Piastri holds off champion Verstappen for hard-fought Qatar GP Sprint win

Oscar Piastri landed his first ever F1 win ahead of Max Verstappen at the Qatar GP

-

Oscar Piastri landed his first win in Formula 1 after fending off Max Verstappen in the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix Sprint race, with the Dutchman unable to chase down the McLaren late on and was forced to settle for second ahead of Lando Norris.

But the result was still enough to make Verstappen the 2023 drivers’ champion, as Sergio Perez suffered a nightmarish sprint running out of the points before crashing out on Lap 11 to hand Verstappen the title.

A disrupted sprint saw two safety cars in the first four laps as Liam Lawson and Logan Sargeant both went off after individual mistakes, with George Russell jumping Piastri in the few racing moments between the incidents.

Russell looked on for the win at one stage, but the soft tyres crumbled in the closing stages with Red Bull and McLaren’s strategists left smiling post-sprint and Hamilton going from ninth to fifth in the last three laps on the mediums.

A chaotic start saw Ferrari and Russell the big winners while Verstappen and Norris finished the first lap fifth and sixth from third and second on the grid after going wheel-to-wheel.

But the battle was put on ice after Lawson flew off on the second turn to bring out an early safety car, the first time he’s failed to finish a racing session in his F1 career.

Piastri held the lead initially ahead of Russell, Sainz and Leclerc and was caught napping by the Mercedes driver on the second safety car restart, before retaking the lead just before Perez‘s crash.

Running three-wide, Perez and Esteban Ocon sandwiched Nico Hulkenberg on a straight which brought out the third safety car and confirmed Verstappen‘s championship regardless of the Dutchman’s result.

And he quickly got into second to chase down Piastri‘s lead of less than three seconds, putting an immediate dent into that deficit in clean air.

However, Piastri hit back on the penultimate lap and still held an advantage of almost two seconds going onto the lap.

Try as he might, Verstappen couldn’t get close and Piastri took a historic win for McLaren with Norris also finishing on the podium.

Hamilton was out of the points for most of proceedings but scythed through the soft runners late on to finish fifth, just behind his teammate.

Ferrari were the big losers late on finishing sixth and seventh, and Albon picked up the remaining point ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Qatar conditions prove tricky

Max Verstappen on track during practice ahead of the 2023 Qatar GP | Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

There was concern before the sprint that any driving off the racing line would prove difficult, and that was the case with the dust blown onto the track giving drivers huge problems racing wheel-to-wheel.

The wind also continued to give balance issues, but that was dwarfed by the tyre problems, with the softs completely dropping away halfway through the sprint even with the extended safety car running.

Russell and the Ferraris plummeted down the standings with the Mercedes man even attempting to pit under the Perez safety car, and Pirelli will have further headaches with the 57-lap grand prix to come.

However, the medium tyres had their own problems, with several drivers struggling to switch them on after the safety car meaning there could well be more chaos to come both on and off-track for the rest of the weekend.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Liam Lawson prepares for free practice at the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix | Peter Fox/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull bosses agree on Liam Lawson F1 prospects in 2025

0
Christian Horner and RB CEO Peter Bayer refused to back Liam Lawson's prospects for a full-time Formula 1 drive...
Carlos Sainz looks on at the 2024 Monaco GP | Ferrari

After Carlos Sainz’s Mercedes denial, why does his future remain an enigma?

0
Ferrari swinging the axe on Carlos Sainz's career in scarlet must have stung, but the Spaniard at least had...
Charles Leclerc dives into the Monaco harbour | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Where does Charles Leclerc rank 2024 Monaco Grand Prix win?

0
Charles Leclerc is a race winner for the first time in almost two years as the Ferrari ace crushed...
Charles Leclerc celebrates winning the 2024 Monaco GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

What we learned from the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

0
The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix may not have served up a classic, but it wasn’t short on storylines as...
Sergio Perez talks to his engineer Hugh Bird and team principal Christian Horner in the garage | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Look away Checo – Horner praises Perez’s F1 rival as star fights for Red...

0
Christian Horner insists Red Bull will make a decision about Sergio Perez's Red Bull future "in the fullness of...
Max Verstappen during 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Winners and Losers of 2024 Monaco GP

0
Charles Leclerc vanquished his Monte Carlo demons to finally take victory at his home race, while Red Bull continued...
Daniel Ricciardo of Visa Cash App RB during the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Driver Ratings – Monaco GP 2024

0
Charles Leclerc was in dreamland as the Ferrari driver finally celebrated an elusive victory at home race at the...
Josef Newgarden drinks his milk after winning the 2024 Indy 500 | Penske Entertainment: James Black

2024 Indy 500 Race Results

0
Josef Newgarden joined an elite group of drivers by winning the Indy 500 for the second consecutive year in...
Josef Newgarden celebrates winning the 2024 Indy 500 | Penske Entertainment: Amber Pietz

Newgarden takes sensational Indy 500 win after epic battle for glory

0
The Indianapolis 500 never fails to excite and even a four-hour rain delay couldn't dampen the drama for IndyCar's...
Tom Blomqvist crashes in Lap 1 at the 2024 Indy 500 | Penske Entertainment: Aaron Skillman

2024 Indy 500: Results and Highlights as Newgarden wins

0
Welcome to this Total Motorsport live blog for the 2024 Indy 500, is among the most prestigious motorsport events...
- Advertisment -