Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took F1 Qatar GP pole from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas after a late puncture for Pierre Gasly.


The first part of F1 Qatar GP qualifying saw Haas’ Nikita Mazepin take the start after the team changed its Energy Control Unit and Engine Loom after issues in FP3. From Friday to Saturday, he only managed 16 laps in all around the new-for-him Losail circuit.

There was some issue with the front wing it seemed on his first fast lap. Everyone were on the soft tyres apart from AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. Red Bull had a higher downforce DRS wing on Max Verstappen’s car who went quickest with a 1m21.996s lap.

But Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton came back with a 1m21.901s lap to go ahead by 0.095s from Verstappen with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in third. It was anxious moments for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after his initial lap was deleted due to track limits.

He did manage to end up 10th after carving through the traffic as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m23.156s) was knocked out in 16th from Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (1m23.213s) – the pair ending up ahead Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi (1m23.262s).

The Haas duo were 19th and 20th with Mick Schumacher (1m23.407s) ahead of Mazepin (1m25.859s), with the latter able to qualify eventually. There were some replays from FOM which showed Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel overtake Gasly at the pit exit, while McLaren’s Lando Norris seemingly held up by Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.


The second part in F1 Qatar GP qualifying saw majority on the medium tyres apart from the AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, Alpine and Williams’ George Russell, who were on the soft tyre. It shuffled the whole order with Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in danger.

The McLaren duo switch to the soft tyres along with Leclerc and Perez where Sainz stuck to the medium compound and made it in by just as his lap earlier in the session was enough which the Mexican driver couldn’t better to be knocked out.

Perez ended up 11th with a 1m22.346s lap, that too on the soft compound. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was 12th with Leclerc only 13th from McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo – trouble at one side of the garage for both the teams fighting for third.

Stroll set a 1m22.460s lap to Leclerc’s 1m22.463s with Ricciardo setting a 1m22.597s as Williams’ Russell (1m22.756s) was 15th to round out the Q2 runners.


The final part in F1 Qatar GP qualifying had Mercedes’ Hamilton set the pace initially with a 1m21.262s lap from Red Bull’s Verstappen who was 0.162s behind. The other Mercedes of Bottas was third from AlphaTauri’s Gasly and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in the Top 5.

It was a dramatic end to the qualifying as Mercedes’ Hamilton timed it perfectly to take F1 Qatar GP pole with a 1m20.827s lap – the only to be in the 1m20s. He beat Red Bull’s Verstappen by 0.455s after he set a 1m21.282s as Bottas (1m21.478s) was third.

A late puncture for Gasly seemingly ruined some of the drivers’ laps as he stopped on the main straight. There were no yellow flags but he did carry debris around. The Frenchman still managed to end up fourth with a 1m21.640s lap as others around him seemingly didn’t improve in the middle sector.

Alonso was fifth still with a 1m21.670s lap as McLaren’s Norris (1m21.731s) managed to get ahead of Ferrari’s Sainz (1m21.840s) for sixth with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda (1m21.881s) seventh from Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (1m22.028s) and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel (1m22.785s).

UPDATE: The FIA has summoned Verstappen and Red Bull for yellow flag situation during the final lap of qualifying. The Dutchman has to meet the stewards at 13:00 local time on Sunday to explain his side of things.

UPDATE 2: After Verstappen’s call for double-waved yellow, both Bottas and Sainz have been called in for missing the single-waved yellow on their lap. The Finn, though, noted that he didn’t have any flags shown on his lap.