This weekend the 10 teams take to the track in Qatar for the first time ever. With only three races to go, the battle for both the Constructor’s and the Driver’s Championship continues to heat up.
Lewis Hamilton closed the gap on Max Verstappen last week after completing an outstanding drive to win the Brazil Grand Prix. The Brit now trails his rival by only 14 points and has expressed his determination to catch up to the Dutchman. Following his emphatic victory he said: “Let’s keep going, lets keep pushing!” Valtteri Bottas also played a big part in Hamilton’s win after he deliberately slowed on lap 4 to allow his teammate to pass. The Finn also had an impressive weekend after winning his second F1 sprint event and coming third in the race on Sunday. Both Mercedes drivers are going from strength to strength at the moment and will undoubtedly be a huge force to be reckoned with at the weekend.
Despite coming second in both Saturday’s sprint and Sunday’s race, Verstappen appeared to be disappointed in the team’s performance last week after Hamilton narrowed the gap in the Driver’s Championship by five points. The current leader could potentially face a penalty on Sunday after new footage emerged of him appearing to push Hamilton off the track at Interlagos: this could be incredibly significant in the race for the championship. Sergio Perez has impressed over the last few weeks with his consistent performances keeping him in or just outside of the podium positions. After Mercedes increased the space between themselves and Red Bull in Brazil, Checo will have some extra fire in his belly this week in the hope of boosting his team’s title chances.
Ferrari had a lot of positives to take from last weekend after finishing fifth and sixth in the Grand Prix. However, Carlos Sainz was disappointed with how Sunday’s race went after contact with Lando Norris on the opening lap dropped his position down from third. Charles Leclerc has really impressed fans recently with his consistent results. He has come agonisingly close to getting on the podium on multiple occasions this year but has been kept at bay by the Red Bulls and the Mercedes’.
McLaren had a poor result last week in Brazil after Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire from the race due to a loss of power. Norris was also disappointed after he dropped from p5 down to last on the opening lap after a mistake led him to make contact with Sainz. The Brit managed to battle his way through the pack to finish in 10th and take a point. Ricciardo’s power issue may need to be assessed heading into this weekend, with potential maintenance needed on his car.
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was also forced to retire in Interlagos due to mechanical issues. The Canadian had an on-track clash with Tsunoda which ultimately ended his race and left him outside the points for the third race in a row. Sebastian Vettel also failed to gain any points from the last race after finishing in 11th. Both Aston Martin drivers will be eager to end this run of bad form when they hit the track in Qatar.
AlphaTauri could be a dark horse this weekend at a track that is brand new to all drivers. Yuki Tsunoda has already expressed his excitement for the weekend as he has said that he will be on “equal terms” with the other drivers going into the race. Pierre Gasly has also argued that the track could play to his strengths, saying: “It’s the sort of track I like.”
Esteban Ocon had a very strong race last week and deservedly kept his spot in the top ten, he ran a very similar race to his teammate Fernando Alonso which meant that they finished in P8 and P9. Alpine currently sit on the same amount of points as AlphaTauri so they will be looking to gain the edge on their opposition this weekend.
Things didn’t go to plan for Alfa Romeo last weekend with both drivers under-performing. Kimi Raikkonen was forced to start from the pit lane on Sunday and his day went from bad to worse after a collision with teammate Antonio Giovinazzi prevented him from getting into the top 10. Meanwhile, it was announced earlier this week that Giovinazzi is to be replaced at the end of the season by Guanyu Zhou – forcing him out of Formula One. The Italian will be eager to prove himself at the weekend as he heads into the final three races.
Both Williams drivers are also in poor form at the moment, with both struggling to secure a good position in qualifying and subsequently failing to get the points come race day. George Russell will be looking to impress his future boss in Toto Wolff over the next three races, so will be looking to break into the top 10 in Qatar.
Haas only have three races left to gain their first points of the season. Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin have finished at the back of the pack for the vast majority of this season’s events and unfortunately it does not look like this pattern is going to change anytime soon. The lack of experience of both drivers has really been evident in their results, Guenther Steiner will be hoping for a change in fortune next year.
For more Formula One content click here.
For more sports content click here.