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Piastri Sprint Qatar

Qatar Grand Prix: F1 Sprint Race Results

The fourth sprint race of the season is complete as the drivers took to the track in Qatar

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The Qatar Sprint Race saw Oscar Piastri take his first Formula 1 victory whilst Max Verstappen secured his third F1 world title becoming the 2023 champion. 

Qatar Sprint Race
The start of the Qatar Sprint Race (Credit: X @F1)

This weekend is Round 18 of the 2023 season and Formula 1 is racing in Qatar. With it being a sprint weekend, the drivers only had one full free practice session, which saw Max Verstappen set the fastest time. After Qualifying for the Grand Prix, where Verstappen took pole position, the drivers had an impromptu 10 minute familiarisation session as the FIA made some track changes.

The changes include the kerbs at Turns 12, 13 and 14 being moved inwards. Pirelli also issued more safety concerns about the tyres, meaning that the tyre life parameter “must not exceed 20 for the new tyres used in the race.”

All 20 drivers then took to the grid for the Sprint Shootout, which set the grid for today’s Sprint Race. After the shootout, it was a front row lockout for McLaren; Oscar Piastri took pole and Lando Norris finished P2. The grid for the Sprint Race was as follows:

Qatar Sprint Race Starting Grid (Credit: X @F1)

So let’s get into what happened in the Sprint Race in Qatar.

Lights Out

The drivers on the medium-compound tyres were: Piastri, Norris, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Perez, Hamilton, Bottas, Lawson, Zhou, Albon, Tsunoda, and Magnussen. The other drivers were on the soft-compound tyres.

When the lights went out, Piastri managed to maintain the lead. Unfortunately, Norris was bogged down and ended up in fifth whilst George Russell and both Ferrari drivers managed to jump up a few places.

Verstappen who also had a slow start, lost a few placed and ended up in fifth, bumping Norris down into sixth.

A Safety Car was called as Liam Lawson ended up going into the gravel a few corners into the race. With the Safety Car out on track, the order of the top ten was: Piastri, Russell, Sainz, Leclerc, Verstappen, Norris, Alonso, Ocon, Hulkenberg and Perez.

First restart of the Sprint

On the restart, Piastri kept the lead whilst Norris battled Fernando Alonso further back. Whilst the Spaniard attempts to get ahead of Norris, Russell, on the softs, overtook Piastri and was in the lead of the race.

Logan Sargeant in the Williams copied Lawson’s move, spinning and went off into the gravel. Another Safety Car was then called to remove Sargeant’s car.

Whilst under the Safety Car, Sainz radioed to Ferrari to fix the “misfire” occurring in his car. Ferrari, however, said they’d inform Sainz if things were bad, saying it was a “surge event”.

On lap five of 19, the drivers were already complaining of graining. It was at the end of lap five that the Safety Car was called in.

Second restart of the Sprint

Russell kept the lead ahead of Piastri. Sainz closed the gap to the Australian but wasn’t able to get ahead.

Whilst Sainz was trying to keep close to Piastri, Verstappen passed Leclerc down into Turn 1 with ease. Further back, a DRS train formed behind Ocon down to Bottas in P14.

Verstappen then chased the Ferrari of Sainz, who was suffering from some graining on the soft tyres. The Dutchman was able to overtake the Ferrari driver and moved into third.

Hamilton, who started P12, made a pass down the straight to get ahead of Gasly. The soft-tyre cars were slowly losing time and the medium tyres were coming into fruition as Piastri moved into DRS behind Russell.

On lap 11, Piastri retook the lead of the Sprint. His teammate, Norris moved up into fifth as he overtook Leclerc around the outside.

However, further back, Perez, Ocon and Hulkenberg were all involved in an incident. The Sprint Race for Perez and Ocon ended early as the two drivers ended up in the gravel and Hulkenberg retired in the pits.

A replay showed that Hulkenberg tired to go around the outside, but Ocon defended. Hulkenberg was then sandwiched between Ocon and Perez, who both tried to overtake Hulkenberg and ended up making contact with each other.

Another Safety Car then came out.

Stroll, Zhou and Magnussen all pitted under the Safety Car whilst Mercedes told Russell to stay out.

Third restart of the Sprint

When the track was green, Piastri tried the Russell trick of going early but the Brit was able to keep up with the McLaren driver. Leclerc overtook Norris on the restart, which allowed Alonso to get right behind Norris.

Into Turn 1 on lap 16, Verstappen moved up into third after overtaking Russell. Hamilton, who was in the points, moved down to P9 as Gasly made an overtake on the soft tyres.

The medium tyres were then warmed up as Norris overtook both Ferrari drivers over the course of a couple of corners. Hamilton then retook P8 from Gasly.

The seven-time world champion was then chasing his former teammate, Alonso. With the Ferrari drivers squabbling, Hamilton closed the gap to Leclerc and the two were going wheel to wheel.

Going into Turn 1, Norris then overtook Russell as Hamilton overtook Leclerc and Alex Albon overtook Alonso for the final point of the Sprint Race. Hamilton then overtook Sainz moving into fifth, just behind his teammate.

With the chequered flag waved, it was Piastri who took the victory – his first Formula One race win. Verstappen took P2, securing his third world title in F1. Norris finished the race in third, making it another double podium for McLaren.

Sprint Race Results

The order below were the results at the chequered flag. However, since then, Charles Leclerc has received a five-second penalty for track limits. Albon and Alonso have both moved up a place as a result.

1 – Oscar Piastri

2 – Max Verstappen

3 – Lando Norris

4 – George Russell

5 – Lewis Hamilton

6 – Carlos Sainz

7 – Charles Leclerc

8 – Alex Albon

9 – Fernando Alonso

10 – Pierre Gasly

11 – Valtteri Bottas

12 – Yuki Tsunoda

13 – Lance Stroll

14 – Kevin Magnussen

15 – Zhou Guanyu

DNFs: Hulkenberg, Ocon, Perez, Sargeant and Lawson

Headline image: GettyImages

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