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Catching Up With Formula One: Qatar

Written by Sofia Costantino, Edited by Hugh W

Are you ready to dive into the high-speed world of Formula One? Whether you're a seasoned fan, or a newcomer to the sport, there's never been a better time to catch up with everything happening on track this year.

This article has got you covered, from the latest race results and driver standings to the biggest shocks and controversies. So buckle up, and get ready to experience the thrill of the race like never before!

Image credits: Motorsport Images

Victory, victory, must be nice from the top! With Red Bull already having the constructors championship. Max Verstappen with his “Rocket Ship” as he called his car that he manufactured and put at his disposal the Red Bull Racing team (pun intended), to dominate the Japanese Grand Prix, recently held at the emblematic Suzuka circuit, owned by Honda.

Starting from the leading position on the grid, leading all the time, except for 2 laps for the entry to pits (on the first of two), with the fastest lap of the race, he achieved his third Hat-Trick of the season (plus a Grand Slam in Spain), finishing almost 20 seconds ahead of second place, despite two interventions from the Safety Vehicle (a virtual one).

Image Credits - Motorsport Images

In addition, it dispelled any doubts about the mishap in Singapore, for some, due to the intervention of the FIA with stricter control of single-seaters on technical guidelines TD18 and TD36, which could have affected the Austrian team.

There was no doubt that the team and the Dutchman went out to prove that what happened at Marina Bay was just a set-up problem that, trying to improve over the weekend, made it worse, matching the characteristics of the track with the need for more floor height, slow 90-degree curves and little grip.

On the other hand, it showed that there is no perfect vehicle for all circuits, even with this season's single-seater (RB19) already considered among the best in F1 history, we are truly witnessing a once in a lifetime car plus driver.

Image Credits - Motorsport Images

In addition, with his 13th win, Max Verstappen secured for his team the second consecutive Constructors' Championship and sixth in the 19 years (2005) of participation of the energy drink team in the top category of world motorsport. Congratulations to the team, this season has been impeccable for them, now, they join the group of legendary multi-champions (Ferrari with 16 titles, Williams with 9, McLaren and Mercedes with 8 and Lotus with 7), with the championship achieved the earliest in history, missing 6 events of the current season, in which they have scored 15 wins in 16 races so far.

While team-mate Sergio Pérez scored two wins in the first 5 races of the campaign, he has only contributed 35% of the total points! Mostly due to his fall in performance from the Monaco GP, the sixth race of the season, and conditioned by poor qualifiers for the starting grid, then needing to recover from awkward positions. Still, he remains in the runners-up 177 units behind the leader and with a 33 lead over Lewis Hamilton's third-place finish.

With these numbers, Verstappen could claim his third straight title at the next race in Qatar. With a maximum of 180 points available in six races, counting the three Sprints, the Dutchman needs just 3 points more than the Mexican, which he can even achieve in the short sprint race if, for example, he finishes first and his team-mate neither second nor third. We are so thrilled to see what this weekend beholds.

Image Credits - Motorsport Images

The resounding fall of Checo is worrying for the team itself, which could - if it continues - easily lose the 1-2 for the season standings. His mistakes are more frequent and his frustration and lack of concentration are noticeable. The weekend in Japan was particularly bad starting from the fifth place, two collisions (with Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen) earned him five-second penalties each, the second completed to return after retiring (unofficially) and avoid losing places on the starting grid of Qatar. The race on Japanese soil also served to show that behind Red Bull there are constant changes in the performance of the various competitors according to the layout and the evolutions introduced (not always correct) by the engineers.

But enough of Red Bull and their magnificent season, let's talk about one team that has caught everyone’s attention because of their speedy recovery and surface: apart from Ferrari's success in Singapore (circuit given to the transalpine riders), McLaren is the team that has been most competitive lately, because Aston Martin has lost the track and Mercedes is already focused on 2024.

Image Credits - Motorsport Images

The double podium for Lando Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri in Suzuka is hopeful. Piastri is the first rookie since 2017 to be on the podium, and it felt like a breath of fresh air for McLaren fans. Norris has scored four in the last seven races and is currently the driver with the most points in F1 history without a win (he surpassed with 543, the record previously held by Nico Hulkenberg with 530), but also the closest to a first win, especially after Verstappen managed to claim the title. Norris is also a strong candidate for Sergio Pérez's position at Red Bull when the Mexican's contract ends at the end of next season, rumor has it that the negotiations have started and there’s a strong believe that we’ll see an orange Lando Norris wearing the characteristic blue suit with his long time friend Max.


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