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Qualifying report
Formula 1 Japanese GP

F1 Japanese GP: Verstappen takes pole in Red Bull front row lockout

Max Verstappen beat his Red Bull Formula 1 team-mate Sergio Perez by just 0.066-seconds to top qualifying at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, with Lando Norris third for McLaren.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

The Red Bull drivers were amongst just a handful of drivers to gain time on the second runs in Q3, where Ferrari’s challenge failed to materialise and the Mercedes drivers ended up behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

Verstappen led the way on a 1m28.240s on the first Q3 fliers, where Norris was his closest challenger after producing a then session-best opening sector.

But he could not replicate that on the second attempts, where Perez, leading Verstappen on the track, snuck ahead of the McLaren, while the world champion in the other RB20 blitzed to a pole-securing 1m28.197s – largely thanks to a blistering first sector.

Behind the top three came Carlos Sainz for Ferrari, ahead of Alonso and Oscar Piastri in the other McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton looked to be getting close to Red Bull with his pace late in Q2 but faded to just seventh for Mercedes, with Charles Leclerc taking eighth.

The second Ferrari driver had a unique Q3 in producing just a sole flier ahead of the rest going for a second attempt, as he had to use a second set of tyres to escape Q1 earlier in qualifying.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Leclerc ended up over half a second down on Verstappen’s time, but did edge George Russell and home hero Yuki Tsunoda.

In Q2, Tsunoda’s improvement on his second go in the middle segment knocked out his RB team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, to the delight of the home crowd.

Nico Hulkenberg ended up 12th for Haas having lost his first Q2 run to going too wide between the two parts of Spoon Curve, with Valtteri Bottas ultimately out in 13th after sitting 10th following the first attempts.

Alex Albon only completed one run in Q2 for Williams at the end of the segment and took 14th ahead of Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, who escaped Q1 for the second race in a row.

In the opening segment, running offset ahead of the rest for the final runs boosted Albon to progressing in 15th, while Bottas’s last-gasp improvement knocked Lance Stroll out of Q1 in 16th when Alonso was second at that stage.

Behind came Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, who matched Leclerc in the first sector on their last laps in Q1 – the Ferrari driver having to burn an extra set of new softs after initially ending up in the congested mid-pack after a poor opening sector on his Q1 first run – Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, Logan Sargeant (Williams) and Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu.

Albon, Russell and Piastri face post-qualifying investigations – Albon for possibly going too slowly at one stage late in Q1, with the latter pair for an incident when Russell’s car was released into Piastri’s path when they exited the pits at the start of the session.

F1 Japanese GP - Qualifying results

   
1
 - 
3
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull

1'28.197

237.028
2 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.066

1'28.263

236.851
3 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes

+0.292

1'28.489

236.246
4 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.485

1'28.682

235.732
5 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes

+0.489

1'28.686

235.721
6 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes

+0.563

1'28.760

235.525
7 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.569

1'28.766

235.509
8 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.589

1'28.786

235.456
9 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.811

1'29.008

234.868
10 Japan Y. Tsunoda RB 22 RB Red Bull

+1.216

1'29.413

233.804
11 Australia D. Ricciardo RB 3 RB Red Bull

+1.275

1'29.472

233.650
12 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari

+1.297

1'29.494

233.593
13 Finland V. Bottas Sauber 77 Sauber Ferrari

+1.396

1'29.593

233.335
14 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes

+1.517

1'29.714

233.020
15 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault

+1.619

1'29.816

232.755
16 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes

+1.827

1'30.024

232.218
17 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault

+1.922

1'30.119

231.973
18 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari

+1.934

1'30.131

231.942
19 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes

+1.942

1'30.139

231.921
20 China Z. Guanyu Sauber 24 Sauber Ferrari

+1.946

1'30.143

231.911

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