Hamilton closes in on Verstappen with win

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has won the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix for Mercedes to cut Max Verstappen’s overall lead in the Formula One title race to eight points with two races remaining.

Red Bull’s Verstappen was second on Sunday, after starting seventh following a five-place grid drop for failing to respect warning flags in Saturday’s qualifying, but did earn the important extra point for fastest lap.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso was third for Renault-owned Alpine – the 40-year-old Spaniard’s first podium finish since 2014.

It was another frustrating afternoon for Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who could only finish 12th in his McLaren.

Back-to-back wins for defending champion Hamilton, in Brazil and now Qatar, have set up a fantastic finale in the championship race, with the Briton telling his team over the radio: “Let’s keep pushing, we can do this!”

The champion is confident of a strong finish to the campaign, saying afterwards: “It has been a hell of a year, so to be at the end of the year and have back-to-back wins is a great feeling, and puts us in good stead.”

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