Max Verstappen cruises to 14th win, wraps up F1 title in Qatar

Verstappen dominated the Grand Prix season. Photo: ANP/Sem van der Wal

Max Verstappen confirmed his dominance in Formula 1 this season by leading from the green light to the chequered flag in Qatar for his 14th win in 17 races.

The 26-year-old Dutchman, who wrapped up his third world title in Saturday’s sprint race, finished 4.8 seconds ahead of Oscar Piastri.

Verstappen also clocked the fastest lap of the race in what was his 49th career win, but said the race was “too close for comfort”.

“What made the race was my first stint, after that I could just manage my pace, making sure that the tyres were always in a good window,” Verstappen said afterwards.

“But the McLarens were quick again today. I had to push for it, it was definitely a tough race out there. One of the top five, probably.”

Piastri and his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris finished second and third, without ever putting Verstappen under serious pressure in the blisteringly hot conditions.

There was criticism of the organisers after the sport’s governing body FIA imposed an 18-lap limit for tyres, forcing the drivers to make three stops, because of concerns that the kerbs on the Lusail circuit risked causing blowouts.

The race started with a crash on the first lap between the two Mercedes drivers, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, after Russell was boxed in and ran into the back of the seven-time world champion. Hamilton later apologised.

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