Formula 1: Verstappen claims pole in Japan

SUZUKA, JAPAN – APRIL 06: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing (C), Second placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing (L) and Third placed qualifier Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren (R) pose for a photo in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 06, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404060266 // Usage for editorial use only //

For the first time since the 2023 season opener in Bahrain Red Bull have locked out the front row for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, hungry to stamp his dominance after a dismal result in Australia, narrowly beat teammate Sergio Perez to pole by 0.066s at the line in what the world champion described as “not the perfect lap” as he took his fifth consecutive pole position. Lando Norris laid down a flier of a lap to push his McLaren into the 3rd position alongside former teammate Carlos Sainz. Fernando Alonso rounds out the top 5.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from qualifying in Japan as Verstappen pips Perez to pole

Q1 Results:

Saturday’s Q1 session kicked off with a quiet start as only Kevin Magnussen took to the track from the start, but it wasn’t long before teams began to queue in pit lane as they fought to create a gap between one another before getting on track.

Max Verstappen set the pace early in Q1 as drivers did the first few runs on soft tires, lapping Suzuka nearly a half second clear of Perez before Fernando Alonso split the Red Bulls as the field went into a lull. Near the end of the session, the top 8 drivers stayed in the garages as the remainder of the field took to the track.

Nico Hulkenberg pushed his Haas machine into Q2 while teammate Magnussen was unable to improve his time, leaving the Dane in 18th ahead of Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu. Pierre Gasly was unable to push his Alpine – even with upgrades – out of the bottom 5 and Lance Stroll, in a shock result, ended 16th.

Drivers out in Q1:

  • 16th: Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
  • 17th: Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
  • 18th: Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
  • 19th: Logan Sargeant (Williams)
  • 20th: Zhou Guanyu (Kick Sauber)

Q2 Results:

Verstappen and Perez once again set the pace in Q2 as the two Red Bulls fought for position on track as the remainder of the field looked for gaps to set their fast laps. Perez found himself only 0.012s off Verstappen in their initial runs as the track began to rubber in.

While the majority of the field ran new tires, Mercedes opted to send Russell and Hamilton out on a set of used and nearly found themselves in trouble as their session ran down, prompting the duo to make one final run to lock themselves into Q3.

Hulkenberg saw his fastest lap deleted, relegating the Haas driver to 12th on the grid while Yuki Tsunoda continued his stretch of Q3 appearances to push teammate Daniel Ricciardo out of the top 10.

Drivers out in Q2:

  • 11th: Daniel Ricciardo (RB)
  • 12th: Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
  • 13th: Valtteri Bottas (Kick Sauber)
  • 14th: Alex Albon (Williams)
  • 15th: Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

Q3 Results:

Mercedes led the way in the final round of qualifying as Hamilton led Russell to set early lap times, but the time on top would be short as Verstappen soon set a blistering lap time to take provisional pole ahead of Perez. With the majority of the field in the garages, Charles LeClerc took to a quiet track and set a time that would slot the Ferrari driver in 7th, continuing his pace-woes as the Monegasque driver continues searching for the answer to his current struggles.

Perez took to the track at the end of the session and looked on course for pole but came up ever so short as the Mexican driver missed out by 0.066s to his teammate. Lando Norris would prove quick as he took 3rd ahead of Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso. Norris’s teammate Piastri, celebrating his 23rd birthday, would finish 6th ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 7th. Hamilton’s lap pushed the Ferrari of LeClerc into 8th ahead of George Russell and Yuki Tsunoda.

With qualifying complete, the grid is set for the forth round of the 2024 season as the lights go out Sunday, April 7th, at 14:00 local time. Free Practice Reports, Qualifying results, and the full weekend schedule is below.





DateSessionTime (Local Circuit)
Apr. 5thPractice 111:30 – 12:30
Practice 215:00 – 16:00
Apr. 6thPractice 311:30 – 12:30
Qualifying15:00 – 16:00
Apr. 7thRace14:00

Qualifying Results:

11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:28.8661:28.7401:28.19712
211Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:29.3031:28.7521:28.26312
34Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:29.5361:28.9401:28.48913
455Carlos SainzFERRARI1:29.5131:29.0991:28.68212
514Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:29.2541:29.0821:28.68612
681Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES1:29.4251:29.1481:28.76012
744Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:29.6611:28.8871:28.76615
816Charles LeclercFERRARI1:29.3381:29.1961:28.78612
963George RussellMERCEDES1:29.7991:29.1401:29.00815
1022Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT1:29.7751:29.4171:29.41318
113Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT1:29.7271:29.47212
1227Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI1:29.8211:29.49412
1377Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:29.6021:29.59312
1423Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:29.9631:29.7149
1531Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:29.8111:29.81612
1710Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT1:30.1196
1820Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:30.1319
192Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:30.1396
2024Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:30.1436