Max Verstappen emphatically scores his 9th pole position of the season ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, going over 5 tenths faster than Oscar Piastri in 2nd.
It was a qualifying session to forget for Williams’ Logan Sargeant, who had spun his car into the wall at the final turn, bringing out the red flag. As he hadn’t completed a lap, this guaranteed he would start tomorrow’s race from last.
Lance Stroll is back in the car after his scary crash in qualifying last week, though it wasn’t the result he’d have liked to have had as he was only 17th fastest. His teammate hadn’t gone much faster though, with Alonso only 14th and safe by less than a tenth of a second.
Zhou Guanyu felt his final lap had been compromised, believing he had been blocked, as well as having ran into traffic at turn 9, where he had ran wide. He will start tomorrow’s race in 19th.
16. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo +0.073
17. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin +0.205
18. Nico Hulkenberg – Haas +0.323
19. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo +0.422
20. Logan Sargeant – Williams NO TIME
It proved to be a very close fight to avoid elimination in this session, with all those knocked out being within 2 tenths of Alonso in 10th.
Both Mercedes had looked to be in danger of a Q2 knockout in the dying moments, though both Hamilton and Russell were able to pull through and take themselves up to 4th and 7th respectively.
Liam Lawson is doing everything he can to prove that Alpha Tauri made the wrong call in not picking him up for a full time seat next season, having qualified in a strong 11th place. He was however outqualified by his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who made it into Q3 at his home race.
11. Liam Lawson – Alpha Tauri +0.043
12. Pierre Gasly – Alpine +0.044
13. Alex Albon – Williams +0.072
14. Esteban Ocon – Alpine +0.121
15. Kevin Magnussen – Haas +0.200
The end of Q2 saw the top 4 drivers all within 1 tenth of each other, suggesting that there was potentially a close end to qualifying today. Max Verstappen had other ideas, however, dominating Q3 early on with a time over 4 tenths faster than what anyone else could achieve.
Verstappen would then improve his time by over another tenth. Piastri and Norris had tried to close the gap, but neither of their final laps were an improvement over their first runs.
Leclerc beat his teammate in qualifying for the first time since the Belgian Grand Prix, and was close to achieving a front row start, though he was marginally slower than Piastri and Norris, and will start tomorrow in 4th.
This qualifying result is Verstappen’s 9th pole position of the season, and is Piastri’s best ever qualifying in F1, which he will hope he can convert into his first F1 Grand Prix podium.
1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull 1:28.877
2. Oscar Piastri– McLaren +0.581
3. Lando Norris – McLaren +0.616
4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari +0.665
5. Sergio Perez – Red Bull +0.773
6. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari +0.973
7. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes +1.031
8. George Russell – Mercedes +1.342
9. Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri +1.426
10. Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin +1.683