like Perez, received a used set of intermediate tires. The three of them were by far the fastest on the track and exchanged the best lap times over and over again.

Hamilton was back on track with a lead of about nine seconds over Verstappen and there was less and less indication that the order in the first two places would be changed. Perez, on the other hand, continued the chase after the stoppage, with a slight loss to Stroll, Ocon, Norris and Alonso who preceded him, who returned to third position after the drama of Bottas. On lap 45, Perez dealt with Stroll, and on lap with Ocon. The duel between Perez and Norris did not take place at all due to the Briton’s unplanned stoppage due to a suspected tire puncture.

Mercedes-Red Bull's war!  Toto Wolff thunders: It's overMercedes-Red Bull’s war! Toto Wolff thunders: It’s over

Silverstone replay, Alonso battling for the podium

Bottas’ nightmare race ended on lap 48 when the team decided to withdraw the Fin from further competition. The Mercedes driver’s fallout was soon overshadowed by another flat tire, this time in George Russell’s car. A lap later the same happened to his team mate Nicholas Latifi. The Canadian, however, unlike his friend, did not manage to reach the pit lane and stopped his car on the side of the road. One stop tactic, Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, was instructed to avoid high curbs at all costs.

In the face of Latifi’s car being pulled from the track, the judges decided to introduce virtual neutralization, which lasted until the penultimate lap. Max Verstappen used this moment to pull down for the soft tires and ensure himself the best single lap time. Hamilton was the first to cross the finish line, winning the 102nd time. In addition, Losail became the 35th track on which the Briton won. Verstappen finished second, while Alonso was third, with his first podium finish in seven years. Sergio Perez finally finished fourth, less than three seconds behind the Spaniard.

Esteban Ocon completed the top five, thanks to which Alpine takes 25 points from Qatar. The next points scored were Lance Stroll, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Sebastian Vettel. AlphaTauri will leave the Losail track empty-handed, as Gasly and Tsunoda finished in eleventh and thirteenth place, broken by Daniel Ricciardo.

In the face of the second consecutive win, Lewis Hamilton reduces the point loss to Max Verstappen and after the Qatar Grand Prix it is only eight points. Valtteri Bottas’ advantage over fourth Sergio Perez melts to thirteen points. Lando Norris holds fifth place, but is only one point away from sixth Charles Leclerc.

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Bottas ‘bad luck complicated the situation of Mercedes in the constructors’ table, because currently the advantage of the team from Brackley over Red Bull is only five points. Ferrari, which is 39.5 points ahead of McLaren, is strengthening in third place. Thanks to a great race in Qatar, Alpine deals a hard blow to AlphaTauri, moving away from the Faenza stables by 25 mesh.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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