Qatar GP 2021
NOVEMBER 21, 2021
Race Notes - Hamilton wins in Qatar
By Mark Karp
Lewis Hamilton won the first Qatar Grand Prix in his Mercedes Grand Prix, 25.743s ahead of Max Verstappen in his Red Bull-Honda in second place. Fernando Alonso finished third in his Alpine-Renault, 59.457s behind.
The win is Hamiton’s seventh for the season, and 102nd of his career.
Alonso’s podium is his first since Hungary 2014, and 98th podium of his career.
Verstappen still leads the Drivers’ Championship by eight points over Hamilton, and Mercedes leads Red Bull by 5 points.
Sergio Perez (1m02.306s) in the second Red Bull was fourth, followed by Esteban Ocon (1m20.570s) in the second Alpine was fifth, Lance Stroll (1m21.274s) in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was sixth, Carlos Sainz (1m21.911s) in the Ferrari was seventh, his team mate Charles Leclerc was eighth, Lando Norris (1 lap) in the McLaren-Mercedes was ninth, and Sebastian Vettel in the second Aston Martin took the final point in tenth place.
Before the start Hamilton starts on pole, and with Verstappen receiving a five-place grid penalty for ignoring the double yellow flag in qualifying and Bottas receiving a three-place grid penalty, Gasly starts alongside on the front row. Alonso and Norris on row 2, Sainz and Bottas on row 3, Verstappen and Tsunoda on row 4, and Ocon and Vettel rounding out the ten ten starting positions - Perez starts 11th, Leclerc 13th.
Hamilton starts on medium tyres, the next three (Gasly, Alonso and Norris) on soft tyres. Bottas and Verstappen also starting on medium tyres.
The tyre strategy looks as if a two-stop plan will be the quickest.
At the appointed time with the sun going down the field came round, the lights went out and the race began with Hamilton in the lead with Gasly and Alonso behind with Verstappen up to fourth. Alonso passes Gasly for second.
At the end of the first lap Hamilton leads Alonso, Gasly, Verstappen, Norris, Ocon, Sainz, Tsunoda, Peres and Stroll in tenth.
On lap 4 Gasly goes wide and Verstappen passes him for third place.
On lap 4 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m28.807.
Verstappen passes Alonso for second place. Perez passes Tsunoda for eighth.
On lap 5 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m28.166s, and follows Hamilton by 3.8 seconds.
Leclerc passes Raikkonen for 12th place.
Sainz and Perez are battling for seventh place.
On lap 9 Perez passes Ocon for sixth.
Bottas passes Stroll for ninth.
On lap 9 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m28.127 and then the next lap at 1m27.906s.
Tsunoda pits for medium tyres. Raikkonen pits as well.
On lap 12 Norris passes Gasly for fourth.
On lap 13 Perez passes Gasly for fifth.
Bottas is chasing Sainz for eighth.
On lap 14 Gasly pits and changes to medium tyres and rejoins in 18th.
Vettel passes Russell for 13th place.
On lap 15 Bottas passes Sainz for seventh.
Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m27.779s.
Perez passes Norris for fourth.
At lap 15 Hamilton leads Verstappen by 7.5 seconds, followed by Alonso (31,0s), Perez (34.8s), Norris (35.7s), Ocon (39.4s), Bottas (40.6s), Sainz (42.9s), Stroll (44.0s) and Leclerc (45.3s) in tenth place.
Bottas passes Ocon for sixth.
On lap 17 Hamilton set fast lap at 1m27.625s.
On lap 18 Verstappen pits from second, and changes to hard tyres and rejoins still in second place just ahead of Alonso.
The next lap Hamilton responds to Verstappen’s move and pits from the lead and changes to hard tyres and rejoins still in the lead, 8.3 seconds ahead.
On lap 20 Perez pits for hard tyres and rejoins in 12th.
On lap 20 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m27.495s.
Perez is chasing Vettel for 11th.
On lap 22 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m27.145.
On lap 23 Bottas passes Norris for fourth. Perez passes Vettel for 11th.
On lap 24 Alonso and Stroll pit. Alonso changes to hard tyres and rejoins in eighth.
On lap 24 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m27.079s. Ocon pits for hard tyres and rejoins 12th.
Perez passes Ricciardo for eighth.
On lap 25 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m26.996s.
On lap 26 Norris pits for hard tyres and rejoins in 11th.
On lap 27 Ricciardo and Vettel pit.
Perez passes Leclerc for sixth.
Sainz and Leclerc pit.
On lap 29 Perez passes Alonso for fourth.
Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m26.840s.
At lap 30 Hamilton leads Verstappen by 6.6 seconds, followed by Bottas (31.4s), Perez (51.5s), Alonso (53.8s), Gasly (1m01.5s), Norris (1m07.1s), Ocon (1m08.7s), Stroll (1m10.5s) and Sainz (1n14.4s) in tenth place.
Verstappen sets fast lap.
On lap 34 Bottas, in third the only driver yet to pit, goes off with a punctured tyre and limps back around to the pits, changes to hard tyres and changes his front wing and rejoins in 14th place.
Gasly pits for medium tyres.
At lap 35 Hamilton leads Verstappen by 8.2 seconds, followed by Perez (58.6s), Alonso (1m04.5s), Norris (1m13.8s), Ocon (1m16.4s), Stroll (1m18.6s), Sainz (1m25.2s), Leclerc (1 lap) and Vettel in tenth place.
On lap 39 Verstappen reports to his team that he is feeling some vibrations in his tyres.
On lap 41 Verstappen pits from second for medium tyres and rejoins still in second.
Perez pits for medium tyres and rejoins in seventh,
The next lap Hamilton pits for medium tyres and rejoins still in the lead.
On lap 44 Perez sets fast lap at 1m25.747s ,
Perez passes Stroll for sixth.
Alonso running in third tells his team for Ocon to “defend like a lion”, against Perez.
On lap 45 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m25.030s.
On lap 47 Ocon battles with Perez, but Perez takes fifth.
On lap 50 Norris pits for medium tyres and rejoins in 11th.
Bottas pits and retires. Russell pits.
At lap 51 Hamilton leads Verstappen by 9.4 seconds, followed by Alonso (54.8s), Perez (1n06.2s), Ocon (1m15.4s), Stroll (1m16.4s), Sainz (1m17.4s), Leclerc (1m19.3s), Vettel (1 lap) and Norris in tenth.
Latifi has a tyre puncture and limps back to the pits.
The teams are telling their drivers to stay off the kerbs.
On lap 54 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m24.031s.
Alonso tells his team “will we make it out not?”.
The Virtual safety car is out.
Verstappen pits for soft tyres.
Hamilton leads Verstappen, Alonso, Perez Ocon, Stroll, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris and Vettel in tenth.
On lap 57 the Virtual safety car ends.
Hamilton gets the chequered flag with Verstappen and Alonso behind.
On the final lap Verstappen sets fast at 1m23.196s.
Hamilton tells the team, "We needed those points today. I can't wait to watch the race replay to find out what happened behind me. I'm really grateful for these points, it's been a hell of a year. Back to back wins here, feel good, I feel fit, fitter than I've ever felt. Bring on the next two!”