Lewis Hamilton inched nearer to the Formula One championship lead with a dominating victory Sunday in the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix to earn back-to-back wins and chip away at Max Verstappen’s factors benefit.

Lewis Hamilton led the Qatar Grand Prix from begin to end.
(AP)

Hamilton, who additionally received final week in Brazil, has trimmed 17 factors from Verstappen’s lead in the title race in per week. Verstappen nonetheless holds an eight-point lead with two races remaining in one of the dramatic F1 title fights in a minimum of a decade.

“I’m really, really grateful for these points. It’s been a hell of a year,” Hamilton mentioned. “To be at this point in the year and have back-to-back wins is a great feeling.”

The seven-time champion began from pole for Mercedes and was by no means challenged on the Losail International Circuit as Hamilton received his 102nd profession race. It was his seventh victory of the season.

Hamilton beat second-place Max Verstappen by nearly 25 seconds.

Hamilton beat second-place Max Verstappen by almost 25 seconds.
(AP)

Verstappen completed second for Red Bull, almost 25 seconds behind Hamilton.

“It was pretty lonely at the front,” Hamilton mentioned.

Verstappen was hit with a penalty earlier than the race even started when he was dropped 5 spots on the beginning grid for violating a yellow flag in Saturday’s qualifying. The Dutchman had certified second however the stewards ordered him to drop again on the grid following Sunday hearings for Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz.

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All three had been accused of not following yellow flag guidelines close to the tip of qualifying. Bottas, who had certified third, was penalized three beginning sports. Sainz was not penalized.

Red Bull was mystified by the grid penalty for Verstappen, who misplaced any likelihood to problem Hamilton for the win when he was penalized. Red Bull principal Christian Horner criticized the penalty when it was handed down.

Alonso of Spain finished third behind The Netherlands' Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso of Spain completed third behind The Netherlands’ Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
(Hamad I Mohammed – Pool/Getty Images)

“We’re really struggling to understand it,” Horner mentioned. “That’s a crucial blow in this world championship for us.”

Despite the penalty, Verstappen wanted solely 5 laps to recuperate and drive again to the place he was initially slated to begin.

“Our starting position was a bit compromised,” Verstappen mentioned. “I know it’s going to be difficult to the end but I think that’s nice. It keeps it exciting.”

But he mentioned he was prepared for the challenges forward in Saudi Arabia and the finale in Abu Dhabi.

“I feel good,” he mentioned. “It’s going to be tight.”

Hamilton, winner of 4 straight titles, has all of the momentum now. The British driver is in search of a file eighth F1 title, which might transfer him previous Michael Schumacher.

“I’m feeling really good, I’m really, really happy with the car,” Hamilton mentioned. “I feel fitter than ever, so that’s a positive.”

Fernando Alonso of Alpine completed third for his first podium since 2014. He was aided by the pre-race penalties to Verstappen and Bottas, which moved the Spaniard as much as third on the beginning grid.

Sergio Perez completed fourth to assist Red Bull in its push to beat Mercedes for the constructors championship.