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Can Mercedes dominate again at Qatar?

F1 Quali Analysis

Qatar track

Q1 – Who will make it through?

Qualifying Q1 got underway with Haas first out the doors. For poor Mazepin so far he’s only managed 16 laps this whole weekend after he caught a curb breaking the car which then gave his mechanics a chassis change over night and an engine change in between FP2 and FP3. After their hard work Mazepin made it out thanking his mechanics on radio. Gasley is absolutely flying away with a super strong start to his weekend. He has been in the top 6 14 times in previous qualifying and now looking to make that 15. Issues began for Ocon at a bad time with him having shaking and vibrations with his brakes and at the front of the car after he set strong laps. The best lap time set at this circuit was set by Niko Hülkenburg in 2007 and it was a 1.35.7, but the new top lap time in Q1 was set by Hamilton on a 1.21.9. With lots of traffic and track limits catching drivers out it took away Norris and Leclerc’s flying laps forcing them to do another. The only two drivers to have driven at this circuit before was Mazepin and Perez, all of the other drivers have only been able to get an idea through simulators. The drivers knocked out of Q1 was Räikkönen, Latifi, Giovinazzi, Schumacher and Mazepin.

Hamilton celebrating P1

Q2 – Red Bull knocked out at Q2?

Q2 begun with Russell heading out first, Russel has reached Q3 twice within the last 9 races but hoping to make that 3. Hamilton set the target of all Q2 with a 1.21.6. Ocon still had issues with his shaking and vibrations from the car but he had no issues putting it into Q3. Q2 was filled with action and shock from great shocks and not so great shocks. Some of the great shocks were the astonishing pace from Alpine and AlphaTauri especially Gasly who finished P2, this makes Sundays race exciting especially for the Constructors Championship. Aston Martin has had persistent pace all weekend especially if they are on the track at the right time. With the last 2 minutes to go it was the last time the drivers could set a time and get out the danger zone into Q3 but unfortunately for Perez, Stroll, Leclerc, Ricciardo and Russell they sadly missed out which came as a shock to many. Like a shock to many, Leclerc made a powerful statement on the radio with 7 minutes to go wondering why he was at the bottom and not knowing where to improve before trying to jump out of the risk zone. Could Ferrari be in trouble this weekend?


Q3 – Mercedes up for pole?

The 3rd and final round of qualifying saw Mercedes dominating so far and then heading out of the pits together onto a clear track to set the top times. Hamilton has had 101 pole positions in his career and looked to make that 102 with the last time on pole being at Hungary and only once has Lewis been ahead of Max on the grid with this happening at Spain. With 2 minutes left of Q3 to go Verstappen was at the back of the pack in terms of on track and ready to start his flying lap. With his rival at the front of the pack he was geared up ready to take P1 from Hamilton who had dominated throughout Qualifying. With Gasly setting incredible times looking strong throughout, unfortunately for him on his flying last lap his front wing caught on a curb and punctured his tire bringing out a yellow flag. For all drivers behind Gasly including Verstappen, they needed to lift off and slow down causing flying laps to stop. So Verstappen had to kiss goodbye P1 for qualifying and settle for 2nd….for now. Hamilton has set the best lap of the weekend, an astonishing 1.20.8 and took pole position and his teammate Bottas came in 3rd. The other positions saw Gasly come 4th, Alonso an incredible 5th, Norris a strong 6th, Sainz a super 7th, Tsunoda a fabulous 8th, Ocon took a great 9th and to round off the top 10 Vettel came inside 10th.



Verstappen didn’t get the result he quite wanted with being in P2 it is a dirty line in front and a race to turn 1 but his reaction time will need to be rapid. McLaren and Ferrari had a shocking time with Leclerc and Ricciardo knocked out in Q2. A surprise and a shame for McLaren and Ferrari with both teams being strong in previous races. Replacing their strong high positions this weekend Alpine and AlphaTauri snatch it up. They are really neck and neck and one behind the other with Gasly and Alonso together and Tsunoda and Ocon alongside each other it makes the race much more interesting and will it determine who will get ahead in the Constructors Championship? Lastly Bottas and Hamilton have a clean line of the track and with Bottas behind, can he get a slipstream from teammate Hamilton and launch ahead. Or can Verstappen pip them to the post? Eyes need to be peeled and sealed for the turn one action.


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