Max Verstappen hits back in fierce title fight with Lewis Hamilton by going fastest in first practice for the Qatar Grand Prix… as Mercedes are denied a review of controversy in Brazil

Championship leader Max Verstappen was fastest in first practice for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix as the fall-out from his incident with title rival Lewis Hamilton at the previous race rumbled on. The Red Bull driver topped the timing sheets with a lap time of 1:23.723 – over three-quarters of a second ahead of Hamilton in fourth. Hamilton took the chequered flag in Brazil last weekend to close the gap in the drivers’ championship to 14 points with three races remaining. Hamilton again slowed after running wide later in the hour, with work on his car meaning he did not re-emerge from the garage with just over three minutes remaining.

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