verstappen-starts-fast-on-qatar-debut,-avoids-hamilton-hearing

Verstappen starts fast on Qatar debut, avoids Hamilton hearing

Max Verstappen dominates first F1 practice session in Qatar, 0.4s quicker than Valtteri Bottas and 0.7s ahead of Lewis Hamilton; Stewards rule that Verstappen’s defence from Hamilton in Brazil will not be investigated

Last Updated: 19/11/21 12:50pm


    2009 world champion Jenson Button delivers his verdict on the incident between title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

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    2009 world champion Jenson Button delivers his verdict on the incident between title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

    2009 world champion Jenson Button delivers his verdict on the incident between title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

    Max Verstappen put the ongoing off-track controversy behind him to storm clear of the field on F1’s Qatar debut, much faster than the Mercedes of title rival Lewis Hamilton in first practice.

    Hitting the track just before the stewards finally made their decision not to open up a hearing on his feisty defence from Hamilton at the Sao Paulo GP, Verstappen was in majestic form in the Red Bull.

    Verstappen posted a 1:23.723 to top the timesheets, 0.4s ahead of AlphaTauri’s Gasly and Valtteri Bottas in the lead Mercedes,

    And it was enjoyed a seamless start to Qatar’s first-ever F1 weekend for Verstappen compared to Hamilton, who was seven-tenths of a second off the pace and had issues during the opening hour of action.

    Hamilton first complained of a lack of power from his engine, and then had to pit with a car issue after running too wide over the kerbs of a dusty and demanding Losail International Circuit, which has been a popular mainstay on the MotoGP calendar.

    Shortly after the session, an F1 wait was ended as news filtered out that Verstappen, the championship leader by 14 points, had avoided a hearing into running Hamilton off the track last Sunday in Interlagos.

    Mick Schumacher takes a trip through the gravel late in the first practice session  as the Haas driver gets it wrong on the brakes.

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    Mick Schumacher takes a trip through the gravel late in the first practice session as the Haas driver gets it wrong on the brakes.

    Mick Schumacher takes a trip through the gravel late in the first practice session as the Haas driver gets it wrong on the brakes.

    On the track, it’s also looking good for Verstappen and Red Bull.

    “I’d say at the moment advantage to the Red Bulls,” said Sky F1’s Damon Hill. “I’m not just saying that because Max has got the quickest time, it just seems like it’s easier for them to do that.”

    Fellow F1 world champion Jenson Button added: “I wouldn’t say they are four tenths quicker than Mercedes. When you look at the Merc, it looks really good, I just don’t think they have quite got the balance together.”

    Track super dusty so too early to read into the form from FP1.

    I have a feeling track limits are going to be a big talking point this weekend 🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️#QatarGP #F12021

    — Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) November 19, 2021

    Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to struggle, with Lando Norris also suffering damage, while Mick Schumacher had an off and Lance Stroll was forced back to the garage with a hydraulic issue.

    Ted Kravitz and Damon Hill were at the SkyPad to look back at the incident involving title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Sao Paulo GP.

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    Ted Kravitz and Damon Hill were at the SkyPad to look back at the incident involving title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Sao Paulo GP.

    Ted Kravitz and Damon Hill were at the SkyPad to look back at the incident involving title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Sao Paulo GP.

    In terms of the pace, the AlphaTauris were certainly competitive with Yuki Tsunoda fifth, ahead of the Ferraris ahead of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc who have, once again, started faster than the McLarens.

    Sergio Perez, who has found form in recent races, was only eighth in the other Red Bull and a second off Verstappen’s benchmark time.

    Qatar GP Practice One Timesheet

    DriverTeamTime
    1) Max VerstappenRed Bull1:23.723
    2) Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri 0.437
    3) Valtteri BottasMercedes 0.471
    4) Lewis HamiltonMercedes 0.786
    5) Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri 0.925
    6) Carlos SainzFerrari 0.990
    7) Charles LeclercFerrari 1.067
    8) Sergio PerezRed Bull 1.192
    9) Esteban OconAlpine 1.249
    10) Lando NorrisMcLaren 1.492
    11) Daniel RicciardoMcLaren 1.568
    12) Sebastian VettelAston Martin 1.605
    13) Nicholas LatifiWilliams 1.965
    14) Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo 2.034
    15) Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo 2.105
    16) George RussellWilliams 2.148
    17) Fernando AlonsoAlpine 2.182
    18) Mick SchumacherHaas 2.976
    19) Lance StrollAston Martin 2.989
    20) Nikita MazepinHaas 3.777