Hamilton romps to mighty pole ahead of Verstappen

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 20/11/21 3:18pm

Lewis Hamilton will start on pole position ahead of Max Verstappen for the Qatar GP after an utterly dominant qualifying performance, underlining his form heading into the championship’s crucial final races.

In F1’s first-ever shootout at Doha’s Losail circuit, hosting round 20 of 22 this year, Hamilton was in control throughout and topped Q1 and Q2 before stretching an even bigger gap to his rival in the closing stages.

Hamilton finished his sublime final Q3 lap 0.455s ahead of Verstappen, which is the biggest margin between the title-contending pair in a dry qualifying session this year.

Valtteri Bottas, who had appeared the man to beat heading into qualifying, was a surprising two tenths further back in third, although Mercedes have a big advantage over Red Bull for Sunday’s race.

That is because while Verstappen, the title leader by 14 points, qualified on the front row, Sergio Perez will only start 11th after being knocked out in Q2 under the bright Saturday night lights.

More to follow.

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