Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position for the Qatar Grand Prix to build on the momentum he generated after victory in Sao Paulo.
The seven-times world champion has a 14-point difference to make up on Max Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship standings and will now stand a good chance of closing that gap further in Sunday’s race.
At the Losail Circuit for the first time in Formula 1 history, Hamilton’s Q3 time was 0.4 seconds faster than that of Verstappen making it the biggest pole lead in qualifying this season.
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Verstappen, whose final lap was impeded by Pierre Gasly who picked up a puncture, will start on the front row alongside Hamilton while Valtteri Bottas, who started the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on pole, clinched P3.
Gasly still managed to qualify fourth ahead of Fernando Alonso despite a puncture with Lando Norris in P5 and former McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz in P6 for Ferrari.
Hamilton is aiming to win his second straight race after breathing new life into his title defence with a sensational victory at Interlagos last week which saw him go from 20th before sprint qualifying to first.
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