New three-time champion Max Verstappen convincingly wins the 2023 Qatar GP

After Mercedes eliminates itself, Verstappen rolls up the competition

The GP weekend in Qatar is one you will not soon forget. Of course, Max Verstappen won his third world title here, but this is also a special weekend for other reasons. Yesterday the track was partly adjusted and there was an extra training session to let the drivers get used to the track and to see what the effect was on the tires.

Despite the change, the tires are wearing dangerously fast, according to Pirelli. Therefore, drivers are not allowed to complete more than 18 fast laps on a single tire set. Rounds to and from the pits are therefore not included. If there are no safety cars, each driver will have to go in three times for new rubber.

In addition, Carlos Sainz already lost before the start of the 2023 Qatar GP. His Ferrari has a problem that the team cannot solve before the start. Sergio Pérez went off hard yesterday during the sprint race. Because the team had to work on his car, the Red Bull driver started from the pit lane.

Start of the 2023 Qatar GP

Verstappen is doing much better than yesterday. He keeps the lead towards the first corner, but is bombarded by both Mercedes. When entering the first corner, Hamilton tries to pass Russell and Verstappen on the outside. Hamilton is too aggressive and hits his teammate. Boontje comes for his pay, because Hamilton flies off the track due to the collision with Russell and loses a wheel.

The moment of contact between the two Mercedes 👀 #F1 #QatarGP

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2023 Russell sustains a flat tire as a result of the crash, but is able to continue. He takes his Mercedes to the pits where his car is checked and new tires are fitted. Hamilton's stranded car triggers a safety car. Enough time to see who benefits from the clashing Mercs. Piastri is now second ahead of Alonso, Leclerc, Ocon and Norris.

Restart of the race

Verstappen copies Russell's successful restart from yesterday, with the same result. Verstappen immediately has one second of breathing space to Piastri. After this, George Russell starts his advance forward. Early on he meets Pérez, who is in thirteenth place. Without too much effort, Russell also passes the Red Bull. Not much later, Russell moves into the top ten. So his Mercedes seems to have enough speed.

LAP 4/57 Safety Car in ⬅️We are racing again! 🙌 #F1 #QatarGP

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2023 In lap eleven, the first drivers make their first regular pit stop. A round later, Piastri comes in. Verstappen is now gaining a lot of time on the McLarens. They are in the middle of traffic after their tire changes. That is why the three-time world champion will stay out as long as possible under the new 18-round rule.

Alonso has a hot bottom

As exciting as the sprint race was yesterday, the action on the track is just as sleep-inducing today. Okay, there is some overtaking left and right, but there are no grandiose actions. Nice to mention is Alonso complaining about a hot seat. "See if you can find something on it, throw some water or something," Alonso says over the radio.

LAP 27/57 📻 "The seat is burning, mate. Anything we can do at the pit stop? Throw me water or something!" 😮Alonso, who comes back out in P8, is literally in the hot seat! 🔥 #F1 #QatarGP

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2023 In his rise, Pérez goes off the track too often. After the fourth time track limits, Pérez receives a five-second penalty. In the meantime, most of the drivers come in for the second pit stop. This also applies to Piastri, who then falls behind Albon. The Williams proves difficult to beat. Once again Piastri loses a lot of time compared to the leader of the race.

In lap 33 of 57, Alonso shoots off the track with his warm seat. In turn two he loses all grip and drives straight through the gravel trap. The Aston comes back onto the track straight into Leclerc's path. Leclerc has much more speed and therefore has to avoid Alonso. Usually the race management hands out a penalty for this, but not this time.

LAP 33/57 Alonso is off at Turn 2 😮He gets back on track just in front of Leclerc but the Ferrari driver overtakes immediately #F1 #QatarGP

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2023 ## Verstappen relegates the competition

In the meantime, Verstappen has been in for a set of hard tires. We are also short of superlatives on this rubber to indicate how much better the champion is than the rest. The clearest example of Verstappen's dominance is that he is faster on the hard tires than the McLarens, the first challengers, on a softer tire.

Far, far behind Verstappen, Pérez's race only gets worse. For the second time, the Mexican driver receives a five-second penalty for having been off the track too often. "This hurts our race," says Pérez's engineer. Painful. To make matters worse, Verstappen puts his teammate one lap behind.

LAP 40/57Uh-oh 😦Sergio Perez in trouble for track limits again – that's another five-second time penalty for the Mexican #F1 #QatarGP

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2023 In another way, the end of Sargeant's race is painful. The young driver reports that driving makes him feel nauseous and he simply cannot continue. After trying a few laps, Sargeant comes into the pits to stop.

LAP 42/57 A tough race for Sargeant ends ❌The American reluctantly retires – he's not feeling well Hope you feel better soon, Logan #F1 #QatarGP

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2023 ## Who will be second behind Verstappen?

McLaren still creates some tension at the end of the race. Piastri has the advantage and is 2.5 seconds ahead. The rookie comes in for his final stop. A lap later, Norris also enters. When leaving the pits, Piastri sits right in front of his teammate. McLaren demands from Norris that the teammates are not allowed to attack each other.

'Why are we doing that? The gap is big enough and I am clearly a lot faster," said Norris's response. Verstappen has now widened the gap to Piastri enough to make a pit stop without losing the lead. After this, Norris increasingly catches up with his teammate, just as he promised.

In the final lap the difference between the McLarens is only one second. However, an attack does not occur. Max Verstappen crowns his third world title with a victory in Qatar. Piastri performed above par again by finishing second ahead of Norris. Russell's chaotic race ends in fourth place.

MAX VERSTAPPEN WINS IN QATAR!!! An incredible 14th win of the season 💪Piastri finishes P2, Norris P3 🙌 #F1 #QatarGP

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2023 ## Result of the 2023 Qatar GP

Verstappen Piastri Norris Russell Leclerc Alonso Ocon Bottas Zhou Pérez Stroll Gasly Magnussen Albon Tsunoda Hülkenberg Lawson Sargeant Hamilton Sainz