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Lewis Hamilton wins Qatar Grand Prix, cutting Verstappen’s points lead

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LOSAIL, Qatar — Lewis Hamilton inched nearer to the System Just one championship direct with a dominating victory Sunday in the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix to receive again-to-again wins and chip away at Max Verstappen’s details edge.

Hamilton, who also won past week in Brazil, has trimmed 17 details from Verstappen’s direct in the title race in a week. Verstappen nonetheless retains an eight-level direct with two races remaining in a person of the most extraordinary F1 title fights in at least a decade.

“I’m really, really grateful for these details. It is really been a hell of a year,” Hamilton mentioned. “To be at this level in the year and have again-to-again wins is a fantastic sensation.”

The seven-time winner started off from pole for Mercedes and was by no means challenged on the Losail Worldwide Circuit as Hamilton won his 102nd career race. It was his seventh victory of the season.

Verstappen concluded second for Crimson Bull, virtually 25 seconds behind Hamilton.

“It was really lonely at the front,” Hamilton mentioned.

Verstappen was hit with a penalty just before the race even commenced when he was dropped 5 spots on the starting up grid for violating a yellow flag in Saturday’s qualifying. The Dutchman experienced skilled second but the stewards purchased him to drop again on the grid pursuing Sunday hearings for Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz.

All 3 ended up accused of not pursuing yellow flag regulations near the end of qualifying. Bottas, who experienced skilled 3rd, was penalized 3 starting up sports. Sainz was not penalized.

Crimson Bull was mystified by the grid penalty for Verstappen, who lost any possibility to problem Hamilton for the earn when he was penalized. Crimson Bull principal Christian Horner criticized the penalty when it was handed down.

“We’re really struggling to fully grasp it,” Horner mentioned. “That’s a important blow in this planet championship for us.”

Even with the penalty, Verstappen necessary only 5 laps to recover and drive again to exactly where he was originally slated to start out.

“Our starting up place was a bit compromised,” Verstappen mentioned. “I know it’s likely to be difficult to the end but I consider that’s wonderful. It keeps it thrilling.”

But he mentioned he was all set for the troubles ahead in Saudi Arabia and the finale in Abu Dhabi.

“I sense superior,” he mentioned. “It’s likely to be tight.”

Hamilton, winner of 4 straight titles, has all the momentum now. The British driver is trying to find a record eighth F1 title, which would go him earlier Michael Schumacher.

“I’m sensation really superior, I am really, really happy with the automobile,” Hamilton mentioned. “I sense fitter than at any time, so that’s a beneficial.”

Fernando Alonso of Alpine concluded 3rd for his initial podium because 2014. He was aided by the pre-race penalties to Verstappen and Bottas, which moved the Spaniard up to 3rd on the starting up grid.

Sergio Perez concluded fourth to assist Crimson Bull in its drive to beat Mercedes for the constructors championship.

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