Monday 22 November 2021
The Formula 1 lessons from Qatar
Rival senses fraud in Hamilton’s Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton is fast, extremely fast in fact. At the Grand Prix of Qatar, the victory of the series world champion is never in danger. He is putting the world championship leader Max Verstappen under a lot of pressure. The Red Bull team even feels cheated. The third on the podium is happy and a little cheeky.
In top form on time:
Lewis Hamilton can go into the season finale full of self-confidence. Two wins in a row come at just the right time. After his mad ride in Brazil, success in Qatar was never in danger. Hamilton controlled the top as in the best of times thanks to the perfectly coordinated car. “I’m very positive about the next races. They should suit our car,” said the 36-year-old Brit happily. If he overtook Max Verstappen, he would be the sole record world champion with eight titles and would have trumped Michael Schumacher.
Suddenly back again:
Max Verstappen lacked the speed in his Red Bull to be able to keep up with the Super Mercedes from Hamilton. Even without a starting place penalty, it would hardly have been possible for the 24-year-old from the Netherlands in the emirate to be at eye level with the defending champion for a long time. While Mercedes continuously improved the car, this time Red Bull failed to create a perfect set-up for the car and weakened. “We want to come back stronger in Saudi Arabia and then see what is still possible in Abu Dhabi,” said Verstappen. His hope: The new route in Saudi Arabia and the converted one in the Emirates are a little better for Red Bull again.
Now even suspected fraud with the rival:
The suspicion always comes along, that was the case early in the season. Mercedes accused Red Bull of an illegal rear wing, but the black Silver Arrow is now the faster car again – and the other side suspects fraud. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner sees an “abnormal speed on the straights” at Mercedes, “and allegedly without any change”. The Briton repeats these suggestions over and over again, but he cannot support them. And that doesn’t throw a good light on his team at the moment.
The old master can still do it:
Fernando Alonso considers himself the best driver in Formula 1. That is not entirely unusual in the premier class, the car makes the decisive difference here, and many drivers see it this way: “If I only sat in the right car, I would be world champion . ” Alonso, twice already champion (2005 and 2006), finally had a car again for good moments on Sunday. Third place, his first podium since 2014, and the Spaniard is dreaming of bigger things again. There will be completely new cars in the coming year, and his Alpine team, which is actually the Renault works team, should then be up front again. “And when we get into this situation, I feel strong enough,” says the 40-year-old.