Lewis Hamilton on pole for inaugural Qatar F1 Grand Prix

Mercedes driver beats championship rival Verstappen who certified second for Sunday’s race.

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton will begin from pole in Sunday’s inaugural Qatar Formula One Grand Prix forward of world championship rival Max Verstappen.

Hamilton of Mercedes clocked one minute 20.827 seconds on the Losail International Circuit which prior to now has solely seen MotoGP racing.

It was Hamilton’s fourth pole of the season and a record-extending 102nd general.

Red Bull’s Verstappen trailed by almost half a second, a distinction group adviser Helmut Marko referred to as “alarming”.

Valtteri Bottas was third within the second Mercedes.

Verstappen tops the championship, 14 factors forward of Hamilton with three races left in a fierce title duel, and Hamilton will hope that his pole will assist him additional minimize the deficit on Sunday.

The hole in qualifying instances will give all at Red Bull a stressed evening – almost half a second, a transparent signal Hamilton’s new engine fitted final weekend has injected contemporary life into his quest for an unprecedented eighth world title.

Hamilton has some momentum after a powerful victory from 10th on the grid final weekend in Brazil.

“I was here until midnight last night working with the engineers, who also always work so late, they’re such hard workers, and found a lot of areas which I could improve,” Hamilton mentioned.

Mercedes had been handed an surprising benefit of their titanic title battle with Red Bull after Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez did not make it to the Q3 prime 10 shoot out.

With the Mexican down within the sixth row on Sunday’s grid Red Bull’s techniques to upset Mercedes relaxation on Verstappen.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz (entrance) certified seventh, forward of teammate Charles Leclerc who might solely handle 13th [Hamad I Mohammed/Pool/Reuters]

Qatar F1 info

Sunday’s race is the primary in a 10-year deal between F1 and Qatar, and groups are nonetheless studying the observe. Qatar would be the 36th nation to host Formula One.

Start time: 5pm (14:00 GMT).

Lap distance: 5.38km (3.34 miles)

Total distance (57 laps): 306.66km (190.54 miles)

The circuit has hosted MotoGP since 2004, changing into an evening race in 2008 when it additionally opened the season.

Track: Fast and flowing and options 16 medium and high-speed corners.

Weather situations: Warm and just like what groups are used to in Abu Dhabi.

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