Hamilton secures pole and Verstappen will start second in Qatar

Lewis Hamilton celebrates after securing first place in qualifiers

Por Andrew Mills

DOHA (Reuters) – Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has put his Mercedes in pole position for the Qatar Grand Prix with a brilliant display this Saturday.

Championship leader Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, 14 points ahead of his British rival with three races remaining, will start in second place on Sunday night after qualifying nearly half a second apart.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas secured third place.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was fourth, despite having lost his front wing and suffered a puncture, scattering pieces of equipment across the track and taking the yellow flag on the last lap.

“That last lap was beautiful, it was a really smooth lap,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton was the first out of the pits at the end, setting a time of 1 minute and 20.827 seconds on his best lap to take his 102nd career pole.

Hamilton said he was not feeling well on Thursday and Friday, when he stayed up until midnight, working with his engineers.

Verstappen already said that his car was out of rhythm.

“It was a little more difficult for us, again, in qualifying,” said the 24-year-old Dutchman, whose teammate, Mexican Sergio Pérez, only qualified in 11th place.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso finished fifth, with McLaren’s Lando Norris sixth and Carlos Sainz seventh for Ferrari.

Yuki Tsunoda, from AlphaTauri, Esteban Ocon, from Alpine, and Sebastian Vettel, from Aston Martin, completed the top 10.

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