UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
Max Verstappen was quick to leave the Singapore disappointment behind, and looks ready to reset his winning streak. The Dutchman was once again dominating in qualifying, securing pole position for the Japanese GP by over half a second from Oscar Piastri.
F1 Japanese GP qualifying: Who will be on pole?
Max Verstappen will be on pole for the Japanese GP. The reigning two-time champion beat Oscar Piastri by 0.581s, making it the largest pole margin at Suzuka in nearly two decades. Piastri secured his maiden front row start, edging out teammate Lando Norris by 0.038s. Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez completed the top 5, while Singapore winner Carlos Sainz Jr. was sixth.
Q1: Verstappen tops red-flagged session
There were no major surprises at the start of Q1. Verstappen quickly got himself to the front of the pack, setting a 1:29.878. Teammate Sergio Perez slotted into second place, but a distant 0.774s off. In a repeat of FP3, McLaren moved to second and third, with Norris leading Piastri and just over a tenth off Verstappen’s time.
Halfway through the session, Logan Sargeant tried to catch a snap of oversteer out of the Casio Triangle, but instead ended up going off the road and crashing hard into turn 18 to trigger a red flag.
The session resumed after a 10-minute stoppage, with all drivers going out for a second attempt. Ferrari, which had sat in the pits through the first half, had little trouble securing two transfer spots, with Leclerc third and Sainz fifth.
With the clock already down to zero, Alexander Albon, who had yet to set a laptime, jumped to 12th, pipping Valtteri Bottas for the final transfer spot. Lance Stroll was also eliminated in Q1 for the second weekend in a row, as the Canadian could only manage 17th. Joining the pair were Nico Hulkenberg, Zhou Guanyu and Sargeant.
Q2: Leclerc leads, Alonso squeezes through, Tsunoda advances
Verstappen was the first driver to head out on track in Q2, laying down a 1:29.964 on used softs. His time would remain unchallenged right until the end of the session, when Leclerc managed to beat it by just 0.024s to lead the second part of qualifying.
As usual, the final minute saw plenty of action in the timesheet. Rookie Liam Lawson briefly jumped to 10th place, in hopes of a second consecutive Q3 appearance. But George Russell, who was down in 14th, denied the transfer spot, jumping up to eighth place.
Alonso, who had made it to Q3 in all previous 15 weekends, just got through with 10th place, 0.046s up on Lawson’s time.
But the story of the session was Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese driver, who had not made it to Q3 since Monaco, advanced with a respectable seventh place, much to the home crowd’s delight.
Joining Lawson in the elimination zone were Alpine duo Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, as well as Alexander Albon and Kevin Magnussen.
Q3: Verstappen scores another dominant pole
Verstappen was, again, the first driver to set a lap in Q3. And the Dutchman was quick to send a message to the competition. On new tyres, the Dutchman lit up the timing screen with a 1:29.012s, easily setting the fastest lap of the weekend. McLaren, in a repeat of FP3, was the closest competition, but still 0.4s down on the Dutchman. Piastri narrowly edged Norris for second.
With an extra set of fresh softs remaining, Verstappen went out for a second run. The two-time champion beat his previous attempt by over a tenth, setting a 1:28.877s to secure pole by over half a second from Piastri. Norris, Leclerc, Perez, Sainz Hamilton, Russell, Tsunoda and Alonso rounded out the top 10.
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!