Lewis Hamilton inched nearer to the Formula One championship lead with a dominating victory Sunday within the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix to earn back-to-back wins and chip away at Max Verstappen’s factors benefit.
Hamilton, who additionally gained final week in Brazil, has trimmed 17 factors from Verstappen‘s lead within the title race in per week. Verstappen nonetheless holds an eight-point lead with two races remaining in some of the dramatic F1 title fights in no less than a decade.
“I am actually, actually grateful for these factors. It has been a hell of a 12 months,” Hamilton mentioned. “To be at this level within the 12 months and have back-to-back wins is a good feeling.”
The seven-time champion began from pole for Mercedes and was by no means challenged on the Losail Worldwide Circuit as Hamilton gained his 102nd profession race. It was his seventh victory of the season.
Verstappen completed second for Pink Bull, practically 25 seconds behind Hamilton.
“It was fairly lonely on the entrance,” Hamilton mentioned.
Verstappen was hit with a penalty earlier than the race even started when he was dropped 5 spots on the beginning grid for violating a yellow flag in Saturday’s qualifying. The Dutchman had certified second however the stewards ordered him to drop again on the grid following Sunday hearings for Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz.
All three had been accused of not following yellow flag guidelines close to the tip of qualifying. Bottas, who had certified third, was penalized three beginning sports activities. Sainz was not penalized.
Pink Bull was mystified by the grid penalty for Verstappen, who misplaced any probability to problem Hamilton for the win when he was penalized. Pink Bull principal Christian Horner criticized the penalty when it was handed down.
“We’re actually struggling to grasp it,” Horner mentioned. “That’s a vital blow on this world championship for us.”
Regardless of the penalty, Verstappen wanted solely 5 laps to get well and drive again to the place he was initially slated to start out.
“Our beginning place was a bit compromised,” Verstappen mentioned. “I do know it’ll be tough to the tip however I feel that is good. It retains it thrilling.”
However he mentioned he was prepared for the challenges forward in Saudi Arabia and the finale in Abu Dhabi.
“I really feel good,” he mentioned. “It should be tight.”
Hamilton, winner of 4 straight titles, has all of the momentum now. The British driver is looking for a document eighth F1 title, which might transfer him previous Michael Schumacher.
“I am feeling actually good, I am actually, actually pleased with the automobile,” Hamilton mentioned. “I really feel fitter than ever, in order that’s a Positive.”
Fernando Alonso of Alpine completed third for his first podium since 2014. He was aided by the pre-race penalties to Verstappen and Bottas, which moved the Spaniard as much as third on the beginning grid.
Sergio Perez completed fourth to assist Pink Bull in its push to beat Mercedes for the constructors championship.