The Formula One entourage has arrived at the Persian Gulf to celebrate the last three rounds of a very exciting season. The first of the three races is to take place this weekend at the Losail International Circuit in Doha for the Qatar F1 GP 2021, a circuit that was tailor-built for the MotoGP World Championship.
The Middle Eastern country will provide the nigh-time scenery for this new chapter of the evenest world title fight of recent times. Crown contenders Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) arrive at the last three encounters of the contest closer than ever in the standings. The two title rivals are just 14 points apart in the classification following the Briton’s landslide victory in Brazil.
For the first time, Qatar hosts a Formula 1 Grand Prix. A long start-finish straight is complimented with a quick succession of 16 turns. Get all the details ahead of the #QatarGP 🇶🇦 #F1 #Fit4F1 #Formula1 #Pirelli https://t.co/QVpjFQPv9i pic.twitter.com/glMV8zjW9L
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) November 15, 2021
Numbers aside, the German team dealt their Austrian counterparts a hard and unexpected blow at the Latin American country.
After getting disqualified on Friday for an irregularity in the DRS system and getting a five-place grid penalty on Sunday for changing various engine components, Hamilton performed a glorious comeback from 10th place.
The rhythm of his car was unattainable for the blues. In the face of this superiority, Red Bull was unable to respond.
Their respective squires, Checo Perez (Red Bull) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) will once again play a key role in aiding their leaders on the track this weekend at the Qatar F1 GP 2021. Both racers are truly shining during this decisive stretch of the campaign, so we can also expect a tough fight between them.
Learn the Losail International Circuit with the @astonmartin safety car ✨
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 18, 2021
Controversy and animosity between Mercedes and Red Bull
The World Championship is red hot at this point, and not just on the track. The two teams are also clashing outside of it, further increasing the tensions between them. The latest chapter in their disputes was brought about by the incident between Verstappen and Hamilton at Turn 4 of the Brazilian track.
It was there that the Dutchman blocked an attack from the Briton in a dangerously aggressive manner but despite his recklessness, he was not sanctioned, something that the team of the Star is up in arms about.
¡BRUTAL! 🔥 ¡El adelantamiento de Lewis Hamilton a Max Verstappen! ¡Cuánta rabia habrá en esa pasada!
El hombre que el sábado salió último en la carrera al sprint. El que en carrera salió 10º… ¡ES LÍDER! ¡Magistral! 👏 pic.twitter.com/tEomSrctMc
— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) November 14, 2021
Mercedes has now requested a formal review from the FIA, which already heard their allegations this past Thursday. The team led by Toto Wolff is obviously hoping for a penalty to be handed out to their Dutch rival.
This is, in sum, the explosive atmosphere that will surround the intriguing Qatar battle this weekend, in completely unknown territory for the F1 grid. Only Checo Perez, winner in Losail at the 2009 GP2 Championship has experienced the track. Under the circumstances, teams will have to work against the clock in order to get the best settings for the dusty asphalt.
'Checo' Perez ✅
— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) November 14, 2021
Ferrari escapes from McLaren
After the lightning evolution of the SF21, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, one of the most complete pairs on the grid, are scoring points every Sunday. Especially striking is the Spaniard’s performance streak, who has finished in the top 10 in the last twelve races.
The British team, on the other hand, are going through an inexplicable slump that began in Russia, when Lando Norris lost a triumph to the rain.
After suffering a puncture at the start of the Brazil GP, the Briton finished in tenth place, while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo had to retire due to an engine problem.
In the end, they only managed to claim one point while they watched the Prancing Horse galloping away. At least, they can find some solace in the thought that the upcoming rounds should be more favourable to the papaya racing car.
Images of Qatar F1 GP 2021: F1.com