Credit: u/GUARDIAN2608004 via Reddit

Things are now tighter than ever after the Qatar Grand Prix and things might get ugly as we get ever closer towards the end of the season – if Verstappen can catch Hamilton on-track that is.

Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton had a very comfortable weekend with Lewis very much ahead both in qualifying and during the race. Hamilton’s speed on the track is truly frightening as he closes the gap between himself and Max Verstappen in the driver’s championship.

Whatever Hamilton has done or whatever Mercedes have done, it’s working like nothing else has this season and the gap between Lewis and Max has reversed quite a bit these last few races.

But, of course, Valtteri Bottas had a rough go of it this weekend, however, he did show us that he is actually capable of climbing up the grid when pushed.

This entire season, any time Bottas faced some misfortune that sent him either to the back or middle of the grid, he would struggle to gain position. This is in spite of his obviously powerful Mercedes. If Lewis can do it in that car, like we saw in Brazil, then surely Bottas can? Well, up until this point, I would’ve said that no, he can’t, but after Qatar? He absolutely can – with the right motivation. It’s a shame that a puncture ruined the rest of his race because he looked poised to take P3 but Bottas cannot catch a break can he?

Red Bull

Red Bull have managed to do some damage reduction at the Qatar Grand Prix, but Max Verstappen didn’t really have the pace to catch up to Lewis Hamilton. At no point did it really seem that Verstappen would reach anything higher than P2 and that is a wild revelation. Red Bull have lost their previous on track advantage over Mercedes but with a final push in development, Red Bull may finally have their championship win. But it looks like it’s going to be harder than they once thought.

Sergio Perez once again made things harder for himself because of a poor showing in qualifying. He can do better than this and at the very least almost always recovers during the actual race, just like he has done in Qatar. P4 is solid for the constructor’s championship and Perez is becoming far more consistent and reliable so this should be good news for Red Bull going forward.

Alpine

Alpine were the real stars of the show at the Qatar Grand Prix especially Fernando Alonso who earned his first podium since 2014! Alonso showed us once again that he is easily one of the most skilled drivers on the grid right now. He managed a brilliant game of tyre management as the possibility of a puncture was quite high for those choosing a one-stop strategy. We saw this with both Bottas and the Williams drivers this weekend. A well-deserved podium from the driver of the day.

Esteban Ocon also showed a solid performance this weekend with a solid P5 finish. Granted, he didn’t keep Perez behind as long as he maybe should have, but it’s possible he kept him behind for as long as he could have. Regardless, both drivers’ performance has greatly helped their position in the constructors against AlphaTauri with Alpine in P5 with 137 points and AlphaTauri in P6 with 112.

AlphaTauri

What in the world happened to Pierre Gasly? He had a monumental qualifying that saw him able to start from P2 after Verstappen faced a five-place grid penalty. But it was all gone within a few laps. Both drivers have stated that their pace was lacking, and they experienced sliding for most of the race.

It’s possible that they knew this early, hence why Gasly allowed Verstappen to pass him. But is that the real reason he was allowed to pass? No one should be surprised if Red Bull asked their sister team to step aside to let the possible world champion through but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Although perhaps Gasly didn’t let him pass and he really did lack a serious amount of pace during the race? He did finish in P11 after all. But who can know for sure? It certainly seemed to me like a team order but maybe this is just because I have a thirst for the drama in the sport? But then again no because we can clearly see that Gasly didn’t open his DRS when Max was passing him on the pit straight.

Ferrari

Nothing much to say here except that Ferrari did their best and it gave them a solid position on the grid, but it really didn’t do too much else.

Nothing much to say here except that Ferrari did their best and it gave them a solid position on the grid, but it really didn’t do too much else.

McLaren

What is going on with McLaren? They are just lacking so much pace, and just when you think they’ll be competitive, they drop the ball again. Their battle for P3 in the constructor’s is slipping away ever so slowly the closer we get to the end of the season. I’ve seen nothing to suggest that this trend will change in the last two races of the season.

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