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Verstappen Secures Third F1 Title, Piastri Wins Qatar GP Sprint Race

An action-packed sprint race led to Max Verstappen securing his third F1 world title and Oscar Piastri’s first race win in F1.

Max Verstappen is the 2023 Formula 1 world champion. After a long season of crushing domination, with just one blip at the Singapore GP after a record-breaking ten consecutive wins, Verstappen joins an exclusive club of three-time F1 champions after placing second in the Qatar GP sprint race. Oh yeah, and McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri took his first F1 race win in the same sprint.

In what might have been the best F1 sprint race yet, three safety cars and major tire strategy offsets made for a nail-biting race. Piastri qualified on pole ahead of teammate Lando Norris for a McLaren front-row lockout. Verstappen started third, while George Russell started fourth ahead of the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Oscar Piastri leading the Qatar F1 Sprint. Getty

The primary challenge of the sprint was tire choice. Mercedes put Russell on faster but quick-wearing softs, while McLaren and Red Bull opted for mediums on all their cars. At the start, Russell charged up to the lead by the third lap with superior grip, while both Ferraris overtook Verstappen. With a short 19-lap race, it looked like the soft tire was the choice early on, but even with three safety cars helping with tire wear, the soft tires fell off a cliff around the tenth lap.

Piastri repassed Russell for the lead while Verstappen worked his way up the order, setting up the last laps of the race to a true sprint for the win. However, a late incident involving Esteban Ocon, Nico Hülkenberg, and Sergio Pérez going three-wide forced the third and final safety car. At the final safety car restart, Piastri led Russell on dead soft tires, giving him a cushion to Verstappen. Despite Verstappen making quick work of Russell, Piastri kept his nerve and kept him at bay to secure his first-ever F1 race win. And with Pérez out, Verstappen secured his third F1 title.

It was an exciting sprint race marked with drama from a slippery track and tire degradation that even tire supplier Pirelli did not expect. Tomorrow’s Grand Prix might just be one for the books.

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