Formula 1 Commentary

F1 Qatar GP live commentary and updates - FP3 & Qualifying

Live updates on final practice and qualifying for the 2021 Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit.

F1 Qatar GP live commentary and updates - FP3 & Qualifying

By: Megan White, Stefan Mackley


  • Hamilton takes pole for the Qatar GP ahead of Verstappen and Bottas
  • Perez, Stroll, Leclerc, Ricciardo and Russell out in Q2
  • Raikkonen, Latifi, Giovinazzi, Schumacher and Mazepin out in Q1
  1. Hamilton, Mercedes
  2. Verstappen, Red Bull
  3. Bottas, Mercedes
  4. Gasly, AlphaTauri
  5. Alonso, Alpine
  6. Norris, McLaren
  7. Sainz, Ferrari
  8. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
  9. Ocon, Alpine
  10. Vettel, Aston Martin
Status: Stopped
With qualifying done and dusted we will wrap up this live text commentary, but be sure to check back tomorrow for the main event: The inaugural F1 Qatar GP which starts at 2pm GMT (5pm local time). You won't want to miss it!

Need a recap on Qatar GP qualifying? Look no further:

That is Hamilton's first pole since the Hungarian GP (officially at least) and his fourth pole of the year. Could it be his most important of the year?
That sets up the race rather well, doesn't it? Hamilton on pole joined on the front row by title rival and championship leader Verstappen.
Bottas on his P3: "It has been a good weekend until qualifying. I don't know what happened overnight but I could feel it in FP3. I was still fastest but I had to push a lot so knew I would struggle."
Hamilton on his Qatar GP pole: "Thursday and Friday I wasn't feeling too well, so I was off a bit yesterday, but we were here until midnight last night and found a lot of areas where I could improve. That last lap was beautiful."
Verstappen on qualifying P2: "We just lacked pace, it was harder in qualifying too, which shows with Checo not in Q3. But it is still all to play for."
No doubt the drivers will reveal if they lifted on the final lap with Gasly stopped on the track but it won't change the results. Hamilton on pole from Verstappen and Bottas. Gasly, despite his Q3 mishap, takes fourth.
Replays reveal what happened to Gasly, he runs over the kerbs at Turn 15 and it looks like his front wing takes a battering, comes loose and that is what causes his tyre puncture.
Verstappen did improve with a 1m21.282s - a lap allowed as the yellow flags for Gasly were withdrawn before he arrived at the scene - but he stays second which means Hamilton is on pole for the Qatar GP!
Gasly has a puncture and has stopped on the track just before the starting grid hatchings. That could be qualifying done and dusted.
...and completes the lap with a 1m20.827s.
Hamilton is flying on his final lap, fastest of all in sectors one and two...
Verstappen opts for the opposite tactics to Hamilton and comes out of the pits last of the 10 contenders.
Hamilton takes to the track first again in Q3. It worked out well for him last time.
Everyone is back in the pits getting fresh softs for the second and final run in Q3.
Alonso, who was the last on the track for his first Q3 run, got a lovely boost of slipstream from Hamilton finishing his lap and that, added to a very good lap, sees the Alpine driver slot into fifth place.
Verstappen's first effort is a 1m21.424s to go P2. Hamilton holds provisional pole by 0.162s, with Bottas in third and Gasly in fourth.
Hamilton's first lap is a 1m21.262s. That's the benchmark.
All 10 drivers contesting Q3 are out on track for the first runs. Hamilton leads the train from Ocon and Vettel.
Here we go for Q3.
Bottas, who topped FP2 and FP3, has been on pole for three of the last four races. But Hamilton topped Q1 and Q2. So, Verstappen on pole?
Obviously there is no Qatar GP quali form book, but here's where pole has gone in 2021: Verstappen 9 poles, Bottas 4 poles, Hamilton 3 poles, Leclerc 2 poles and Norris 1 pole.
Right, it is pole position shootout time. Who is your money on?

Sainz was the beneficiary of Perez not making the top 10, with the Ferrari driver in 10th place and will start the race on the mediums. Out in Q2: P11 Perez, P12 Stroll, P13 Leclerc, P14 Ricciardo, P15 Russell.

And Perez cannot manage it, the Red Bull driver only improves to 11th and is out in Q2. That's a big blow to Red Bull.
Perez is in need of a lap down in P14. He is on the softs trying to make Q3.
Sainz stays P8 on the mediums and is now under threat from being dropped by the rest.
Final run time in Q2. The majority of drivers are on the softs but Sainz is sticking with the mediums. He's only P8 so it is a bold call.
Russell, who has the entire Losail track to himself, can't make it into the top 10 as he stays P13 with a 1m22.756s.
Leclerc is the thick part of a second off the pace of team-mate Sainz and he confesses over team radio "he's not sure where the time is". It hasn't been a straightforward weekend for him.
With all 15 driver putting a time to their names now, it is a bit of a mix-up due to the split strategies. Pressure is on Norris, Perez, Russell, Ricciardo and Leclerc who are in the drop zone.
A few split strategies in Q2 this afternoon, with the Aston Martins and Alpines coming out later than the rest and all on the softs.
Hamilton goes fastest, on the mediums, with a 1m21.682s. Gasly pops up to second place, using the softs remember, to push Verstappen to third and Bottas to fourth.
First Q2 lap times rolling in, Sainz currently fastest with a 1m22.241s on the mediums.
It is medium tyre o'clock. So far everyone is on the yellow-walled tyres except Gasly, Tsunoda and Russell.
We'll keep you updated if anything further comes from those Q1 near-misses, as the second quali session gets underway.