F1 Grand Prix race results: Hamilton wins Qatar GP

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Hamilton led from start to finish, while Verstappen battled back from a five-place grid penalty to finish second with fastest lap.

Fernando Alonso used a one-stop podium to finish third, braving it out despite a string of front-left tyre failures – that claimed Valtteri Bottas among others.

2021 Qatar Grand Prix race results

How the Qatar Grand Prix unfolded

From pole position Hamilton led AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly on the long run to Turn 1, while Alonso forced his way past Gasly for second on the exit of Turn 2. Verstappen, who was demoted to seventh on the starting grid after failing to slow for double-yellow waved flags in qualifying, moved up to fourth immediately – despite being barged wide on the entrance to Turn 2 by Alonso.

In the second Mercedes, Bottas – who was demoted three places after qualifying – compounded that with a poor start and dropped to 11th.

Hamilton ended lap one with a two-second lead already, with Alonso holding up Gasly and Verstappen. Gasly then ran wide at the final corner on lap three, allowing Verstappen up to third. McLaren’s Lando Norris ran fourth, ahead of Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull).

Verstappen DRS-ed past Alonso for second on lap five, putting him second but over 4s behind Hamilton. His teammate Perez worked his way up the field, passing Tsunoda, Sainz and Ocon.

Verstappen reported front wing damage on lap eight, after which Hamilton’s lead extended to over 5s as Max was told to stay off the kerbs. Behind Alonso in third, Gasly came under attack from Norris and Perez, with Norris grabbing fourth on lap 12 and Perez further demoting Gasly a lap later. Perez then passed Norris for fourth on lap 16.

Verstappen pitted on lap 18, taking hard tyres and rejoining just ahead of Alonso. Mercedes responded a lap later with Hamilton, the gap between them – which had been over 10s now reduced to 8s.

Bottas made slower progress as he also worked his way forwards, moving past Norris into fourth position on lap 23, while Perez pitted before half distance and rejoined in traffic. Alonso pitted to cover him, so Perez had to pass him on track – but they both tripped up over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who was running a long first stint.

Perez passed Alonso with a spectacular move through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 29, clearing him to focus on his battle for the final spot on the podium with Bottas. But that was decided when Bottas’s left-front tyre blew on lap 34, causing him to go off into the gravel. After a pitstop, he rejoined in 14th.

Verstappen pitted again on lap 42 for fresh mediums, covered by Hamilton a lap later who took scrubbed mediums, with an 8s gap between them. Perez also stopped, dropping to seventh and promoting Alonso back to third.

Perez then had to battle past Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Ocon – while Norris was forced to pit with a puncture with seven laps to go, handing fourth to Perez. Williams’s George Russell then suffered a left-front puncture, with team-mate Nicholas Latifi also endured an identical failure.

A late virtual safety car was called to remove Latifi’s stranded Williams. Verstappen pitted again for new softs in a bid to ensure his point for fastest lap.

After the race went green on the final lap, Hamilton won by almost 30 seconds, ahead of Verstappen. Alonso braved it out on his one-stop strategy to finish third ahead of Perez, while Ocon led a train of Stroll, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris and Vettel.

Bottas pitted to retire due to car damage and Gasly finished outside the points despite starting on the front row.

2021 Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix fastest laps

2021 Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix tyre history

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