Lewis Hamilton stormed to a dominant seventh victory of the season ahead of F1 title rival Max Verstappen to reduce the gap at the top to just eight points. 

For only the second time in 2021, Hamilton claimed back-to-back wins in Brazil and Qatar to get his pursuit of an eighth world title back on track.

Speaking after the race, Mercedes’ head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin said that “nothing explains” why Hamilton was so far ahead of the competition at the Losail International Circuit.

“The margin, yes,” Shovlin replied when asked if he was surprised by the W12’s dominance in Qatar. “We thought we’d be good here, but this was the track that of the three that remained as we came in here the one we were perhaps most concerned about. 

“From Saturday morning though it looked like Lewis had it all under control but it’s very difficult to predict whether the margin’s going to be one-tenth, two tenths, which is still pretty handsome margin, we never thought it would be the amount it was but it all came in that final run, for him turn 1 was good and he said from there it just kind of flowed. 

“But he’s really in the zone at the moment and we can do all our simulations but nothing explains why he was that far ahead, ahead of Max, it’s fundamentally just down to him really sort of digging deep and doing what needs to be done.”

Shovlin heaped praise on Hamilton for his sensational recovery at Interlagos, winning from 10th on the grid after a disqualification in qualifying put him at the back for the sprint.

“I think Brazil was the best race I’ve ever seen him race, qualifying that lap was unbelievable when you think how close Red Bull have been to us, today he had the race under control start to finish so he actually didn’t have to work as hard as we thought we might have had to,” Shovlin added. 

“But Lewis knows what needs to be done to win these championships, the team knows what needs to be done, and we’re all just getting on and doing it. But having him in the car is just a huge boost to our confidence.”