Nov.17 - After Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes hit back at Red Bull and Max Verstappen in Brazil with a masterful win by the seven-time champion, F1 now shifts its focus for the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix.

Contents
Battle for P3 & P5 in F1 WCC
2021 Qatar GP Facts & Figures
Losail International Circuit info
2021 Qatar Grand Prix - Tyres
2021 Qatar F1 GP - Weather Forecast
Qatar F1 GP Podium Prediction

The event, which came into the calendar in the spot that was originally saved for the Australian GP, will be the third of a triple-header that has seen it almost all.

Hamilton and Mercedes clearly needed to stop Red Bull’s charge in the last few races, and the team did just that with Hamilton’s brilliant win at Sao Paulo. Of course, it was not straightforward, as the British driver had been disqualified from Friday’s qualifying for a malfunction in the edges of the DRS on his W11.

The Englishman started Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying on 20th place and finished fifth, but started Sunday’s Grand Prix in 10th place due to a five-place grid penalty for exceeding engine components.

Still, Hamilton won on Sunday with a masterclass after overtaking Verstappen in the late stages of the race after a scuffle in his first attempt. That scuffle was not investigated by stewards on Sunday, but it could be checked going forward, as new elements (such as Verstappen’s front-facing onboard camera) showed up in the days after the race. The Race Director told Mercedes that the incident had been looked at ‘completely’ on Sunday, but later information showed that the stewards did not have all the angles available at the time.

Now, Mercedes has requested a Right of Review under Article 14.1.1 of the International Sporting Code “on the basis of new evidence unavailable to the Stewards at the time of their decision.”

A penalty for Red Bull’s racer for his driving whilst defending Hamilton’s overtaking attempt into Turn 4 could drop him a place and shorten the gap in the World Drivers’ Championship from the current 14 points to 11 (if he receives a five-second penalty, Valtteri Bottas would be promoted to second place).

Anyway, the World Drivers’ Championship took another swing, right when Red Bull was looking s the big favorite in both championships. Mercedes now leads the World Constructors’ Championship by 11 points, while Hamilton still has a chance at overtaking Verstappen in the last three races.

Looking at the nature of the Losail International Circuit and its layout, Red Bull could have the upper hand over Mercedes, but the same was expected in favor of the German team at Austin and it did not happen. It will be interesting, regardless of who is in front.

Verstappen leads the World Championship with 332.5 points over Hamilton’s 318.5. In the WCC, Mercedes now has 521.5 points, while Red Bull Racing remains within striking distance with 510.5.

The battle for P3 & P5 in F1 WCC

The Scuderia Ferrari (Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz) is now sitting comfortably in third place in the 2021 World Constructors’ Championship after finishing fifth and sixth once again and scoring points with both cars for the fourth straight race (including four Top-5 finishes).

All info you want to see before the 2021 Qatar F1 GP starts

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) leading Lando Norris (McLaren) in Brazil (2021)

Ferrari now leads McLaren (Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo) by 31.5 points in the WCC. The Woking-based team scored only one point at Brazil, with Norris’ P10, and has scored with both cars only once in the last four races.

Alpine (with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon) remains in P5 in the WCC, with Ocon finishing eighth and Alonso following him in ninth place. AlphaTauri (Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda) remains tied with the French team on points after Gasly finished seventh and matched the tally of points the Alpine drivers scored. Due to Esteban Ocon’s win in the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Alpine remains ahead of AT, even though both teams have 112 points.

The four teams in the bottom of the WCC standings, Aston Martin, Williams, Alfa Romeo and Haas, failed to score in the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Aston Martin (Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll) did not score points in Brazil, and remains seventh in the WCC with 68 points with little to achieve ahead and with little risk from behind.

Williams (George Russell and Nicholas Latifi) continues to struggle and now has four consecutive races without points. The team sits eighth in the WCC with 23 points.

Alfa Romeo (Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi) is ninth with 11 points and recently announced Guanyu Zhou will race with the team in 2022 alongside Valtteri Bottas in place of Antonio Giovinazzi. Haas (Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin) close out the Constructors’ standings without points.

2021 Qatar GP Facts & Figures

All info you want to see before the 2021 Qatar F1 GP starts

Doha, capital of Qatar

The 2021 edition will be the first of the Qatar Grand Prix in Formula 1 history and the event will not be a part of the 2022 season but will return in 2023 in a new circuit as part of a new 10-year deal F1 signed with organisers.

The event will be run as a twilight race, starting at 17:00 local time, and will certainly be interesting to see the pecking order at a site where Formula 1 has never competed in.

It will be the 20th round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship, and the venue already hosted two MotoGP events during 2021. Also, Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which makes the collection of huge sporting events at the site a big one.

Losail International Circuit info

The Losail International Circuit will make its debut in Formula 1 next Sunday, and it might be the final race the venue hosts, as the Qatar Grand Prix is expected to change venues from 2023 onwards.

The track is a 5.380 km long circuit with 16 corners and a 1.068 km main straight. Apart from hosting Grand Prix motorcycle racing events since 2004, the Losail International Circuit has also received the Superbike World Championship, the FIA WTCC (current FIA WTCR) and other series like the GP2 Asia (Sergio Pérez won at the venue in 2009).

All info you want to see before the 2021 Qatar F1 GP starts

The MotoGP events have been at nighttime since 2008.

Turn 1 will be expected as the main, and possibly the only, overtaking zone at the venue, with the only DRS zone expected to be at the main straight.

Formula1.com expressed the following on a press release about the Qatar Grand Prix and the speeds expected at the venue: “We’ll see cars reaching an average speed of 237km/h in qualifying and 220km/h on race day. In terms of predicted lap time, our simulations suggest 1m 22.5s for qualifying and 1m 28.6s for the race.”

Given what is at stake, the Losail International Circuit could deliver long-lasting memories to F1 fans and the 57-lap race could be a thrilling one. The event will be run to 306.66 kilometers.

2021 Qatar Grand Prix - Tyres

The dry tyres for the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix will be the C1 as P Zero White hard, C2 as P Zero Yellow Medium, and C3 as P Zero Red soft.

Pirelli explained their choice to go with the hardest option with a statement in a press release: “This is the fifth and last time this year that the three hardest compounds in the range have been nominated.

Infograpic Qatar F1 GP

Existing data and simulations from teams point to Losail being a high-severity circuit with very demanding corners – similar to Silverstone or Mugello – and quite aggressive asphalt. The grip might also be affected by sand from the desert surrounding the track. With Qatar also being a completely new venue for Formula 1, Pirelli has opted for the three hardest compounds: capable of handling all of Losail’s varied demands.

There’s a start-finish straight that’s just over a kilometre long, but also a quick succession of 16 corners to make up the rest of the lap, which means that the tyres are always working hard. This is expected to lead to a reasonably high degree of degradation.

Despite the presence of strategically-placed artificial grass around the circuit to keep away the sand from the desert, the asphalt could still become very dusty thus affecting grip.
Turns 12 to 14 form a triple-apex right-hander, making up almost a single high-energy 5.2g corner that is slightly reminiscent of the famous Turn 8 in Turkey – only in the opposite direction.
Qatar is just one of four races held in the evening under floodlights this year. This means that the evolution of track temperature over the course of the grand prix should be quite different compared to a standard afternoon race, with the potential for a big drop-off as the race goes on. In the desert, there’s a big difference in temperature between day and night. While the race takes place at 5pm local time, FP1 and FP3 happens during the heat of the day, so only FP2 and qualifying provide a truly representative picture of the likely race conditions.

There are no support races at all on the schedule and the circuit hasn’t been used a lot recently, which will mean that there’s no rubber laid down prior to F1 cars running. As a result drivers can expect a slippery track at first and a high degree of track evolution. The surface could also be ‘reset’ by sand blowing onto the track over the weekend..”

The minimum starting pressures for the tyres will be 22.0 PSI (front) and 19.5 PSI (rear).

2021 Qatar Grand Prix - Weather Forecast

Friday, Nov 19th - FP1 & FP2
Conditions: Clear
Max. temperature: 29°C
Chance of rain: 1%

All info you want to see before the 2021 Qatar F1 GP startsSaturday, Nov 20th - FP3 & Qualifying
Conditions: Clear and very warm
Max. temperature: 29°C
Chance of rain: 1%

Sunday, Nov 21st - Race
Conditions: Clear and very warm
Max. temperature: 31°C
Chance of rain: 0%

Who will be on the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix podium?

Lewis Hamilton put on a show in the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, but there is no time for him and the Mercedes team to celebrate, as the F1 circus now focuses on the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix and they will be looking to end the triple-header on a high.

F1 title rivals say they don't want Senna-Prost-like finale

Race winner Lewis Hamilton and second placed Max Verstappen celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Russia

Of course, the layout of the Losail International Circuit could favor Red Bull’s downforce on the RB16B, and even Ferrari could have a small chance at a shocking result given how the car has looked on some twisty circuits during 2021.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will certainly be favorites to win the race, as both have taken 15 wins in this year’s calendar. Their respective teammates, Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) and Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) will need big outings in order to maybe help their colleagues in the WDC battle.

Pierre Gasly will be another name to look out for in the race, as he has been a solid driver for the entire season and has taken lots of points for his team. The fight for P5 in the WDC is also heating up, with the Ferrari drivers (Leclerc on 148 points and Sainz on 139.5 points) are catching Lando Norris and his tally of 151 points.

The prediction for the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix is definitely reserved and could be an answer to give after Friday’s Free Practice sessions or even right after the start of the event (even then, it might be too soon to tell).


✅ Check out more posts with related topics:

One F1 fan comment on “All info you want to see before the 2021 Qatar F1 GP starts

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    Even if this circuit isn’t overtaking-friendly on paper, the lap flow is enjoyable, similar to Mugello.
    I'm happy all floodlit sessions begin 16 min past the sunset time (16:44).
    Melbourne was, of course, originally in early-season rather than in this phase, while this weekend was empty.

    Reply

What's your F1 fan opinion?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please follow our commenting guidelines.