2023 F1 Japanese GP results: Max Verstappen wins

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix, the 16th round of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship.

The Safety Car Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, the rest of the field

Verstappen’s lead was challenged on the run to the first corner by the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri but he clung on to his advantage and dominated from there.

Piastri got ahead of Norris when he benefited from a virtual safety car while in the pits, but Norris was faster in the middle stages of the race, so McLaren swapped their positions.

MercedesGeorge Russell looked to be a threat to McLaren’s 2-3, due to gambling on a one-stop strategy, but was passed in the late stages by Piastri, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).

2023 F1 Japanese Grand Prix results

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Laps   Gap 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 53 -
4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 53 -19.387
81 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 53 -36.494
16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 53 -43.998
44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 -49.376
55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 53 -50.221
63 George Russell Mercedes 53 -57.659
14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 53 -1'14.725
31 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 53 -1'19.678
10  10 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 53 -1'23.155
11  40 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT 52 -
12  22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT 52 -
13  24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 52 -
14  27 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 52 -
15  20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 52 -
23 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 26 -
2 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 22 -
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 20 -
11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 15 -
77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 7 -

How the 2023 F1 Japanese Grand Prix unfolded

Polesitter Verstappen, who started on mediums like most of the top 10, was almost beaten to the first corner by the fast-starting McLarens of Piastri and Norris, the latter sweeping through to second ahead of his team-mate.

The safety car was required almost immediately, as a clash between Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Alex Albon (Williams) before the first turn left debris strewn all over the track, which also damaged Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) also touched in a four-wide moment with the Ferraris, which caused Perez to pit for a new front wing.

Leclerc held fourth from Sainz, with soft-shod Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) getting ahead of Hamilton – who had sustained slight damage – and Russell (Mercedes).

A lap after the restart, Russell and Hamilton swapped places at the chicane and Turn 1, while Bottas was punted into a spin at the hairpin by the other Williams of Logan Sargeant.

Alonso pitted on lap 12, switching from softs to hards, while Perez’s recovery drive – which already included a 5s penalty for a safety car infringement – ended soon after he smashed into Kevin Magnussen’s Haas at the hairpin.

Piastri pitted from third on lap 14, just as a brief virtual safety car was required to allow track cleaning.

Under green, Verstappen pitted on lap 17 for more mediums, as Norris stayed out to lead for a lap from the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz. Norris and Leclerc stopped a lap later, with Norris falling back behind Piastri due to the Australian’s VSC pitstop advantage.

Sainz led for a lap before pitting, and then Russell inherited the lead for half a lap before Verstappen regained top spot at the hairpin. Sainz passed Alonso at Spoon, and Hamilton overtook the struggling Alonso with a brave move at 130R.

Russell was the last of the frontrunners to stop on lap 25, going for a one-stop strategy, dropping to ninth. Verstappen was 11s clear of Piastri by half distance, with Norris – who set fastest lap at this point despite running hards – running right behind his team-mate.

McLaren swapped the cars over on lap 27, although it appeared to take a lap for Piastri to comply, much to Norris’s chagrin.

Leclerc and Hamilton pitted again on lap 35, with Piastri stopping a lap later and Norris the tour after that. Verstappen made his final stop on lap 38, setting fastest lap to lead by over 15s from Norris, with Sainz stopping with 15 laps to go.

The fresher-tyred Piastri grabbed third from Russell around the outside of Turn 1 on lap 42, and Leclerc did likewise a couple of laps later to take fourth.

Hamilton and Sainz caught Russell with five laps to go, with Russell being ordered to give up fifth to Hamilton. Sainz passed Russell a lap later for sixth.

Verstappen won by 19s from Norris, Piastri, Leclerc, Hamilton, Sainz and Russell, which wrapped up the constructors’ championship for Red Bull.

2023 F1 Japanese Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Km/h 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1'34.183   221.963
4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1'35.247 1.064 219.484
44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1'35.611 1.428 218.648
55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1'36.187 2.004 217.339
81 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1'36.328 2.145 217.021
16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1'36.362 2.179 216.944
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1'36.371 2.188 216.924
14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1'37.203 3.020 215.067
27 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1'37.250 3.067 214.963
10  31 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1'37.398 3.215 214.636
11  63 George Russell Mercedes 1'37.653 3.470 214.076
12  22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT 1'37.768 3.585 213.824
13  24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1'37.791 3.608 213.774
14  20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1'37.842 3.659 213.662
15  40 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT 1'38.267 4.084 212.738
16  2 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1'38.848 4.665 211.488
17  18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1'39.050 4.867 211.057
18  23 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1'39.185 5.002 210.769
19  11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1'39.704 5.521 209.672
20  77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 2'02.755 28.572 170.300
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