Verstappen leads dominant Red Bull 1-2 with Japanese Grand Prix win

Verstappen leads dominant Red Bull 1-2 with Japanese Grand Prix  win

Max Verstappen led a dominant Red Bull 1-2 at the Japanese Grand Prix, beating team-mate Sergio Pérez as Carlos Sainz finished third in a race that was red flagged for a crash involving Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon. 

 

At the start of the race Verstappen got away well to take the lead ahead of Pérez and McLaren’s Lando Norris. However, further back there was contact. On the run to Turn 3, RB’s Daniel Ricciardo, hemmed in and focused on Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll to his left, drifted to the right as he prepared to turn in. He failed to see Alex Albon coming on his right and the pair collided. Both went spinning into the barriers and while the drivers were unhurt the tyre barriers required substantial repairs. The red flags therefore came out. 

 

After a near 30-minute halt, the cars left the pit lane for a standing start, with Verstappen and Pérez again on the front row ahead of Norris, Sainz and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. And when the lights went out for a second time, the Red Bull duo again took up residence at the head of the field.

 

With Suzuka basking in strong sunshine, tyre degradation was an issue and the Medium-tyre runners at the front of the pack soon began to struggle. On lap 12, Norris was the first of the leaders to pit, switching to Hard tyres and dropping to P10. He was followed a lap later by McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri and then by Alonso. Norris quickly put in the fastest lap of the race as his new Hard tyres began to come alive and when Pérez pitted, the strong undercut meant that Norris jumped ahead of both Sainz and Pérez. 

 

Verstappen made his first stop on lap 17 and after switching to Mediums, he rejoined in P2, behind Charles Leclerc who was still on starting Mediums. The champion was soon chasing down the Ferrari driver, and at the start of lap 21 he breezed past to regain the lead.

 

Behind him, Pérez was chasing down Norris and on lap 22 he closed right up to the Briton through 130R before diving down the inside into the chicane to take P3 behind Leclerc who was now visibly struggling. Pérez began applying pressure and on lap 26 Leclerc went wide in Turn 9, allowing Pérez to sweep past. That was enough for Lecerc who headed for the pits to make his first stop, along with Norris who was making another early stop. Both switched to Hard tyres for the race to the flag. 

 

Pérez made his final pit stop at the end of lap 33, switching to Hard tyres in a swift 2.1s halt. He rejoined in fifth place, just half a second behind Norris. There was no stopping the Mexican, however, and at the start of lap 35 he powered past the McLaren on the approach to Turn 1. 

 

In the meantime, Verstappen made his final visit to the pit lane, and after taking on a set of Hard tyres he emerged in P2, behind Sainz who was beginning to struggle on his medium tyres. The Spaniard gave up the fight at the end of lap 36 and when he switched to a final set of Hard tyres, Verstappen retook the lead. Behind him, Pérez picked off the one-stopping Leclerc to move back to P2 a little over seven seconds behind his team-mate. 

 

With 10 laps left the Red Bull drivers were in control, with Verstappen 11 seconds ahead of his team-mate, who was 9.6s ahead of Leclerc. Sainz was on the move, however. After passing Norris at the start of the lap he began to quickly close in on Leclerc and at the start of lap 46 he swept past his Ferrari team-mate under DRS on the run to Turn 1 to grab a podium finish. 

 

And that sealed the order at the top. Verstappen managed his pace and at the end of lap 53 eased to his third win of the season and to a hat-trick of wins at Suzuka. Twelve seconds later Checo crossed the line to take his 38th podium finish and to seal another dominant 1-2 for the Team. 

 

Behind the Bulls, Sainz held on to third ahead of Leclerc, while Norris finished fifth for McLaren ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. George Russell finished seventh, though the Mercedes driver was placed under investigation for appearing to force the eighth-placed McLaren of Oscar Piastri off the track on his way through. Lewis Hamilton was ninth in the second Mercedes and the final point was taken by RB’s home hero Yuki Tsunoda. 

 

2024 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix – Race 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing  53 1:54'23.566 
2 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 53 1:54'36.101 12.535
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 53 1:54'44.432 20.866
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 53 1:54'50.088 26.522
5 Lando Norris McLaren 53 1:54'53.266 29.700
6 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 53 1:55'07.838 44.272
7 George Russell Mercedes 53 1:55'09.517 45.951
8 Oscar Piastri McLaren 53 1:55'11.091 47.525
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1:55'12.192 48.626
10 Yuki Tsunoda RB 52 1:54'25.168 1 lap /1.602
11 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 52 1:54'30.734 1 lap /7.168
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 52 1:54'34.799 1 lap /11.233
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 52 1:54'41.485 1 lap /17.919
14 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 52 1:54'42.459 1 lap /18.893
15 Esteban Ocon Alpine 52 1:55'04.718 1 lap /41.152
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine 52 1:55'18.632 1 lap /55.066
17 Logan Sargeant Williams 52 1:55'36.331 1 lap /1'12.765
     Zhou Guanyu Sauber 12 49'29.022 Gearbox
     Daniel Ricciardo RB 0 – Accident
     Alexander Albon Williams 0 - Accident

  


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