Car racing – Team analysis of the Grand Prix of Qatar
(Reuters) – Team-by-team analysis of Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix, the 20th race of the Formula 1 World Championship in 22 rounds (ranked in current order):
MERCEDES (Lewis Hamilton 1, Retired Valtteri Bottas)
Hamilton led from pole position for his 102nd career victory and seventh of the season. He is now eight points behind Verstappen. It was the 30th circuit he had won on. Bottas started sixth, after a three-place penalty for failing to respect the warning flags in qualifying, and dropped to 11th at the start. He suffered a flat front left on lap 33, limped back to the pits but retired on lap 48 due to damage. Mercedes is only five points ahead of Red Bull.
RED BULL (Max Verstappen 2, Sergio Perez 4)
Verstappen started seventh, after a five-grid penalty for not slowing down for the yellow flags in qualifying, but was fourth at the end of the first lap and second after five laps. He took a bonus point for the best lap. Perez started 11th and could have been on the podium without a passage to two stops and then to the virtual safety car. Team boss Horner received an official warning for commenting on a marshal and apologized.
FERRARI (Carlos Sainz 7, Charles Leclerc 8)
Sainz started fifth after penalties for Bottas and Verstappen and made a one-stop strategy. The two Ferrari drivers had to do a lot of tire management. Leclerc started with a new chassis in 13th place. Ferrari overtook the drivers in the pit. They now lead McLaren by 39.5 points.
MCLAREN (Lando Norris 9, Daniel Ricciardo 12)
Norris started fourth and had a good pace until a flat tire ruined his race and pulled him back from fourth with seven laps to go. The hard tire of the second stint had made fewer laps than the soft tire of the first. Ricciardo started 14th, had a good first stint and then had to save fuel.
ALPIN (Fernando Alonso 3, Esteban Ocon 5)
Alonso got his first podium since 2014, when he was at Ferrari. He started third after penalties at Verstappen and Bottas and was second after the first corner but ultimately couldn’t hold back Verstappen. He returned to third place after Perez took a dive for the second time. Ocon has moved up four places from his grid position. Alpine, owned by Renault, started the race on points level with AlphaTauri and is now 25 points ahead.
ALPHATAURI (Pierre Gasly 11, Yuki Tsunoda 13)
Gasly started on the front row but didn’t have the speed to compete up front. The team tried an aggressive two-stop strategy, but that didn’t work either. Tsunoda struggled with the soft tire and was also slowed down in the first stint when a tear in the visor caught on the rear wing, forcing an earlier pit stop to remove it.
ASTON MARTIN (Lance Stroll 6, Sebastian Vettel 10)
Stroll started 12th and got off to a good start, passing Sainz at the pit stop. The two were on one stop. Vettel started 10th but fell to 17th after being pushed aside by Bottas but made a strong recovery. It was the team’s first double since France in June.
WILLIAMS (George Russell 17, Nicholas Latifi retired)
Latifi retired on lap 51 due to a puncture, causing the virtual safety car to exit when it pulled over to the edge of the track and the marshals had to exit to retrieve it. Russell started 15th and stopped early on lap 17th, then had to pit again on lap 49 after a puncture in the front left.
ALFA ROMEO (Kimi Raikkonen 14, Antonio Giovinazzi 15)
The two made a two-stop strategy. Giovinazzi gained four places at the start.
HAAS (Mick Schumacher 16, Nikita Mazepin 18)
Schumacher started 19th and made a one-stop strategy, as did Mazepin, who had only completed 15 laps in practice and qualifying due to chassis issues.
(Report by Alan Baldwin in London, edited by Toby Davis)