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Qatar Grand Prix: Formula One live race updates, blog

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Roar Guru
21st November, 2021
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It’s the final three races of the 2021 Formula One world championship and with the title battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton still raging, the series makes its debut at one of two new tracks. Tune in on The Roar from 12:50am (AEST) for live blog coverage and updates

The Losail Circuit in Qatar is the first stop in consecutive events that appear on the Formula One schedule for the first time. The 5.3 km layout has been the home of MotoGP in the Middle East for many years but lends itself to F1 on this occasion.

The grand prix will be comprised of 57 laps, in what is largely a similar track to Sakhir in Bahrain. Though overtaking at Losail in a Formula One car may prove more difficult than it would’ve in Bahrain.

The difference between Verstappen and Hamilton in the standings is 14 points after the Briton’s sensational win in São Paulo last time out. Since then, Mercedes have had their ‘right to review’ dismissed by the FIA – chasing another look into Verstappen running Hamilton off-track on Lap 48 at Turn 4.

Politicking aside, the Silver Arrows have had the upper hand this weekend and that was seen with the pole position lap from Hamilton – which was 0.455 seconds quicker than his rival in the Red Bull.

Both will share the front row, though diverge on strategy with Hamilton starting on the medium tyre and Verstappen on the soft compound. Theoretically, the Dutchman will have more grip off the line, though the demands of Losail may see the softest tyre suffer quicker.

Off the second row, Valtteri Bottas heads up an excellent Pierre Gasly who continues to spearhead AlphaTauri’s close points battle with Alpine for fifth in the constructor’s championship. Fernando Alonso put in a season-best qualifying performance for fifth and will no doubt put pressure on the Frenchman.

McLaren qualified ahead of Ferrari as well for the first time in recent races, as Lando Norris in sixth looks to recoup the points lost to the Scuderia in the fight for third in the constructor’s standings.

However, both teammates to Norris and Carlos Sainz are out of position, starting outside the top ten along with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez – who is also out of position.

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It is expected that a two-stop strategy will play out during the grand prix and with the lack of overtaking expected, the strategic calls will be much more crucial in gaining track position.

With the upturn in pace for Mercedes, can Hamilton romp away again from Verstappen or can Red Bull rein in their rivals without causing further controversy?

Tune in on The Roar from 12:50am (AEST) for live blog coverage and updates of Formula One’s inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.

Race information

Lights out: 1:00 am (AEST)
Venue: Losail International Circuit, Qatar
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel

Grid

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 4. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 5. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 6. Lando Norris (McLaren), 7. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 8. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), 9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 11. Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 12. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 13. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 14. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), 15. George Russell (Williams), 16. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), 17. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 18. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 19. Mick Schumacher (Haas), 20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas)

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