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Saturday in Qatar | Hamilton takes pole as day ends with possible penalties

Saturday in Qatar | Hamilton takes pole as day ends with possible penalties

20-11-2021 22:01 Last update: 23:33


Saturday in Qatar was dominated by Mercedes and a convincing pole position for Lewis Hamilton. However, by the end of the day the stewards had the Formula 1 world in their grip once again with threats of grid penalties for Max Verstappen and several others.

The day started with more bad luck for Haas F1. Nikita Mazepin missed the second free practice session due to a chassis change that had to be carried out after FP1, but he was also unable to take part in the third and final free practice session. He had not yet reached the end of the pit lane when he was urgently requested to stop his car, which meant the session was immediately flagged off.

DRS clattering again at Red Bull

As a result, the session got off to a slow start. Red Bull Racing again had to work hard on the rear wings of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, after both drivers had the same DRS problem as in Brazil. However, the Austrian team seemed to have fixed the problem by the start of qualifying.

Hamilton and Bottas started their session with fast times, but Verstappen was also on the pace. He finished the session third, with a considerably smaller gap to his rivals than in the second free practice. Bottas ended the session fastest, followed by Hamilton.

Hamilton on top in qualifying

The first part of qualifying brought few surprises. Verstappen was closer to the pace of Hamilton this time, who finished Q1 fastest. Bottas seemed to lose the speed he had in free practice straight into qualifying.

In Q2, the Finn was already three tenths behind his teammate and he also had to watch Verstappen ahead of him. Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso again managed to surprise with second and third place in the second part of qualifying. For Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez, Q2 ended in disappointment. They all failed to advance to Q3.

In Q3, the tone was set by Hamilton. With a few minutes to go several drivers tried their luck, but the session ended in an anticlimax. Gasly suffered a puncture and had to retire his car, which meant there was little improvement to come. Hamilton's pace proved unattainable for Verstappen, who had to settle for more than four tenths of a second behind the Brit.

Gasly and Alonso surprised the crowd by qualifying fourth and fifth. Both drivers have been particularly strong all weekend.

Stewards investigation again

A day without controversy was not granted to the sport. A few hours after the end of qualifying the FIA announced that Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas will have to report to the stewards on Sunday morning for ignoring the yellow flag. In the case of Verstappen it was even a double yellow flag. It remains to be seen whether the starting order will reflect the results of the qualifying session.

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