Formula 1 is likely to claim the 2023 World Drivers’ Championship at this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix.
Two-time defending champion Max Verstappen needs just three points from his 34 points at the weekend to secure a third successive title. Verstappen holds a commanding 177-point lead over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. Red Bull won the constructors’ championship in Japan two weeks ago.
If he fails to overtake Perez in Saturday’s sprint, Verstappen has an excellent chance at the Grand Prix, taking pole position while his teammate starts from 13th.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix:
Qatar Grand Prix qualifying results
Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull Honda RBPT
George Russell (63), Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes
Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin Mercedes
Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari
Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren Mercedes
Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine Renault
Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine Renault
Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Lando Norris (4), McLaren Mercedes
Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari
Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull Honda RBPT
Alexander Albon (23), Willems-Mercedes
Nico Hulkenberg, (27), Haas Ferrari
Logan Sargent(2), Williams-Mercedes
Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas Ferrari
Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo Ferrari
Qatar Grand Prix TV/Streaming Schedule
All times Eastern
9:25am – 10:30am: Free Practice 1 (2, +, F1 TV Pro)
12:55 – 2pm: Qualifying Rounds (2, +, F1 TV Pro)
8:55 – 10 a.m.: Sprint Wars (2, +, F1 TV Pro)
1:25pm – 2:30pm: Sprint (News, +, F1 TV Pro)
11:30 am to 12:55 pm: Pre-race programming (2, +, F1 TV Pro)
12:55 – 3pm: Qatar Grand Prix (, +, F1 TV Pro)
Qatar Grand Prix Details
track: Lusail International Speedway, 3.637-mile, 16-lap permanent racing facility
Game length: 57 laps, 191.761 miles
Lap record: N/A (Configuration changed from 2021 competition)
Tire compound: C1 (hard), C2 (medium), C3 (soft)
2021 winners: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Daniel Ricciardo misses Qatar Grand Prix
AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo will miss his fifth consecutive Grand Prix due to multiple fractures in his left hand, which he sustained in practice ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix on August 25. Liam Lawson will be driving Ricciardo’s car since the Dutch Grand Prix weekend. .
Lawson impressed during his time off the bench. He had a great Singapore Grand Prix weekend in race three, knocking out Verstappen in the second qualifying session and finishing ninth and scoring two points. Ricciardo himself, who replaced Nyck de Vries after just 10 games in his career, will return to AlphaTauri at some point and signed a contract extension until 2024 last month.
Sprint weekend format returns
In 2021, F1 introduced a sprint weekend format, moving traditional qualifying to Friday and replacing it with a shortened race that awards minimum points and determines the grid for Sunday’s grand prix. After some nominal adjustments, we have the current format for the 2023 season, which effectively makes Saturday more of an exhibition game. This weekend is the fourth of six sprint format weekends in 2023.
The sprint battle is coming! 🍿
Imagine qualifying, even faster.Every lap counts as Saturday’s sprint battle, setting the grid for the race #F1Sprint
Sunday’s Grand Prix will not be affected🔒 pic.twitter.com/oTVrJIuLvl
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 25, 2023
The 2023 format ditches Saturday morning’s lame-duck practice sessions in favor of a faster version of the traditional three-stage knockout qualifying format to determine grid positions for the sprint races later in the day. The top eight finishers in the sprint will receive points in descending order (8 points for P1, 7 points for P2, 6 points for P3).
Top drivers and best bets for Qatar Grand Prix
While it remains to be seen whether Verstappen’s overwhelming odds heading into each race weekend will drop following his title win, it’s still in play, with the Dutchman sitting at -450 to win the race, according to BetMGM. No other drive is better than 12 to 1.
Best odds of winning
•Lando Norris +1200
• Sergio Perez +1200
• Oscar Piastri +1800
Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg wrote about the betting prospects earlier this week, pointing out some interesting props in addition to Verstappen winning. With the Lusail circuit favoring Red Bull and taking the pressure off Perez, he hopes the Mexican can finish on the podium with a -135 margin of victory. Furthermore, he recommends betting on Mercedes ahead of Ferrari (+100).
F1 World Drivers Championship standings
1. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull Honda RBPT – 400
2. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull Honda RBPT – 223
3. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes – 190
4. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin Mercedes – 174
5. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari – 150
6. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari – 135
7. Lando Norris (4), McLaren Mercedes – 115
8. George Russell (63), Mercedes – 115
9. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren Mercedes – 57
10. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes – 47
11. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine Renault – 46
12. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine Renault – 38
13. Alexander Albon (23), Willems-Mercedes – 21
14. Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas Ferrari – 9
15. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 6
16. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 4
17. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 3
18. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari – 3
19. Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 2
20. Logan Sargent (2), Williams-Mercedes – 0
twenty one. Nick DeVries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 0
twenty two. Daniel Ricciardo (3), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 0
Qatar Grand Prix weather
It’s a good thing qualifying, both the sprint and grand prix starts after 10pm local time, as daytime highs are expected to be 103-107 degrees. Even with the stiffest compound tires in the Pirelli range, this gives the feel of a two-stop race between hot track temperatures, fast-flowing corners and the desert sand surrounding the facility, adding to the surface wear.