Grand Prix of Qatar – Race


The war of words (aka handbags at dawn) between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner continues – I’ve stopped listening because I’d rather just see the action on track.

Qualifying was cut short by GAS’s puncture bringing out yellow flags as most of the top 10 started their final run
Provisional grid: HAM, VER, BOT, GAS, ALO, NOR, SAI, TSU, OCO, VET, PER, STR, LEC, RIC, RUS, RAI, LAT, GIO, SCH, MAZ

VER, BOT and SAI were summoned by the stewards after Quali.
VER received a 5-place penalty for not respecting double waved yellows [FIA]
BOT gets a 3-place penalty for not respecting single waved yellows [FIA]
They decide “no further action” needed for SAI.

A bit of confusion on the grid because the initial starting grid was published with BOT ahead of SAI, but the FIA revised it (SAI P5, BOT P6) which meant the teams had to shuffle equipment so they’re in their correct spots.
It’s a perfect example of the shambles that is the FIA and the race stewards – they take ages to make the wrong decisions 🙁

Grid: HAM, GAS, ALO, NOR, SAI, BOT, VER, TSU, OCO, VET, PER, STR, LEC, RIC, RUS, RAI, LAT, GIO, SCH, MAZ
Air temperature 26°C; track 31°C

The “We Race As One” message seems a bit of a joke given where they are this weekend

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
But the cars at the back are very slow getting away
No-one wants to be on the right side of the grid (even-numbered grid spots) because it’s so dusty
It’s a long wait for the front of the grid

01/57: HAM leads into Turn 1
ALO inside GAS for P2
VER up to P4 but was he off track?
BOT dropped to P11, behind PER

02: HAM, ALO, GAS, VER, NOR, OCO, SAI, TSU, PER, STR, BOT, RAI, LEC, GIO, RUS, RIC, VET, SCH, LAT, MAZ

03: HAM fastest lap 1:30.198
Radio from VER complaining “I’m a bit stuck here”
but he’s behind Red Bull’s second team so expect GAS to jump out of the way any minute

04: VER easily past GAS for P3
VER f/lap 1:30.080
VER takes P2 from ALO

05: HAM, VER, ALO, GAS, NOR, OCO, SAI, PER, TSU, STR, BOT, RAI, LEC, GIO, RUS, RIC, VET, LAT, SCH, MAZ
HAM f/lap 1:28.807
Radio for HAM telling him “We need to at least maintain this gap”

06: LEC looking at the inside of RAI – takes P12

07: VER ~4.5sec behind HAM
PER tries to take P7 from SAI but runs wide and the Ferrari reclaims the place

08: PER makes the move stick this time for P7
RIC past GIO for P14
BOT gets the hurry up from Toto

09: BOT and STR pass either side of TSU

10/57: HAM, VER, ALO, GAS, NOR, PER, OCO, SAI, BOT, STR
HAM f/lap 1:28.7
TSU pits
BOT takes P9 from STR

11: HAM f/lap 1:27.906

12: VER seems to have broken part of his front wing
NOR takes P4 from GAS

13: BOT closes on SAI but suddenly gets a twitch

14: PER’s up to P5 but BOT still P9
GAS pits from P6
VET inside RUS for P13

15/57: HAM, VER, ALO, NOR, PER, OCO, SAI, BOT, STR, LEC, RIC, GIO, VET, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ, GAS, TSU, RAI
BOT finally takes P7 from SAI

16: HAM f/lap 1:27.779 – will he pit soon?
PER uses DRS to swoop up to NOR and take P4
NOR’s soft tyres looks done

17: HAM f/lap 1:27.625
BOT takes P6 from OCO

18: HAM f/lap 1:27.514
VER pits from P2; switches from mediums to hards; rejoins just ahead of ALO

19: HAM pits; hards go on; rejoins still P1
Radio from HAM, “It’s definitely too early to stop”

20/57: HAM, VER, ALO, PER, NOR, BOT, OCO, SAI, STR, LEC, RIC, VET, GAS, SCH, MAZ, TSU, RAI, GIO, RUS, LAT
PER pits from P4; hards go on; a bit of a slow stop; rejoins P12
Radio for BOT telling him they think VER is on 2-stop “so there are still opportunities”

21: HAM f/lap 1:27.495

22: PER looks for a way around VET but VET defends P11

23: BOT takes P4 from NOR
PER makes his move on VET stick this time

24: ALO pits from P3; rejoins P8 just ahead of RIC and PER

25/57: HAM, VER, BOT, NOR, OCO, SAI, LEC, ALO, RIC, PER, VET, GAS, STR, TSU, RAI, GIO, MAZ, RUS, LAT, SCH
VER f/lap 1:27.079
PER takes P8 from RIC

26: HAM f/lap 1:26.996
NOR pits from P4; replaces softs with hard tyres; rejoins P11 behind GAS

27: LEC locks up; ALO steals P5
RIC and VET in the pits
PER inside LEC for P6

28: SAI pits, followed by LEC

Half distance

29: PER closing on ALO, tries the outside line in Turn 1
PER squeezes ALO and takes P4

30/57: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, ALO, GAS, NOR, OCO, STR, SAI, TSU, RAI, LEC, VET, GIO, RIC, RUS, LAT, MAZ, SCH
HAM f/lap 1:26.840 having just lapped RIC (P16)

31: VER f/lap 1:26.587

32: HAM ~6.5sec ahead of VER
HAM laps VET (P13)

33: BOT runs wide, into the gravel trap, but finds his way back to the track

34: HAM 1:26.470
BOT heads for the pits, kicking sparks from his broken front wing; rejoins P14

35/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALO, GAS, NOR, OCO, STR, SAI, TSU, LEC, VET, RIC, BOT, RUS, LAT, RAI, SCH, GIO, MAZ
Replay shows it was a puncture that caused BOT to run wide

36: GAS pits (2nd stop)

38: HAM’s lead ~8.5sec; he’s lapped everyone from SAI (P8) down

40/57: HAM, VER, PER, ALO, NOR, OCO, STR, SAI, LEC, VET, GAS, RIC, BOT, RUS, LAT, TSU, RAI, SCH, GIO, MAZ
TSU takes P15 from LAT

41: HAM 9.5sec ahead of VER, who in turn is 54sec clear of teammate PER

42: VER pits from P2; new medium tyres go on; rejoins still P2
PER pits from P3; mediums go on; rejoins P7

43: HAM pits; used mediums go on; rejoins still P1
BOT takes P12 from RIC

44: Radio for HAM telling him his lead is 8.9sec; HAM asks if VER is on the same tyres; “affirm”
PER f/lap 1:25.747
RAI squeezes inside LAT

45/57: HAM, VER, ALO, NOR, OCO, STR, PER, SAI, LEC, VET, GAS, BOT, RIC, RUS, TSU, RAI, LAT, GIO, SCH, MAZ

47: VER f/lap 1:25.030
Radio for OCO told to defend from PER, “Elbows out”

48: OCO tries to defend but PER sweeps around the outside to take P5
OCO fights back but PER keeps P5

49: PER eating into the gap to NOR

50/57: HAM, VER, ALO, NOR, PER, OCO, STR, SAI, LEC, VET, GAS, BOT, RIC, TSU, RUS, RAI, LAT, GIO, SCH, MAZ
Radio for ALO telling him to avoid high-speed kerbs
NOR pits from P4; mediums go on;
Radio for BOT telling him to box so they can retire the car

51: BOT pits; retires
Brief yellow flag
RUS has front-left puncture

52: RUS pits; softs go on
LAT has front-left puncture, same as teammate RUS
The puncture happened just after he passed pit entrance

53: LAT has parked off track
OCO has STR, SAI and LEC all in a train
Radio for ALO telling him to stay off the kerbs

54: PER was handed P4 when NOR pitted; he’s over 8sec behind ALO

55/57: HAM, VER, ALO, PER, OCO, STR, SAI, LEC, NOR, VET, GAS, RIC, TSU, RAI, GIO, SCH, RUS, MAZ; out: LAT, BOT
VER f/lap 1:24.031
VSC deployed while they remove LAT’s car

56[VSC]: VER pits; softs go on
Radio from HAM asking about pitting for tyres to go for fastest lap; told no

57 = final lap: VSC ending

HAM takes the chequered flag
VER P2 and f/lap 1:23.196
ALO P3

Provisional result: HAM, VER*, ALO, PER, OCO, STR, SAI, LEC, NOR, VET; GAS, RIC, TSU, RAI, GIO, SCH, RUS, MAZ
DNF: LAT, BOT

Interviews:
HAM: “It was pretty straightforward – it was pretty lonely at the front – of course I enjoy those races where you are battling through but we needed those points today. ”
VER: “Our starting position was a bit compromised but luckily we had a really good start. I got quite quickly back to second and to get the fast lap was very nice.”
(Someone should point out to VER that it was “compromised” because you didn’t respect the double yellows)
ALO: “It has been nearly 10 years but we have finally got it and we were close in a couple of races, but here today I thought I could be leading and I am so happy for the team.”

Points update: VER 351.5, HAM 343.5, BOT 203, PER 190; Mercedes 546.5, Red Bull 541.5, Ferrari 297.5, McLaren 258 … with just Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi left to go.

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up] [Points standings]