Verstappen takes pole position in Japanese GP 2023


Verstappen takes pole position in Japanese GP 2023

Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team brushed off a challenging weekend in Singapore by storming to pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, getting the better of McLaren pair Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris during Saturday’s qualifying session at Suzuka.

Verstappen clocked a time of 1m 29.012s in the early minutes of Q3 and improved to a 1m 28.877s on his second run, a dominant performance that put him more than half a second clear of Piastri and Norris – who could not better their initial times – as the chequered flag dropped.

Charles Leclerc pipped the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez to fourth position, with team mate Carlos Sainz rounding out the top six positions, the two Ferrari drivers only completing one lap apiece in the pole shootout after using up more soft tyres earlier on.

After their tricky first day of practice, Mercedes had to settle for seventh and eighth in qualifying, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton ahead of George Russell, who was another to be limited to just one attempt in Q3.

Home favourite Yuki Tsunoda, fresh from being announced at AlphaTauri alongside Daniel Ricciardo for the 2024 season, put in a fine run to ninth position, with Fernando Alonso the last of the Q3 runners and landing 10th on the grid.

Max Verstappen Wins
Max Verstappen Wins

F1 newcomer Liam Lawson came agonisingly close to a Q3 berth but had to settle for 11th position, followed by the Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, who were split by Alex Albon’s Williams, and the lead Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

Alfa Romeo lost both cars at the Q1 hurdle, with Valtteri Bottas just missing the cut in 16th position and Zhou Guanyu placing 19th, the Chinese racer having been seen running wildly wide and losing his final lap for exceeding track limits, while also reporting traffic.

Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg followed in the other Aston Martin and Haas machines, with Williams rookie Logan Sargeant bringing up the rear behind the aforementioned Zhou after crashing out of proceedings midway through the opening phase.

Sargeant entered the weekend with more questions being asked about his F1 future and, having vowed to cut out mistakes, he dramatically lost control of his Williams at the final corner, took a trip through the gravel and slammed into the barriers, bringing out a red flag.

There could yet be a twist in the tale before Sunday’s race, however, with Leclerc, Zhou and Bottas all under investigation post-session for allegedly failing to follow the Race Director’s instructions regarding maximum lap time.


1 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:30.267 12
2 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:30.507 +0.240s 16
3 81 Oscar Piastri MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:30.555 +0.288s 15
4 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:31.004 +0.737s 12
5 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:31.022 +0.755s 20
6 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:31.137 +0.870s 20
7 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:31.159 +0.892s 13
8 63 George Russell MERCEDES 1:31.505 +1.238s 9
9 14 Fernando Alonso ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:31.549 +1.282s 16
10 24 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:31.668 +1.401s 15
11 77 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:31.699 +1.432s 15
12 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:31.880 +1.613s 16
13 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1:31.924 +1.657s 13
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:31.951 +1.684s 18
15 27 Nico Hulkenberg HAAS FERRARI 1:31.979 +1.712s 13
16 2 Logan Sargeant WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:32.002 +1.735s 13
17 40 Liam Lawson ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:32.048 +1.781s 18
18 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:32.113 +1.846s 12
19 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:32.154 +1.887s 19
20 10 Pierre Gasly ALPINE RENAULT 1:32.199 +1.932s 15

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