Hamilton beats Verstappen in Qatar, Alonso makes 1st podium in 7 years

Losail, Qatar, Nov 21 (EFE).- Lewis Hamilton on Sunday earned his seventh Formula 1 Grand Prix victory of the season, ahead of Max Verstappen, who saw his lead over the Mercedes driver cut to eight points in Qatar.

“It was a pretty straightforward race in the end and it was a great job by the team because we really needed the points today,” the Mercedes driver, who started from pole position, told F1 media afterwards.

“To get back-to-back wins is a great feeling and sets us up well for the final two races,” the seven-time world champion added.

Despite qualifying second, Red Bull’s driver began the race from seventh place as he was handed a five-spot grid penalty for not slowing for double waved yellow flags during Saturday’s qualifiers.

“Luckily we had a really good start,” the Dutchman said. “At the end of the day to get the fastest lap was very nice”.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso earned himself a 98th podium appearance, his first since 2014, having kicked off the race from the third spot, thanks to Verstappen’s penalty and a 3-spot punishment for Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

“It’s been seven years but finally we got there! I’m so happy for the team,” the Spaniard said.

“The team were excellent and the reliability of the car is great at the moment. I’ve waited so long for this and I’m so happy!” he added.

Red Bull’s other driver Sergio Perez came fourth, ahead of Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Ferrari’s drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc respectively.

McLaren’s Lando Norris came ninth, ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel. EFE

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