Qatar GP: Hamilton storms to pole ahead of Verstappen in qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton was simply too strong as he clinched pole position for the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver led all three parts of qualifying at Losail, and in Q3, upped the ante to beat championship rival Max Verstappen just almost half a second.

Valtteri Bottas was third in the other Mercedes, while there was a shock Q2 exit for Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.


A late lap saw Hamilton set the pace but with just 0.115s covering the 'HAM, VER, BOT' top three.

Despite initial struggles for Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez, there were no surprises in the knock out zone.

Kimi Raikkonen was the first driver eliminated in 16th ahead of Nicholas Latifi and Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in 18th.

The two Haas' brought up the field with Nikita Mazepin 2.4s slower than Mick Schumacher after missing out on any running in Practice 2 and 3 with technical issues.


Hamilton again led the way ahead of Pierre Gasly on soft tyres as the Mercedes' and Verstappen opted for the mediums to start the race.

However, the Dutchman will be all alone against the black Arrows as Perez was shockingly eliminated in P11 despite switching to the soft compound.

Lance Stroll was 12th as Leclerc, who like Perez struggled in Q1, joined him in taking an early bath in 13th.

Daniel Ricciardo was disappointing in 14th too for McLaren as George Russell completed the top 15.


It was advantage Hamilton again after the first run but only by a tenth-and-a-half from Verstappen with Bottas in third.

On the second run, the seven-time world champion showed his class, finding another three-tenths to secure pole position with a 1m20.827s, the only driver under 1m21s.

Verstappen had to settle for second and Bottas third after a tyre failure for Pierre Gasly on the exit kerb of Turn 15 preventing anyone behind from improving.

The Frenchman though will start fourth in his AlphaTauri ahead of Fernando Alonso in a strong fifth for Alpine.

Lando Norris was sixth, ahead of Carlos Sainz as the battle for third in the Constructors' Championship provides rages on.

Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10.

Full results from qualifying can be seen below: