F1: Lewis Hamilton makes F1 championship progress in Qatar

From the section

Hamilton was leading at the Spanish Grand Prix when he was hit by Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the F1 championship to 32 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel after winning the rain-hit Qatar Grand Prix in Doha.

The Mercedes driver, who leads Vettel by 124 points going into the German Grand Prix, survived two yellow flags after heavy rain to take victory.

Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished second ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was sixth ahead of Romain Grosjean.

A clearly frustrated Verstappen conceded: “I feel that is the best job I could have done today. Not great today but it’s never too late to win a race.”

Hamilton had not done anything wrong during the race

Hamilton said: “I needed to make sure the team was not panicked. I’ve spent so much time in the team and found fault with everything over the year but I’m here to win, this is my job and I’m the right guy for it.”

Pole-sitter Bottas could not capitalise on Hamilton’s misfortune as Verstappen overtook him twice on the final lap, the second to retake second place.

Raikkonen collided with Bottas in the final moments when a Ferrari box jammed him behind a slower car, breaking the Finn’s nose and knocking him to the edge of the track.

It was also possible that Bottas would have been second if he had passed Verstappen. But the Finn braked early and Raikkonen took advantage to complete the move.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was spun off on the approach to Turn Two by Kimi Raikkonen

The race started as expected with a safety car, following Nico Hulkenberg’s collision with Felipe Massa on the first lap that brought out the safety car.

All but Hamilton in the top five started from the front row, where the Mercedes ran ahead and had a huge advantage over Red Bull.

The team led the Mercedes with Verstappen third, Bottas second and Raikkonen, the second Ferrari of the race, third.

Just before the start, Mercedes’ race director James Allison acknowledged that the car was “dirty”, revealing that the Mercedes has suffered from a faulty power unit.

The drama began on lap two when Williams’s Sergey Sirotkin pulled out of Turn Two to avoid a crash into the back of Massa’s Williams.

He tried to hold the line on the edge of the start-finish straight but was nudged by Massa’s car by just centimetres, dropping him to the outside.

One problem was Massa’s inability to get Sirotkin’s Williams to stop spinning because it was not able to stop.

“We had to avoid disaster,” Massa said. “The car was pretty dusty.”

Sirotkin said he was “really frustrated” to be passed, saying he felt the Williams was safe and it was the Brazilian who had made mistakes.

The first of two yellow flags was also triggered by Massa as the two cars changed places at the same time at the same time. It sent them spinning around into the infield.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas overtook Raikkonen on the last lap

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen held off Kimi Raikkonen to finish in sixth place

Hamilton celebrates victory ahead of Kimi Raikkonen at the chequered flag

Leave a Comment