Lewis Hamilton beats Max Verstappen to pole position at Qatar Grand Prix

Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by 14 points with three races of the season remaining

Jamie Braidwood
Saturday 20 November 2021 15:56
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<p>Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP waves to the crowd</p>

Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP waves to the crowd

Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of overturning Max Verstappen’s championship lead took a boost after he beat his title rival to pole position at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Mercedes continued to display their impressive pace from the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend as Hamilton beat the Red Bull of Verstappen by almost half a second at the Losail International Circuit.

Verstappen was unable to improve on his first run after Pierre Gasly suffered a late puncture, which brought the session to an end.

Sunday’s race will be just the second time this season that Hamilton has started a Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen on the front row, and the seven-time world champion will be aided by teammate Valtteri Bottas, who qualified third.

In a further blow to Red Bull, Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez will start 11th after he was a shock casualty of Q2.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo also failed to make it through to the top 10 and will start 12th and 13th respectively.

“Yesterday was a really difficult day for me - I really struggled through that practice yesterday,” Hamilton admitted after landing pole position.

“I was here until midnight last night working with the engineers and found a little variation where I could improve, made some changes for third practice and it worked but - then you have to carry that through to qualifying.

“That last lap was beautiful, it is an amazing track to drive and it felt good.

“I had a bit of a stomach ache from Wednesday but I slept really well last night and that made a bit of a difference.”

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