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Formula 1 Japanese GP

F1 Japanese GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP3 & Qualifying

Saturday's action from the 16th round of the 2023 Formula 1 season

Max Verstappen was utterly dominant on Friday at Suzuka, topping both sessions as Red Bull hunts its sixth constructors' title.

Behind the Dutchman, there was little to separate Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, while Mercedes has yet to show its Singapore pace that had the team in race-winning contention just one week ago.

With AlphaTauri confirming its 2024 driver line-up on Saturday morning and Liam Lawson confirmed back in a reserve role, the New Zealander may feel he has a point to prove in Japan.

Japanese GP final practice starts at 3:30am BST, followed by qualifying at 7:00am BST.

By: Haydn Cobb, Sam Hall

Summary
  • Verstappen stormed to pole position by nearly six tenths of a second from Piastri and Norris
  • Drivers knocked out in Q2: Lawson, Gasly, Albon, Ocon and Magnussen
  • Eliminated in Q1: Bottas, Stroll, Hulkenberg, Zhou and Sargeant
  • Q1 red-flagged after Sargeant crashed at the final corner
Leaderboard
  1. Verstappen
  2. Piastri
  3. Norris
  4. Leclerc
  5. Perez
  6. Sainz
  7. Hamilton
  8. Russell
  9. Tsunoda
  10. Alonso
Status: Stopped
Cheers all and have a lovely rest of your Saturday, go well!
But the points are handed out on Sunday, so nothing is decided yet. With that, we'll call time on this live coverage of Japanese GP qualifying. We'll be back tomorrow for the race which starts at 6am BST - never fear, we'll have all the pre-race build-up and news ahead of lights out.
The home crowd will be pleased with Tsunoda taking ninth, putting him as best of the rest behind Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes. While Aston Martin's recent dip continues with Alonso 10th and Stroll 17th.
Here's the full report in Japanese GP qualifying: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-japanese-gp-qualifying-report/10524039/
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

So, Verstappen on pole by 0.581s which tells you all you need to know about his dominance so far this weekend. But a small shoutout to Piastri, who trailed Norris throughout practice but turned the tables in Q3 by 0.035s to take second.
Norris on qualifying third: "A great job by Oscar and Max today, but a good day for us [McLaren] in P2 and P3. It is tricky to put everything together around the lap and the smallest mistake can cost a lot of lap time. It is still a good day and I am happy."
Piastri on his first F1 grand prix front row start: "It will be cool, there is only one car ahead to overtake so I will try to make it happen."
Piastri on second in qualifying: "The first lap was pretty solid, I could have done a better job in the chicane, but then on my second lap my first sector was good and the next two sectors were not so good. But still happy to be second, and the team second and third."
Verstappen on his pole position: "An incredible weekend so far and especially in qualifying when you can really push it to the limit, it felt really, really nice. We had a bad weekend in Singapore but from our preparation we felt this was going to be a good track for us."
That is Verstappen's ninth pole of the season but his first since the Dutch GP and ends Ferrari's brief run of top spot in qualifying. Piastri secures the best qualifying result of his F1 career in second, beating his team-mate too.
Q3 order: Verstappen, Piastri, Norris, Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, Hamilton, Russell, Tsunoda, Alonso.
As expected, Verstappen takes pole for the 2023 F1 Japanese GP! He takes pole by over half a second. Incredible.
Neither of the McLarens can improve on their final goes, while Perez splits the Ferraris to go fifth.
Leclerc goes fourth fastest, with Ferrari team-mate Sainz slotting into fifth just behind.
Verstappen improves on his final lap with a 1m28.877s! Wow.
Into the final three minutes of qualifying and the final runs are being prepared. Verstappen looks safe for pole but how will the rest of the order shuffle out?
Russell's only effort puts him fourth with a 1m30.219s, while Alonso goes sixth, three tenths slower than the Brit.
Russell, Alonso and the Ferrari pair are going for the one and done approach so they don't have lap times to their names just yet.
Behind the top three, all on used tyres remember, Perez went fourth fastest but a whole second slower than Norris which means the used tyres are pretty much useless in this session.
Piastri is Verstappen's nearest challenger as he goes second, 0.446s off, with Norris in third fractionally behind. So, Verstappen has almost half a second on the rest. May as well give him pole now.
Verstappen posts a 1m29.012s which is over eight-tenths faster than he'd gone earlier in qualifying!
Verstappen cranks up his Red Bull to full beans mode as he attacks his first Q3 lap. Opening lap times coming up.
Verstappen, again, leads out the first takers to the track followed by Perez, Hamilton, Piastri, Tsunoda and Norris.
So, Verstappen made it through on those old tyres in Q2 which means he has two sets of softs for Q3. Only the McLarens join him with two fresh sets of softs for this session.
The top 10 shootout will start in five minutes. Who is your money on for pole?
Joy and frustration at AlphaTauri as home hero Tsunoda makes it into Q3 in seventh, while Lawson misses out by 0.043s in 11th.
The improvements saw Russell dip into the drop zone, but he improves to push Lawson into 11th. Out in Q2: Lawson, Gasly, Albon, Ocon and Magnussen.