Max Verstappen takes Japanese GP pole


Verstappen will start ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz after the one-hour qualifying session, which is split into three segments with five cars each being knocked out in Q1 and Q2 before the top-10 shootout of Q3.

However, Verstappen is under investigation by stewards for a near miss on his out-lap with McLaren’s Lando Norris in Q3.

UPDATE: Verstappen was reprimanded by stewards for the incident.

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Japanese Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen on pole from Leclerc

What happened in Japanese Grand Prix Q1?

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez set the early bar at 1m30.622s, which was soon beaten by Verstappen’s 1m30.224s. Sainz got to within 0.112s for P2, with Leclerc in third, 0.178s off the pace.

Falling at the first hurdle were Alex Albon (Williams), a brake-troubled Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams).

Japanese Grand Prix Q1 results: Verstappen fastest from Sainz

What happened in Japanese Grand Prix Q2?

Sainz set the early pace at 1m30.444s on used tires, 0.042s faster than Leclerc. Verstappen then usurped them both with 1m30.346s.

Perez ran again on new tires and went fastest on 1m29.925s, four tenths clear of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.

Knocked out at this point were Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) and Mick Schumacher (Haas).

Japanese Grand Prix Q2 results: Perez fastest from Alonso

What happened in Japanese Grand Prix Q3?

On the first runs, Leclerc set the bar at 1m29.557s but Verstappen cleared it with 1m29.304s – although he had a run-in with Norris on their out-laps exiting 130R. Stewards will investigate the near miss after the session.

Sainz was third fastest, four tenths off the pace, with Perez in fourth.

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On the final runs, Leclerc improved to 1m29.314s – but missed pole by 0.01s. Sainz also improved to 0.057s of Verstappen, who didn’t improve on his final run and damaged his car on the kerbs at the exit of Turn 2.

Perez will start fourth, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, Alonso, George Russell (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) and Norris.

Japanese Grand Prix Q3 results: Verstappen takes pole

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