Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton wins Qatar GP to narrow Verstappen gap to just EIGHT points with two races left in thrilling title fight

LEWIS HAMILTON continued his superb form by clinching victory at the inaugural Qatari Grand Prix despite a determined Max Verstappen pursuit.

Hamilton, 36, edged closer to winning back the top spot in the drivers’ championship standings win a second consecutive race win in Qatar.

Hamilton won the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix

The seven-time world champion started on pole and got off to a strong start, showing his superior pace by maintaining his lead for the ENTIRE 57 laps.

Hamilton defended his lead with an assured drive, never allowing rival Verstappen to get within five seconds of him, despite conceding the fastest lap.

Verstappen got off to an excellent start by rising from seventh to second in just six laps, overtaking the likes of Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris.

And despite having a solid race, a near-perfect drive from Hamilton to earn his 102nd Grand Prix win meant the Dutchman just couldn’t get near him.

The win was Hamilton’s seventh of the season and gives him the chance to seal his eighth world title with two more race wins in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

The same outcome in Saudi Arabia would put the Brit level on points with Verstappen going into the final race, setting up a thrilling climax in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen recovered incredibly well from his five-place grid penalty to battle back to second and earned an extra point with the fastest lap.

Fan favourite and Alpine racer Fernando Alonso bagged his first podium since Budapest in 2014 with a superb third-place finish, ahead of Checo Perez in fourth.

Alonso was voted Fdriver of the day

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