F1 heads to Losail, Qatar for the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix where Max Verstappen can wrap up the title.
This weekend sees the return of the Sprint format which could well see Verstappen seal a third title in the Sprint Race, with the Dutchman needing just three points to complete the job ahead of the final five rounds of the season – containing five Grands Prix and two Sprint Races.
Mercedes meanwhile seek to continue fending off Ferrari in their battle for second in the constructors’ championship, whilst Aston Martin battle a resurgent McLaren for fourth.
Now here is everything that you need to know about the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
Circuit: Losail International Circuit
Race Distance: 306.660km
Tyre Compounds: C1, C2 & C3
|Friday 6 October||Practice||2:30pm|
|Friday 6 October||Qualifying||6:00pm|
|Saturday 7 October||Sprint Qualifying||2:00pm|
|Saturday 7 October||Sprint Race||6:30pm|
|Sunday 8 October||Race||6:00pm|
Five Key Pointers
- Although this is F1’s second visit to Qatar, teams face fresh challenges because the race is a month earlier than in 2021, with a Sprint weekend format thrown in to the equation limiting practice.
- Teams are expected to be greeted by a dusty track in Practice which means track evolution could well be high throughout the weekend.
- With Losail International Circuit being a high downforce track, McLaren should once again be in the mix to be second best behind Red Bull after strong showings in Singapore and Japan.
- Tyre degradation is predicted to be high so race strategies could see many opt a two-stopper, although an one-stopper could be possible as seen in 2021 with Fernando Alonso.
- Possibility of high winds and sand breezing across the track the track will provide a test of car stability and grip.
With a 177-point lead over Perez and just 180 points available across the final six rounds, Verstappen can seal the title with a minimum of three points this weekend, although a sixth-placed finish at minimum in the Sprint will be enough to seal a third title before the main race.
Last Time Out
F1 didn’t visit Qatar in 2022 due to the country hosting the FIFA World Cup but in their inaugural visit in 2021, Lewis Hamilton led from lights to flag ahead of Verstappen who recovered from seventh on the grid to second whilst Alonso rounded out the podium.