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PREVIEW: Mercedes in confident mood heading to Qatar GP

The first of three races set to be staged in the Middle East takes place this weekend with Qatar GP the first stop on the final straight of the 2021 season.

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Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The first of three races set to be staged in the Middle East takes place this weekend with Qatar GP the first stop on the final straight of the 2021 season.

Things are as tight as ever on the top of the drivers’ standings with only 14 points separating Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton after the ‘Brit took race honors at last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.  Will he repeat the trick at the Qatar GP this weekend? Time will tell!

Qatar Grand Prix
Sunday 21 November
Losail Circuit
16:00

To Win Race (Outright)

Lewis Hamilton 66/100
Max Verstappen 16/10
Valtteri Bottas 14/1
Sergio Perez 16/1
Charles LeClerc 50/1
Lando Norris 66/1
Carlos Sainz 66/1
Pierre Gasly 100/1

Previous Race

Well, it’s all to play for after Lewis Hamilton showed his mettle with the drive of the season to claim race honours out in Brazil. Starting in P10 Hamilton took four places off the grid. He was then racking up places for fun and took second from Sergio Perez on lap 17. He would go on to overtake Max Verstappen on Lap 59 and that was all she wrote as the Brit took first and Verstappen had to settle for second. The duo were joined on the podium by Valtteri Bottas.

Of course, Verstappen’s questionable defence on lap 48 in Brazil which saw Hamilton driven off the track could still result in sanctions for the young Dutchman.

Sergio Perez would ensure that the gap between Red Bull and Mercedes from the race for the Constructor’s Championship remained tight as the Red Bull man claimed fourth. He was joined in the top 6 by Charles LeClerc (fifth) and Carlos Sainz (sixth) with the Ferrari duo ensuring a respectable points haul.

Pierre Gasly was once again just outside the top 6 with the Alpha Tauri man claiming seventh ahead of the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon (eighth) and Fernando Alonso (ninth). The final driver to claim points in Brazil was Lando Norris who brought his McLaren home in tenth.

Track – Losail International Circuit

Qatar GP

We haven’t got much to go on here as this will be the first time an F1 race is staged at the Losail International Circuit.

While the track hasn’t hosted an F1 race yet, it is no stranger to motorsports with the venue being a regular fixture on the MotoGP circuit since 2004.

Situated just north of Doha, the Losail complex can hold 8000 spectators and cost just under $60 million to build.

In terms of the schematics. The track features sixteen turns and a massive straight. The distance of each lap will be 5.418 metres. As it’s designed for Moto GP tastes, we’ll see a lot of different corners with a couple of really slow turns mixed in with plenty of sweeping, high-speed corners too.

In terms of the weather, we’ve got decent racing conditions expected with clear skies and temperatures in the mid to high 20s.

Value Bet

Podium – Daniel Ricciardo – Yes @ 10/1
I kind of like this one. Ricciardo is an experienced driver who should be able to deal with whatever this new track has to throw at him. He has failed to crack the Top 10 in the last two races in the Americas but he tends to do alright in the Middle East. At 10/1 for a podium, he certainly offers some decent value.

Value Bet

Podium – Daniel Ricciardo – Yes @ 10/1

I kind of like this one. Ricciardo is an experienced driver who should be able to deal with whatever this new track has to throw at him. He has failed to crack the Top 10 in the last two races in the Americas but he tends to do alright in the Middle East. At 10/1 for a podium, he certainly offers some decent value. 

To Win Race Outright

Max Verstappen @ 16/10

I reckon Max has got this one. This track should suit Red Bull slightly more than Mercedes and he’s due a win.

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