F1 Qatar Grand Prix LIVE: FP2 now underway, Verstappen faster than Hamilton in FP1 – results, stream, latest updates

MAX VERSTAPPEN and Lewis Hamilton are continuing their epic title tussle in Qatar this weekend.

After the Mercedes star stormed back to win in style last week in Brazil, the season now heads to the desert and the Losail Circuit.

Get set for three days of high-octane racing, starting with practice today where Verstappen has already shown his speed by going fastest in FP1.

  • UK start time: FP2 from 2pm
  • TV/Live stream: Sky Sports F1/NOW TV

Follow all the latest with our live blog from Qatar below…

  • Justin Lawrence

    SLOW MAX

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen finishes lap 0.4 seconds down on Valtteri Bottas.

    That 1:23.579, which leaves him fourth, isn't much quicker than what he managed on the medium tyres.

  • Justin Lawrence

    PEREZ TROUBLE

    Sergio Perez was going for a hot lap, but encountered traffic around the Turns 4-5 double right complex.

    Slow-mo shots of Perez on the pit straight show the top edge of his rear wing flapping to an alarming degree.

  • Justin Lawrence

    MAX SPEED

    Valtteri Bottas only went a half-second faster than Max Verstappen on the soft tyre.

  • Justin Lawrence

    BOT SPOT

    Valtteri Bottas is the first on-track and lowers his existing benchmark at the top of the timesheet.

    Lewis Hamilton only makes a small improvement himself and stays second.

  • Justin Lawrence

    TOP OFF

    Ferrari had the engine cover off Charles Leclerc's car. They seem to have fixed the problem and he looks set to resume.

  • Justin Lawrence

    NEW VISOR

  • Ben Hunt

    PROBLEM FOR HAMILTON?

    Strange. He is out of his Merc. There could yet be another big development here in Doha.

  • Ben Hunt

    FP2 IS GO – GREEN LIGHT IN QATAR

    Second session is underway here. Verstappen topped FP1 and remember, has been told he will not face any further retrospective action from his defence to Hamilton in Brazil.

  • Justin Lawrence

    NO MOVEMENT

    Lewis Hamilton has slammed the press for suggesting his steering wheel moved in the Brazil GP.

    When asked about his steering column's alleged movement, Hamilton said: "My steering column doesn’t move forwards and backwards.

    “We had that last year, we don’t have it now. On Saturday there was a little bit of play in it, less than a millimetre probably, that I don’t like so they had to change the column and (then) there was no play.

    “So I’m not really sure what you’re watching.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    MAX LET OFF 

    Mercedes have had their request to review Max Verstappen's move on Lewis Hamilton DENIED by Formula One stewards.

    The incident occurred on lap 48 of the Brazil GP as Verstappen cut in front of Hamilton, forcing both men off the track.

    The Brit ultimately went on to win the race and cut Verstappen's lead in the driver standings to just 14 points.

    But Mercedes still pressed for F1 stewards to review the footage with Verstappen possibly facing a penalty.

    After FOUR days of deliberation the request has been denied and Verstappen has escaped without punishment.

    New footage had emerged from Verstappen's on-board camera, but that has been deemed 'relevant' but not 'significant' by the FIA.

  • Justin Lawrence

    NOT FAIR

    Ralf Schumacher has questioned Mercedes engine change and thinks they shouldn't have been allowed to do so mid-season.

    According to Ralf, engines should only be changed when needed, not because of wear and tear which was the case for Mercedes.

    He told Sky: "Mercedes only changed it because it was showing too much wear from the previous races. It wasn't broken," the German insists.

    "But that's not the point of Formula 1. I find it a bit questionable.

    "In my opinion, an engine should only be changed when it has to be. And if Mercedes has more wear and tear and less performance than the others, that's their problem.

    "You shouldn't be able to take advantage like this."

  • Justin Lawrence

    LEW ARE BRILLIANT

    Lewis Hamilton has been praised by fans for wearing a rainbow helmet at the Qatar Grand Prix in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

    Homosexuality is criminalised in Qatar, where this weekend's crucial race takes place.

    During today's practice, Hamilton donned a rainbow-coloured helmet, in solidarity with those that are persecuted simply for their sexuality in the gulf state.

    The back of the helmet featured the message: "We stand together."

    Fans were impressed with the 36-year-old's gesture.

    One wrote on social media: "WAIT is Hamilton wearing a pride flag on his helmet this weekend in f***ing QATAR? I love this man."

    A second added: "Big balls move, like it."

    And another commented: "I may not be a fan of him but I can f***ing respect that."

  • Ben Hunt

    FP1 IS DONE – VERSTAPPEN LEADS THE WAY

    The Red Bull man draws first blood in his battle for the title.

    Pierre Gasly is second, Valtteri Bottas is third. Lewis Hamilton in fourth.

  • Ben Hunt

    HAMILTON IS NOW OUT ON TRACK

    But his late run is going to be scuppered as Mick Schumacher goes into the gravel.

    His Haas picks up a lot of stones and while he is running again, he is dropping them all over the track. What a mess.

  • Ben Hunt

    INTERESTING SCENES IN THE MERC GARAGE

    Some work being done on Hamilton's car and the team have formed a human shield around his car to prevent the TV cameras from showing what they are working on.

    Let the games begin!

  • Ben Hunt

    HALFWAY STAGE

    It is Verstappen, Bottas and Hamilton…

    Game on.

  • Ben Hunt

    TYRE TESTING

    So with the early runs completed and every driver well in to double figures for laps, Pirelli report that all the compounds have been used.

    Why is that relevant? Teams, including Pirelli, have limited amount of information on how their tyres work on this circuit, which is predominately used for MotoGP.

    The teams will use all the data gathered to build detailed simulations and software models to work out how long each tyre will take to heat up, and how long it will last in these conditions.

  • Ben Hunt

    VERSTAPPEN SETS THE EARLY BENCHMARK

    The Dutchman sits at the top of the timesheets after 25 minutes, as the drivers getused to the track.

    Hamilton is in P4.

  • Ben Hunt

    MORE IMAGES OF LEWIS'S LID

    Special helmet in Qatar with the message "we stand together" on the back.

  • Ben Hunt

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THIS TRACK?

    Well, it's pretty flat. And boring, as circuits go, this is not a patch on Silverstone, Spa, Interlagos or Monza.

  • Ben Hunt

    PROBLEMS FOR HAMILTON

    The defending champion says he is "massively down on power" as sets a time that is only 14th quickest.

    All eyes on Mercedes at the moment, especially with that rear wing, which failed scrutineering in Brazil, triggering his disqualification from qualifying.

  • Ben Hunt

    SPECIAL HELMET FOR HAMILTON

    The world champion has a special crash helmet design this weekend, featuring a rainbow design.

    He spoke eloquently yesterday about F1 doing more to promote social issues in the Middle East.

  • Ben Hunt

    GREEN LIGHT

    The pitlane is open and practice for the Qatar GP is under way. Could be a busy session as teams have not run this circuit yet.

  • Justin Lawrence

     QATAR PRACTICE

    First practice for the Qatar GP is about to get underway.

    With this being the Losail International Circuit's debut as a venue for F1, today’s practice sessions will be the first chance for the drivers to familiarise themselves with the track ahead of this weekend's race.

  • Justin Lawrence

    TOO AGGRESSIVE

    Max Verstappen's former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo reckons the Dutchman went too far by forcing Lewis Hamilton off-track in the Brazil GP.

    The racing world waits to see if Verstappen will be punished for his actions that saw both him and Hamilton veer off track.

    Ricciardo says Verstappen has always been an aggressive driver, but this time he may have went over the line.

    He said: "Well, it was certainly tough, it was tight, to state the obvious. Obviously both cars went off track.

    "Being his [former] team-mate, I don't know if I have any more knowledge than from anyone watching from the outside.

    "Team-mate or not, we know Max, the calibre of driver he is, how he races. He's always come in with an aggressive approach.

    "But I think he has certainly matured over time, and he certainly finds himself in fewer incidents or accidents, as he was in the first year or so in F1.

    "I think he's definitely polished up that aggression but he still has it."

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