F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton now favourite for title as Max Verstappen bemoans stewards

Lewis Hamilton is now favourite to win the F1 drivers’ championship after winning the Qatar Grand Prix to close the gap to his title rival and current standings leaders Max Verstappen. The seven-time world champion is now within eight points of the Dutch driver, with two races to go, after an excellent drive that saw him dominate from start to finish after claiming pole position with a sublime qualifying performance.

Verstappen did his best to limit the damage though, rising from seventh on the grid after a five-place penalty to finish second, while also salvaging his day further with a valuable late point added for the fastest lap. There was some nostalgia too, as Fernando Alonso claimed a first Formula 1 podium in seven years to deliver for Alpine, doing enough to seize the highest rating in Indy Sport’s Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings.

Verstappen said the title race is “exciting” but also complained about his treatment by the stewards. “No surprises there,” he said of the penalty. ““I never get presents from them so it’s ok. But in the end once I knew I was starting seventh I was just very motivated to move ahead and that’s exactly what we did. We had a good first lap and then after five laps we were second again. Then I just tried to keep the gap small which we did throughout the whole race so they couldn’t do an extra stop. It gave me the fastest lap at the end, so I was definitely happy with that.”

Here’s all the latest F1 news and reaction from Qatar as the build-up to Saudi Arabia begins:

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Lewis Hamilton is now favourite to win the F1 drivers’ championship after winning the Qatar Grand Prix to close the gap to his title rival and current standings leaders Max Verstappen. The seven-time world champion is now within eight points of the Dutch driver, with two races to go, after an excellent drive that saw him dominate from start to finish after claiming pole position with a sublime qualifying performance.

Verstappen did his best to limit the damage though, rising from seventh on the grid after a five-place penalty to finish second, while also salvaging his day further with a valuable late point added for the fastest lap. There was some nostalgia too, as Fernando Alonso claimed a first Formula 1 podium in seven years to deliver for Alpine, doing enough to seize the highest rating in Indy Sport’s Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings.

Verstappen said the title race is “exciting” but also complained about his treatment by the stewards. “No surprises there,” he said of the penalty. ““I never get presents from them so it’s ok. But in the end once I knew I was starting seventh I was just very motivated to move ahead and that’s exactly what we did. We had a good first lap and then after five laps we were second again. Then I just tried to keep the gap small which we did throughout the whole race so they couldn’t do an extra stop. It gave me the fastest lap at the end, so I was definitely happy with that.”

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