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Qatar Grand Prix – Sprint Race LIVE: Max Verstappen wins his third Drivers’ Championship in a row… with Oscar Piastri winning the Sprint from pole

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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog for the sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix, as Oscar Piastri starts on pole while Max Verstappen could seal the Drivers’ Championship. 

MAX VERSTAPPEN IS A THREE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION

Second on the night – and the best in the world for a third year in a row. Max Verstappen takes it on a Saturday night.

OSCAR PIASTRI WINS THE SPRINT RACE

Lap 19: Final lap, with Piastri leading from Verstappen

Lap 18: Hamilton and Leclerc fighting it out for 6th

Lap 18: Hamilton overtakes Alonso for 7th

Lap 17: Verstappen has the fastest lap

But he might not have enough time to catch Piastri to lead

Lap 17: Norris up to fourth

After dealing with one Ferrari, he quickly dealt with Sainz as well, and he’s up from sixth to fourth very quickly.

Lap 17: Norris moves up to fifth place

He gets close enough to Leclerc to take over.

Lap 16: Can Piastri hold off the Champion?

Lap 16: Verstappen takes second place

Lap 15: Five laps remaining

Piastri leads, Russell second, Verstappen third

Lap 14: Safety car coming in – green flag

The cameras following Perez into the pit after his collision.

Lap 14: Safety car still out

Could be going green at the end of this lap…

Lap 13: Verstappen is third – but takes the Drivers’ Championship

But with Perez not getting any points from this evening, he’s definitely winning a third consecutive Drivers’ Championship, with six races still to go in the season.

Lap 12: Race control will look at that incident

The safety car is out.

Lap 11: Perez is out!

There’s a collision with Ocon, and they’re both out. Hulkenberg caught up in it too, but he’s raced away.

Lap 11: Sergio Perez goes off!

Lap 11: Piastri overtakes Russell

The pole setter makes full use of DRS to help him get past Russell.

Lap 10: Verstappen takes third place

The Dutchman gets past Sainz, and he’s up into third.

Can he catch Piastri or Russell?

Russell’s lead has been reduced to 0.8 seconds.

Lap 9: Verstappen takes fourth from Leclerc

Lap 9: Piastri takes fastest lap

He’s fighting off the Ferrari of Sainz

Lap 8: George Russell builds a two-second buffer

Lap 7: Verstappen 5th, Perez 11th

Unless there’s a dramatic turnaround, the Championship is only heading the Dutchman’s way…

Lap 7: Russell 1.5 seconds clear

Lap 6: Russell races into the night

Piastri has to fight off the two Ferraris behind him.

Safety car ending

Lap 6: Leclerc up from 6th to 4th with a promising start

Lap 6: Alonso up from 9th to 8th

He’s in the last of the points for the Sprint race.

Lap 5: Russell leads from Piastri

Sainz in third place.

Lap 5: Safety car still out

Lawson and Sargeant both out of this race about a quarter of a way into it.

Lap 5: Perez in 11th – Verstappen fifth

Logan Sargeant spins out!

That’s another safety car.

Very smart timing from Russell to take that lead when he did.

George Russell takes the lead!

The safety car is barely in and George Russell takes the lead from Piastri!

Safety car comes in

Perez down to 10th

He needs to be 3rd or its Verstappen’s Drivers’ Championship

SAFETY CAR

Liam Lawson has gone off, and they’ll be forced into this order until that’s resolved.

Sergio Perez has lost places too

The Drivers’ Chmapionship is on the line…

Lando Norris down to sixth from second on the grid

Liam Lawson goes off in the opening corners

Piastri leads into the front corner

Russell second

The lights go out, and the Sprint is underway

They’re coming back in to the grid now

Almost ready to get going

Open tyre choice

Leaders going medium, the rest of the pack split between mediums and softs.

They’re off on the formation lap

This is a fast circuit. It’s going to be hectic.

All eyes on Perez in 8th

He has to get up to third to keep things interesting, whatever Max does.

Final minutes before we get going

Is this Max Verstappen’s day?

It would be some story if he can’t do it today, but until you get through the race, nothing is certain in F1. Max Verstappen is going into the final stages ahead of the Sprint.

epa10906002 Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing ahead of the Sprint race at the Lusail International Circuit racetrack in Lusail, Qatar, 07 October 2023. The Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix will be held on 08 October 2023. EPA/ALI HAIDER

Cars just going through their final checks

A little under ten minutes to go until everything gets going.

Oscar Piastri is set to lead the pack

He would have got a top 3 finish in Friday’s qualifying, but his track time was deleted for going off the track. He’s made up for that error today – but what can he do once the racing gets underway?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Xavi Bonilla/DPPI/Shutterstock (14140259ak) PIASTRI Oscar (aus), McLaren F1 Team MCL60, portrait pole sprint shootout during the 2023 Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix, 17th round of the 2023 Formula One World Championship from October 6 to 8, 2023 on the Lusail International Circuit, in Doha, Qatar - Photo Xavi Bonilla / DPPI F1 - QATAR GRAND PRIX 2023, , Qatar - 07 Oct 2023

Fifteen minutes to go

Jonathan McEvoy’s report from the Shootout

It was a McLaren 1-2 in the Shootout earlier, and Piasti and Norris will make up the front row of the grid.

Here’s how MailSport’s Jonathan McEvoy explained the drama earlier in Lusail.

Half an hour to go

19 laps from glory

This season has been dominated by one driver, and Max Verstappen needs to finish sixth or higher in the Sprint to claim the Drivers’ Championship. He starts in third.

If he fails to achieve this, he could still secure it today if Sergio Perez – the only driver who could mathematically catch the Dutchman – fails to secure six points himself. He starts in eighth place, which would only be worth one point. Perez needs to climb into the top three to have any chance of forcing Verstappen to wait one more day.

I’ll keep you posted on those two as the race goes on.

Hello and welcome to the Qatar Sprint Race

Hello and welcome to Mail Sport’s live coverage of the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint Race.

Oscar Piastri ended up on pole after the Shootout earlier today, and Lando Norris is second.

All eyes however will be on Max Verstappen in third, who will seal the Drivers’ Championship this evening if he can outperform his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, who starts eighth. The Dutchman could also do it by just remaining close behind the Mexican.

The race gets underway in Qatar at 8.30pm local time, 6.30pm in the UK, or just over 50 minutes away.

Key Updates

  • Lap 13: Verstappen is third – but takes the Drivers’ Championship
  • Lap 12: Race control will look at that incident
  • Lap 11: Perez is out!
  • Lap 11: Sergio Perez goes off!
  • Lap 9: Verstappen takes fourth from Leclerc
  • Lap 9: Piastri takes fastest lap
  • Lap 8: George Russell builds a two-second buffer
  • Lap 5: Russell leads from Piastri
  • Lap 5: Perez in 11th – Verstappen fifth
  • Logan Sargeant spins out!
  • George Russell takes the lead!
  • Liam Lawson goes off in the opening corners
  • They’re off on the formation lap
  • Jonathan McEvoy’s report from the Shootout
  • 19 laps from glory
  • Hello and welcome to the Qatar Sprint Race

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