Max Verstappen did not get out of his Red Bull completely satisfied in the floodlights in the desert of Qatar. It is true that the Formula 1 front runner asserted himself in practice in front of world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes on Friday and did not receive any penalty for his tough maneuver in Brazil, but it wasn't enough at the best time.

Problems with the rear wing prevented a perfect day.

Vice world champion Valtteri Bottas took first place in a Mercedes, Pierre Gasly came second in the Alpha Tauri, followed by title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton with a gap of just 0.072 seconds.

In Qatar, too, the World Cup fight remains extremely tight.

Also important for Verstappen: A punishment after the race in Brazil the previous week is no longer an issue.

Rival Mercedes failed in an attempt to protest against a decision by the stewards at the São Paulo Grand Prix in favor of Verstappen.

A right of review was not granted by the Fia, the world motor sport association.

There was no decisive new evidence situation for a tough duel maneuver in the 48th round, as it was officially called on Friday.

The Silver Arrows had a retrospective review of the situation on Tuesday.

“I expected that.

We wanted to spark a discussion, and that is what we achieved.

We didn't expect it to go any further, ”said Mercedes Motorsport Director Toto Wolff.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: "It's the right decision."

It had already been speculated whether Verstappen could subsequently slip backwards due to a time penalty and thus lose more points to Hamilton.

Hamilton won the race and came within 14 points of Verstappen in the overall standings.

There are only three races left in Abu Dhabi until the end of the season on December 12th.

In the duel between the leading racing teams, the climate remains poisoned. “I don't have to go to dinner with Toto, I don't have to kiss his butt. From my point of view, it's a fight, ”said Horner. Wolff compared the rivalry to martial arts. At first they met like in amateur boxing, then like in professional boxing and now finally it's mixed martial arts (MMA). “The elbows are out and the gloves are off,” said Wolff: “It's an incredible fight. It's clear that it's tough because it's about the World Cup. "

Even if their protest had little chance of success, Mercedes absolutely wanted to go this way.

“It can be a little thing that ultimately makes the difference for the title.

You fight for every single point, ”said the Austrian Wolff.

For Horner, all concentration now applies to the important Grand Prix in Qatar: "We have to focus on what is happening on the track."

That is also what the German drivers want, who had nothing to do with what was happening at the top during training.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel came in ninth place in the Aston Martin, more than 0.8 seconds behind.

Newcomer Mick Schumacher had to place himself in 19th place in his defeated Haas racing car.