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Stunned in the gravel: For Lewis Hamilton, the race in Qatar was quickly over



Stress among colleagues: For Max Verstappen, there was nothing more at stake, the old and new world champion had already been crowned in Qatar on Saturday in the sprint. The party is said not to have lasted long, but the Red Bull driver got away sluggishly at the start. To the left and right of him, on the other hand, there was a lot of excitement, the two Mercedes drivers gave each other nothing. Lewis Hamilton, starting from third position, drove on the outside in the first corner and, in an attempt to get past Verstappen, collided with his teammate George Russell, whom he left no space. Hamilton retired and stood stunned in the gravel for seconds. Russell was able to save his Mercedes in the pits and complained angrily on the radio. "Concentrate and drive," said team boss Toto Wolff.

The result: Russell did the same, but it was just not enough for the podium. There, the two McLaren drivers Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris joined Verstappen, who did not let victory be taken away from him. Read the race report here.

The start: Sprint winner Piastri took advantage of the collision between the two Mercedes to slip past Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc, the rookie was the new second. Norris also made up a few places. Sergio Pérez had to start from the pit lane after accident damage from the sprint race, and his Red Bull underwent a complete engine change, among other things. Singapore winner Carlos Sainz was not there at all. Due to a "problem with the fuel system", Ferrari withdrew his car, Sainz would have started from twelfth place.

Illegal parking: In the subsequent safety car period, some drivers pitted for the first time. At the restart, there were no position changes at the front. Russell snatched 13th place in the duel with Pérez, both had been swept forward by the tyre changes of the competition. Bad news reached Nico Hulkenberg. The Haas driver had illegally driven into Sainz's free position at the start. After serving the ten-second penalty, he dropped from the points to the back of the field – and was not to improve much from there.

Arithmetic games: Afterwards, the pit lane became crowded, and there were numerous shifts on the track. The reason: Out of concern about dangerous tyre damage, the FIA had set binding rules for pit stops. No car is allowed to run more than 18 laps on one set of tyres in the race. With 57 laps, each driver has to change three times. The rule keepers were reacting to unusual damage to the tyres, which had already been detected on Friday. The triggers are probably the kerbstones equipped with small pyramids as well as the inclination of the kerbs, it was said in the FIA statement. There had already been problems with this in Qatar at the Formula 1 premiere two years ago. Although the course has been revamped, these have now reappeared.

"I'm much faster than Oscar": In all the hustle and bustle, it became exciting again behind Verstappen in the last third of the race, because McLarenis not giving anything away at the moment. After the final stop, Norris rejoined the track just behind Piastri, both behind Russell, who had fought his way up to second but had to stop again. The team wanted to secure both podium places and asked Norris not to attack his teammate. Norris, who is actually the number one in the team, but is currently under pressure from newcomer Piastri, discussed on the radio, but complied.

Alonso's seat gets hot: The heat and high humidity challenged the pilots in Qatar. Alonso complained that his seat was getting hot. He asked if water could be poured into his back at the next stop. Piastri lay exhausted on the floor in the so-called cool-down room after crossing the finish line and Logan Sargeant could not even finish the race. The rookie had reported from the cockpit that he was not feeling well, he was nauseous. He had to park his Williams in the garage, videos show that he is having trouble getting out. There was no further information about his condition at first.

Hamilton contrite: At Mercedes, however, tempers had cooled down again. Hamilton, who had initially blamed Russell for the crash, was later contrite at the microphone: "I can only say sorry, to my team. I take responsibility," he told Sky about half an hour after the incident. However, he has not yet seen the replay. Two weeks ago in Japan, the teammates had already touched. Even though it did not have any negative consequences on the outcome of the race at Suzuka, the relationship between Hamilton and Russell has been strained since then. Russell responded with a fourth-place finish in Qatar.