Max Verstappen wins third consecutive Formula One world championship
Max Verstappen won his third consecutive F1 world title on Saturday after finishing second in the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint race. The result means the Dutchman, who has enjoyed another formidable season on the track and has dominated his rivals in almost every race, cannot be caught in the Drivers’ Championship even if he doesn’t pick up another point this year.
“I have achieved more than I could ever have dreamed of,” Verstappen explained on Saturday night. “So I am living the moment, it’s already way more than I thought I could achieve. It’s perfect.”
“This one is the best one. The first one was the most emotional one, that is when your dreams are fulfilled in F1 but this one has been my best year. The consecutive wins, the car has been in the best shape. This one I’m the most proud of.”
Verstappen has won 13 of the 16 Grands Prix this season and will go in search of a 14th when Sunday’s main event gets underway. The 26-year-old will start from pole position following Friday’s session and is the overwhelming favourite to cross the chequered flag first.
Ocon: I threw up in my helmet
Esteban Ocon has spoken out about the physical difficulties he faced during the Qatar Grand Prix as the searing heat caused havoc among the drivers.
“I was throwing up by lap 15, 16. For two laps I think,” he revealed to Sky Sports F1 in the media pen after the race.
“I was doing that and thinking ‘s***, it’s going to be a long one’. Get it under control just mentally and just focus on what I’ve got to try and do.
“I’ve never had that in the past. I’ve always been able to do two race distances in the car, that’s what I’ve always been training for, but today it was just the hot air and how hot the engine is from behind the car.
“I don’t think we particularly sealed the cockpit too well. It must have been like 80 degrees inside the car. I’m glad that next year we come back in December here.”
Hamilton handed fine after Qatar woes
Lewis Hamilton has been fined £21,640 (€25,000) with an equal amount suspended after crossing the track during a safety car period in Qatar.
The seven-time world champion crashed with his Mercedes team-mate on the opening lap of the Qatar Grand Prix, leaving him beached in the gravel at turn one.
When out of the car, Hamilton made his way across the asphalt to the pit lane, breaking the FIA’s guidelines in the process.
As well as his initial fine, Hamilton was given another fine of the same value but suspended for the remainder of the 2023 season, on the condition that he doesn’t repeat the offence.
Lord positive despite Hamilton crash
Mercedes’ communications director Bradley Lord was positive about the pace shown by his team this weekend, despite the opening lap crash that threatened to wreck their Qatar Grand Prix.
“Worst possible start and the worst possible thing that can happen for a race team to see your two cars collide,” he told Ted Kravitz of Sky Sports F1.
“For sure, on Lap 1 with George at the back and Lewis in the gravel, things didn’t look brilliant at all. To turn that around with George in P4 and outscoring Ferrari on an afternoon was not something we could have hoped for once we were one lap into the race.
“What might have been is clear to see. We were right on the pace of the McLarens, probably not within striking distance of Max, but there’s a double podium that could have been today.”
3 drivers at medical centre
Three unnamed drivers have taken themselves to the medical centre after falling unwell during the Qatar GP.
The grueling 33 degree temperature had the cockpit feeling like it was close to 50 degrees.
Many drivers fell to the ground after climbing out of their cars while Logan Sargeant failed to finish due to illness.
Hamilton under investigation
Lewis Hamilton is facing a trip to the stewards in the aftermath of the Qatar Grand Prix with the seven-time world champion under investigation for walking across the circuit.
Hamilton found himself in trouble on the opening lap of the race when he got a better launch than his Mercedes team-mate, sending it around the outside of George Russell without success.
The 38-year-old made contact after squeezing Russell, sending him spinning into the gravel and out of the race at the first corner. This was when the incident that is under investigation took place.
With the race under safety car conditions and Hamilton out of his vehicle in the gravel trap, he crossed the circuit to get back to the pit lane, falling foul of the regulations in the process.
Russell makes Hamilton crash assessment
George Russell has offered his opinion on the crash between himself and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap of the Qatar Grand Prix.
“We both had the possibility of standing on the podium. Obviously nothing intentional both ways,” he explained to Sky Sports F1 after the race.
“These cars are so difficult to see when you are racing – there’s big blind spots.
“We both have so much respect for one another. We will go past this and I’m sure we will speak and everything will be OK.”
Hamilton speaks out after Russell crash
Lewis Hamilton has issued an apology to his team after colliding with Mercedes team-mate George Russell on the opening lap.
“I just feel really sorry to my team,” he told Sky Sports F1 after climbing out of the W14. “It was an opportunity today to get some good points.
“In the heat of the moment, I didn’t really understand what happened, I just obviously felt the tap from behind. But I don’t think George probably had anywhere to go and, yeah, it’s just one of those really unfortunate situations.
“I mean, I’m happy to take responsibility as the older one. It’s massively gutting to have a result like this. It’s very rare that this happens to me. I hope George is able to get back into the points today so I’ll be supporting him.”
Tost issues Ricciardo return update
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has issued an update on the return of Daniel Ricciardo with the popular Aussie hoping to start the race in Austin.
Speaking to Sky Sports on the grid, Tost said: “He was in the simulator on Monday and he couldn’t push as much with this hand as he would need to in a race.
“We will see now what’s going on in Austin. We plan that he is racing in Austin, but we don’t know this for sure.”
Liam Lawson will be on standby in case Ricciardo isn’t fit to race in the United States. The 21-year-old is driving for the team again in Qatar.
It’s official: Sainz will not start
Following on from Ted Kravitz’s earlier report, Ferrari have confirmed that Carlos Sainz will miss the Qatar Grand Prix.
The official reasoning given by the Scuderia is a ‘fuel system issue’ with Charles Leclerc now carrying all of Ferrari’s hopes on his shoulders.
Carlos Sainz set to miss Qatar GP
Carlos Sainz is set to miss the start of the Qatar Grand Prix with Ferrari struggling to fix a fuel leak issue on his car.
Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz confirmed during the broadcast that he had spoken to team principal Fred Vasseur about the issue with the Frenchman downbeat about his chances.
The 28-year-old racer endured a miserable start to his weekend with a Q2 exit during Friday’s qualifying session setting him on the back foot from the get-go.
Albon explains reason for major Williams gains
Alex Albon has explained the massive performance gains made by Williams during the sprint race in Qatar on Saturday.
Speaking to Autosport about his afternoon, Albon said: “Didn’t expect it that’s for sure, and obviously it helped a little bit with the carnage, but [we were] super quick as well, honestly.
“Our relative pace, compared to where we have been this weekend, it was so much quicker, I think almost half a second to a second quicker than our average pace so far this weekend. So all helped by the wind, honestly, the wind has transformed our car by [it] dropping.
The Thai-British drive managed to secure a P7 finish after a post-race penalty for Charles Leclerc, adding vital points to Williams’ tally.
Piastri challenges Hamilton to a race
Oscar Piastri finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton on track at the Qatar Grand Prix sprint race, and now he has challenged the legendary Brit to a different kind of race.
Responding to a comment of support from the seven-time world champion on his Instagram page, Piastri wrote: “Thanks mate. Fancy an RC race soon?”
The “RC” in question stands for remote control with Hamilton previously taking his car to the tarmac at Suzuka with Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.
Both drivers have a history of racing remote control vehicles competitively in their childhoods with Piastri now hoping to relive that experience with an all-time F1 great.
Red Bull found guilty
Red Bull’s celebrations will have to come to a momentary pause in Qatar as the team and Sergio Perez have been found guilty by the FIA of assembling too much of the spare chassis ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.
“Last night the Oracle Red Bull Racing team worked on car number 11, chassis 02, two hours after chequered flag of the Sprint,” read an FIA statement. “Chassis 01 got damaged beyond repair during the accident in the Sprint. Chassis 01 and all other components fitted to it at the time of the Sprint were covered on time at 23:08, two hours after chequered flag was shown at the end of the sprint.
“As chassis 02 was assembled without supervision to more than an assembly comprising a survival cell as defined in SR Article 27.2, this has to be considered as a third car available to the competitor. A self-declared sheet for car 11, chassis 02, was submitted at 14:05 today, 55 minutes before the covers-off time.
“As this is not in compliance with SR Articles 27.2, 40.3 and 40.6 as well as TD021 G, I am referring this matter to the Stewards for their consideration.”
Ben Sulayem dismisses rift
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has insisted there won’t be a rift if American team Andretti join the F1 grid. Andretti have partnered with Cadillac and had their F1 application approved earlier this month by the FIA.
“There is no way it will be a rift,” Ben Sulayem told Sky Sports ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix. “I am sorry, the press can write whatever they want.
“This is common sense. I would like a good reason. Honestly, if you look at it, I could have done this process a long time ago and I could have approved it a long time ago. But I took my time. We asked the right questions to Cadillac and to Andretti and when they came back to us, there is no way we can resist them because the team ticked all the boxes. It is good for the sport. I am actually confident that they will go through.”
Verstappen compared to Nadal on clay
Sky Sports presenter Karun Chandhok has compared Max Verstappen to Rafael Nadal on clay courts after the Red Bull ace secured his third consecutive F1 world title on Saturday.
“Imperious. That is what they (Red Bull) have been as a collective on [Verstappen’s] side of the garage. It’s not been plain-sailing for [Sergio] Perez,” explained Chandhok. “If you’re playing against Rafael Nadal at his peak on clay, whatever you do with the ball, it’s just going to come back to you. That’s what it’s like being team-mates with Verstappen.”
Horner makes ‘weight’ jibe
Red Bull chief Christian Horner has joked about Ted Kravitz’s weight after the Sky Sports presenter asked if he could have a world champion t-shirt.
After Kravitz asked for an extra large, Horner replied: “I think they go up to XXL so you’ll be alright.” And the reporter hit back: “Good, I’ll collect it later and sell it on eBay.”
Aston Martin chief has his say on Stroll
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has now had his say on Lance Stroll after the Canadian driver shoved trainer Henry Howe during Friday’s qualifying session ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix.
“I’ve seen it too and it’s now easy to always judge someone directly,” explained Krack. “I usually try not to talk after a race or qualifying because I know how much you can get wound up. You see football players who sometimes throw a jersey or throw the water bottle or don’t give the coach a handshake when they are substituted. I think sport thrives on emotions like that and you shouldn’t judge it too much when you’re in a situation like that.”
Horner hints at Norris decision
Red Bull chief Christian Horner has told Lando Norris that Max Verstappen cannot have another “alpha” driving alongside him. Verstappen cruised to a third-successive World Championship in Saturday’s sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix, amid speculation over whether Sergio Perez will partner him next season.
The Red Bull team principal was asked by Sky Sports about the possibility of Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso partnering Verstappen. He responded: “If you put two extreme alphas in a team it’ll tear the team apart. So you always want to achieve I think the right balance. That’s one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned.”
Stroll addresses trainer shove
Aston Martin star Lance Stroll says his relationship with Henry Howe is “good” after the Canadian driver shoved his trainer in anger after Friday’s qualifying session at the Qatar Grand Prix.
“We’re good, he’s a bro,” Stroll told reporters. “We go through the frustration together and we ride together, so we’re cool.”
Stroll suffered a disappointing performance in qualifying ahead of the weekend and is set to start the Qatar Grand Prix in P17.
Red Bull banned from usual celebration
Red Bull were unable to celebrate Max Verstappen’s title victory in their usual way following the Sprint race on Saturday because of an F1 rule.
And Sky Sports pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz summed up the situation as he explained: “They normally do a photo and then they normally spray Red Bull everywhere. And if they spray Red Bull everywhere… there’s a Grand Prix on this track surface tomorrow here.
“I’m just checking with my pit lane colleague Albert Fabrega but they can’t spray the Red Bull because that would be making their pit box even stickier and [it will help] the pit stops. I don’t think they can do the Red Bull moment. They can’t, can they? If they do that sticky Red Bull moment, because the FIA will do them. I’m absolutely sure of that.”
Trainer planning revenge on Stroll
Aston Martin trainer Henry Howe will get ‘revenge’ on Lance Stroll after being shoved by the driver in Qatar, Ted Kravitz has said. A furious Stroll pushed Howe after a bitterly disappointing Qatar Grand Prix qualifying session.
“So I have a little bit more for you on the Lance Stroll pushing his trainer Henry moment. So he has apologised. Obviously it wasn’t a cool thing to do. Lance has acknowledged that,” Kravitz said on Sky Sports.
“Henry was trying to get him to go out the front of the garage to do the walk of shame down to the FIA weighbridge, and that’s why Lance, all full of emotion and adrenaline, disappointed in himself, Lance is his own harshest critic, was really annoyed that he hadn’t performed himself and in a moment pushed away his trainer Henry.
“He says he’s apologised to Henry, but he says they’re like brothers and Henry is going to get his own back on Lance when he next puts him through one of his training sessions. And that Lance is absolutely sure that Henry will have his revenge on the push, which didn’t look cool for Lance Stroll, but Lance has apologised about it to Henry.”
Russell gives honest Mercedes verdict
George Russell says Mercedes need to look at themselves in the mirror in their quest to compete with Red Bull next year. The Austrian team have been way ahead of their rivals this season, with Max Verstappen clinching his third title in a row following Saturday’s Sprint race in Qatar.
“From the outset Red Bull were far superior to everybody else and then Max has obviously been on another level recently so we can only congratulate him,” Russell told Sky Sports. “We’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror and raise our game to give them some trouble next year because nobody likes to see that dominance and we want to be there in the fight and putting them under a bit of pressure.”
Red Bull ‘party till 2pm’
Red Bull chief Helmut Marko was cheekily told by Sky Sports that there’ll be “no partying beyond 2am” after Max Verstappen clinched his third consecutive F1 world title on Saturday. But Marko replied that the partying will run “only till 2pm.”
And when asked if he was buying the drinks, Marko joked: “We’ll take it out the budget cap.”
Good morning and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the Qatar Grand Prix. Red Bull star Max Verstappen wrapped-up his third world title yesterday after finishing second in the Sprint race and will be aiming to win his 14th Grand Prix of the season later today. We’ll have plenty of news throughout the day, so grab a coffee and stay tuned.
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