Live: F1 Qatar GP updates – Sprint qualifying and race

Follow the live action as the Formula 1 sprint qualifying and race returns at the Qatar Grand Prix on Saturday.

Max Verstappen looks set to wrap up his third F1 world title during the sprint race, as he only needs to score three points or more on Saturday.

He holds a 177-point lead over team-mate Sergio Perez, with Red Bull already having clinched the constructors' title last time out in Japan.

An unexpected talking point is the Pirelli tyres which suffered sidewall damage running over the new style of kerbs used at the Qatar track on Friday.

It has triggered a change to track limits at Turn 12-13 and an additional 10-minute practice session at 2pm BST, which has delayed the start of sprint qualifying to 2:20pm BST.

The sprint race is still scheduled to start at 6:30pm BST.

By: Haydn Cobb, Stefan Mackley, James Newbold


  • Max Verstappen is crowned three-time F1 world champion after finishing second in Qatar F1 sprint to McLaren's Oscar Piastri
  • Verstappen joins Brabham, Stewart, Lauda, Piquet and Senna in the exclusive club of three-time champions
  • Rookie Piastri becomes the second non-Red Bull driver to see a checkered flag first in 2023, but will start Sunday's Grand Prix sixth after a track limits infringement in Friday qualifying
  • George Russell briefly led thanks to gambling on soft tyres, but faded to fourth at the finish as Lando Norris recovered to third after dropping back at the start
  • Safety Car deployed on three occasions after single car incidents involving Liam Lawson and Logan Sargeant followed by a multi-car clash involving Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg
  1. Piastri, McLaren
  2. Verstappen, Red Bull
  3. Norris, McLaren
  4. Russell, Mercedes
  5. Hamilton, Mercedes
  6. Sainz, Ferrari
  7. Leclerc, Ferrari
  8. Albon, Williams
  9. Alonso, Aston Martin
  10. Gasly, Alpine
Status: Stopped
Thank you as always for joining us this evening. We'll be back tomorrow to bring you all the action as it unfolds in the Qatar Grand Prix, and if it's anything like tonight then the race promises plenty of excitement - even if the world championship is already decided. We'll see you then. Goodnight!
How do you celebrate clinching a world championship knowing that you've got the full grand prix to come? Untested waters for Verstappen tonight, as he prepares to start tomorrow's full points-paying grand prix from pole with George Russell alongside, and the nearest McLaren back on row three.
So it was Piastri who took the flag first from Verstappen, Norris, Russell, Hamilton and Sainz, with Leclerc and Albon (up from 17th in 19 laps!) completing the points. But Leclerc and Stroll (who finished a nondescript 13th) are being investigated for track limits. We told you that it couldn't be ruled out completely...
The top three drivers are presented with their little plaques for their 'podium' positions. Verstappen is all smiles, and rightly so. Red Bull lost the battle today, but won the war.
In case you missed any of the action from that breathless sprint, here is the full report:
Choosing the 'right' compound in the medium, as the slick runners' gamble failed to pay off after an early surge up the order, ultimately helped Piastri's path and aided Norris in his comeback to third. But what can the McLarens do from sixth (Piastri) and tenth (Norris) tomorrow?
It's Verstappen's day, but McLaren has again served notice of its strength in Qatar on an eventful evening that saw three safety cars as Lawson and Sargeant spun off in solo incidents before the Ocon-Hulkenberg-Perez sandwich ended up with the first and last-named in the gravel too.
Red Bull has had plenty of time to get its celebratory champion caps made (presumably not after a visit to the wind tunnel first, though - eh, Adrian?) which are now adorning the heads of some smiling mechanics.
Verstappen also congratulates Piastri, who becomes just the second non-Red Bull driver to cross the line first in a race scenario this year.
FIA President Mohamed ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali are among the first to congratulate the newly crowned three-time world champion in parc ferme.
"I had a bit of a heart attack when all the soft guys went past at the start, but very well managed," Piastri informs his team. A special moment for the F1 rookie.
It's the first 'win' for Piastri in F1 and the first for McLaren since Monza 2021. But of course it won't count in the record books given the weird status that sprint races hold. And come tomorrow's grand prix both McLarens will start well down the order thanks to their track limits gaffes in Qualifying on Friday, so may face a struggle to get onto the podium. Funny how F1 works sometimes.
Verstappen sounds very chilled on the radio as he comes to terms with becoming a three-time champion. It's been coming for a while, hasn't it?
Oscar Piastri crosses the line to win the Qatar sprint race, but with second place Max Verstappen is confirmed as a three-time Formula 1 world champion.
Hamilton gets the move done and moves up to fifth.
Hamilton has taken Leclerc for sixth, and Albon demotes Alonso to nab eighth. But Hamilton isn't finished and is applying the pressure on Sainz.
We're on the last lap now, and it looks like Verstappen has run out of time to get back on terms with Piastri.
Hamilton has passed Gasly and immediately pounce on Alonso into Turn 1, as behind Albon displaces Gasly too. Alonso stands between the Williams driver and a point, as Hamilton attacks the Ferraris.
It doesn't take Norris long to complete the move though, and he's through into fourth around the outside of Turn 4.
Leclerc's hold on fifth is brief as Norris darts past on the outside with DRS into Turn 1, then immediately has a peek down the inside of Sainz into Turn 2 before thinking better of it.
Albon meanwhile has passed Bottas for tenth.
He has three laps to make up 2.4s. He'll be world champion as things stand, but will Verstappen seal the deal in style?
As we start lap 16 Verstappen zaps Russell for second down the inside of Turn 1. Can he catch up to Piastri?
Hamilton has also lost a spot to Gasly, who gains eighth spot and the final point as things stand.
We're back to green at the start of lap 15 and as Piastri leads Russell, Leclerc steals fifth back from Norris.
The safety car is coming in, so we'll have four more laps to decide the Qatar sprint race.
Verstappen is told to "forget about Piastri" and focus on getting to the end by his engineer. The Dutchman is clearly thinking that he doesn't want to be crowned champion by finishing second...
So Piastri has the lead then under the third safety car of the night, having blasted back ahead of Russell. Verstappen is looking menacing in third, with Sainz now hoping to fend off a recovering Norris. Leclerc is sixth, with Alonso also on softs in seventh, then Hamilton on the medium, Gasly on the soft and Bottas on the medium in tenth.
Hulkenberg has damage and pits. The carnage at the tail end of the top 10 promotes Hamilton to eighth and the final point as things stand.
Ocon was struggling on his softs and Hulkenberg took a big look to the outside of Turn 1. Perez got alongside both of them with a better exit and as Ocon moved across on Hulkenberg, the pair made contact which cut down the tyre on the Alpine and sent him straight into the luckless Perez.
Norris moves ahead of Leclerc to claim fifth, but we're back under the safety car now as Perez and Ocon are in the gravel. The Red Bull man is not happy with his Alpine counterpart.
Ah, Verstappen passed Leclerc on the previous tour into Turn 1 with a simple DRS blast to the inside. And now Piastri does the same to Russell! The Aussie is back in the lead, and it's as straightforward a pass as he'll ever make.
No sooner had he passed Leclerc, even before we'd managed to clock it, Verstappen makes easy work of Sainz on the pit straight to claim third.
Perez does however pass Gasly and move up into tenth spot, getting the cutback on the exit of Turn 1 before completing the move around the outside of Turn 2. Hulkenberg is his next target.
Perez got shuffled back at the start and remains 11th, ahead of Hamilton. The Mexican's target is Gasly ahead, but 10th won't get him any points today with the sprint only rewarding drivers down to eighth.
Russell is 1.5s clear of Piastri, as the first full racing lap is completed since the start. How much of a gap will he be able to pull before settling into tyre save mode, knowing the McLaren's tyres will be much more durable?
Alonso meanwhile has retaken Ocon for seventh, darting ahead even before the braking zone for Turn 1.
The safety car is in, and Russell leads the field onto lap seven with a well-judged restart. He's 1.4s clear at the line as Piastri has to defend from Sainz into Turn 1.
As we begin lap six under the safety car, Russell leads Piastri after sneaking ahead into the Turn 6 hairpin, with Sainz and Leclerc third and fourth. Verstappen is in position to seal the title despite only running fifth, ahead of Norris, Ocon and Alonso.
"We know it will come to the medium," Piastri is informed over the radio by his engineer. The soft tyres on Russell, Sainz and Leclerc's cars are likely to wear significantly faster than his own medium tyres.