Max Verstappen restores order with pole for Japanese Grand Prix

Championship leader Max Verstappen restores order ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix by claiming pole for Sunday’s race at Suzuka.

Max Verstappen has put himself in prime position to extend his Championship lead by securing pole for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was well off the pace in Singapore last week, only securing fifth spot, but he was back to his dominant best at Suzuka on Saturday.

Verstappen finished almost six tenths of a second ahead of the nearest challenger in Q3, putting him on the front row alongside McLaren‘s Oscar Piastri.

His teammate Lando Norris narrowly missed out on second place by just 0.035 seconds, with the British driver having to settle for third ahead of Charles Leclerc.

Sergio Perez qualified in fifth in the second Red Bull, but the Singapore Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz Jr was only sixth fastest in qualifying.

Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were a disappointing seventh and eighth place respectively, more than a second slower than Verstappen.

Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri – on a day when his seat was confirmed for 2024 – and Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin completed the top 10.

Liam Lawson – a stand-in for the injured Daniel Ricciardo – has missed out on a permanent role with AlphaTauri next season, yet he impressed again by being 11th fastest.

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