Lewis Hamilton closes on Max Verstappen in title with Qatar Grand Prix win

The penalty dropped Verstappen to sixth on the grid, but he was fourth by the end of the first lap and second after five. By that point, the Red Bull was only 3.7 seconds behind Hamilton but the Mercedes driver continued to stretch ahead until his lead was 8.2secs by the time Verstappen made his first pit stop on lap 17. The race between him and Perez was on target to climax in the closing laps, the Mexican making his first stop early and Bottas trying to run long to have a tyre advantage in the closing laps. But the puncture on lap 31 ended his hopes and in the end the Finn did not even finish the race, Mercedes having to retire the car with 10 laps to go.

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