Piastri on sprint pole as track restrictions wreak havoc


Lando Norris looked on course to beat his teammate, but a mistake at the final corner cost him his final lap.

Track restrictions are again in the spotlight for this race after problems in Friday’s Grand Prix qualifying, with Pirelli making changes to Losail after discovering repeated high-speed curb impacts were damaging its tyres.

In Q3, all drivers were running soft tires, hard tires in Q1 and medium tires in Q2, with Verstappen losing his Q3 by going too wide at Turn 5. A speeding car, and the wind in this place caused problems for the riders.

The Red Bull driver’s 1m24.453s lap with his soft tyres at their freshest was still not enough to lead the McLaren driver when they finished late in the final stage.

Unlike other sprint qualifying events this year, the slick new track here means drivers are able to keep going for multiple laps throughout the stage, and cars can be fueled throughout the stage for situations that may require extra runs. Lost due to track limitations.

Piastri’s opening time was eclipsed by Norris’s 1m24.536 and Verstappen failed to pass on his second attempt, meaning he would eventually fall behind the McLaren pair.

In the final sprint, Piastri took the lead with a time of 1:24.454 and the focus shifted to Norris behind him as he was ahead of his teammate in the first two stages.

But Norris gave up his lap when he went wide at the final corner, meaning Piastri finished better than he had achieved in qualifying for the Spa Sprint earlier this year. Second place is better.

Behind the top three are George Russell, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. In addition to Russell, All drivers were boosted by Fernando Alonso, who lost his final run of the third quarter due to track restrictions at Turn 13, dropping him from fifth to ninth.

Esteban Ocon rounds out the top ten for Alpine in season three.

In the second quarter, Hulkenberg’s last-minute improvement beat Pierre Gasly in the middle section with the fastest speed at the time.

Lewis Hamilton, who was shockingly behind, lost two laps for breaching track limits – including a late effort in which he was not fast enough to make progress anyway – and ended up in the lead. Finished 12th with Valtteri Bottas, Liam Lawson and Zhou Guanyu.

In Q1, Lance Stroll was eliminated in 16th, finishing last for several riders including Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda Laps were deleted and behind the pair Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant also lost their final laps, finishing 19th and 20th.

Sargent ended up not getting representative time on track in the second Williams car as his initial effort was also ruled out for a track limit violation at Turn 13, a similar situation affecting Zhou’s performance in the second season.

An effective 10-minute warm-up was carried out before the start of the race so that drivers could try out the new track restrictions at Turns 13 and 14 – curb lines were painted on the asphalt and the track width was reduced by 80cm to accommodate these corners The length of the curb. point.

Verstappen, who won in a best time of 1 minute 27.085 seconds, had another altercation with engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, who had expected the Dutchman to finish in P. Turn 5 went so far that he found a result that would have completed the lap. One of several gravel traps on this site.

Russell, Hamilton, Gasly, Lawson, Tsunoda, Stroll and Albon face a post-race investigation after they failed to comply with the race director’s decision to introduce a maximum lap in qualifying to improve traffic issues Instructions for time rules.

Similar investigations at Monza and after yesterday’s Grand Prix qualifying resulted in no further action as the driver in question was found to be driving slowly to avoid hampering others.

Russell and Gasly were notified twice about the issue — each time in seasons one and two.

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