Lewis Hamilton won the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix in what was a comfortable victory for the world champion ahead of Max Verstappen at the Losail International Circuit, however questions are being asked of Pirelli after numerous sudden tyre failures during the race.
Both Williams Racing drivers, Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas all suffered tyre failures during the Qatar Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi and Bottas both retired from the race which was triggered by the tyre failures.
Hamilton won the race on a two-stop strategy, going from the mediums to the hards, then back to the mediums for the final stint. Verstappen followed suit but did do an extra stop on the penultimate lap onto the softs to go for fastest lap. The leading pair had a huge gap to those behind. Third place went to Fernando Alonso who stepped foot on the podium for the first time since the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, he amazingly managed a one-stop race from the softs to the hards.
The four punctures during the race though does take some of the limelight away from the podium trio, with all the punctures during the race being on the front-left tyre. Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Mario Isola, has said that they will find out what caused the punctures to happen.
“With Losail being a new and relatively unknown track, featuring some high energy corners, the teams headed into the race lacking all the information they would ideally want, with only one representative practice session. However, it became clear during the race that a one-stopper was very marginal in terms of tyre wear, requiring a high degree of management.
“Some drivers encountered tyre problems towards the finish: this was probably due to a combination of very high wear as a result of long stints, and impacts at high speed against some aggressive kerbs, but we’ll obviously find out specifically what happened with a full laboratory analysis back at base in Milan. By contrast, Hamilton and Verstappen were able to push to the limit with the strategy that they had selected, finishing more than half a minute ahead of Alonso in third, who made a one-stopper work for him.”