Race winner Max Verstappen

Formula 1 News: Verstappen wins 3rd straight Japanese GP

In front of a record sun-drenched crowd at Suzuka, Max Verstappen beat Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to win the 2024 Japanese GP Formula 1 race.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

The win at Suzuka was the defending World Champion’s third straight Japanese GP victory, and his 57th career F1 win.

He has now won 3 of the first 4 races of the 2024 season and all four pole positions as the talented Dutchman continues to reign supreme over his fellow competitors.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 and the rest of the field into the first corner at the start of the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images for Red Bull)

“It was very nice,” said Verstappen. “I think the critical bit was of course the start, to stay ahead, and after that, the car got better and better for me throughout the race. I don’t know if it had to do with the clouds coming in, but yeah, [it was] very nice.

“Everything just went really well, the pit stops went well, the strategy I think worked out well, so it couldn’t have been any better.”

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images for Red Bull)

“It was a little hiccup of course, the last race, but [I’m] very happy that we are here back on the top. Great fans, in front of [Red Bull engine provider] Honda as well, [so] it’s fantastic to win here.”

Perez backed up Verstappen to give Red Bull another one-two finish after their 1-2 results in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to kick off the season.

Australian Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz Jr. was the last of the front-runners to make their final pit stop and benefitted from fresher rubber to pass McLaren’s Lando Norris and Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in the closing laps for the final podium position.

Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrate with Craig Dear, Principal Aerodynamicist at Oracle Red Bull Racing on the podium the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images for Red Bull)

Leclerc held off the McLaren of Lando Norris for fourth and fifth places respectively, while Fernando Alonso was 6th, George Russell 7th and Oscar Piastri 8th.

Lewis Hamilton got beat by his Mercedes teammate Russell yet again and came home a disappointing 9th while Yuki Tsunoda took the final point for 10th in his RB Honda.

With Hamilton moving to Maranello next year, the 39-year-old was asked if he was jealous of watching Ferrari perform so strongly, resulting in a response from Brit who can no longer win a race now that his Mercedes no longer enjoys a 50hp advantage

“Do you have any better questions?” Hamilton responded, before walking away a defeated man.

3rd place for Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24 during the Japanese GP at Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Sam Bloxham / LAT Images)

Red Flag on Lap 1

Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Albon will not face a penalty over their collision, which brought the Japanese Grand Prix to a stop on the first lap.

The pair were uninjured but retired after spinning into the barriers at turn three.

The pair touched wheels on the approach to Turn 3, pitching them both into the barrier in what was a racing incident.

The Australian had moved right to open up the left-hander, having been squeezed into the middle of the track just prior.

When space opened up to his right, he moved across to gain a better line, his left rear and Albon’s right front finding the same piece of real estate.

With two cars in the barrier and damage to the tire wall, race control quickly threw the red flag.

The RB driver admitted he’d been preoccupied with an attack from another driver on his left, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, when the crash happened.

“Myself and Yuki had a pretty poor getaway on the medium and all the cars behind on the soft just got us quite easily and we were just kind of scrabbling obviously for some grip,” he told the official F1 channel.

“By turn two it settled a little bit, but then I remember getting out of two still with a little bit of traction and I remember an Aston on my left. So I was kind of watching that car and then as I was starting to drift to open up three, I hit Alex.

“I saw his onboard and he just had so much better drive out of two. I don’t even know if he wanted to be there, but he could see me kind of going a little bit sideways and just I think everyone kind of got choked up and that was that. So unfortunately, a short Sunday.”

Albon said he was trying to avoid contact when the pair touched. “I had, not a great start, but obviously a bit better than [those on] the medium tires, and had good traction coming out of turn two. That was it, really.

“I don’t think Daniel saw me and then it was just a bit of a pinching moment. I tried to back out of it but I couldn’t quite get out of the way quick enough. So it was a tough one to take.”

The crash is the third for a Williams driver in the past two weekends. The team is already in a vulnerable position with a shortage of spares following the Australian Grand Prix, where it was only able to run one car in the race.

“Obviously, we’re not in a great position as a team with parts and just general damage to the car so it’s very frustrating and just disappointing,” said Albon, who is unsure how serious the damage is to his FW46.

“Honestly, it wasn’t like a big crash but the way that I hit the wall, it was a tire wall, we don’t have that many tire walls any more in Formula 1 and the way that the tire went under the car and it ripped the car, so the car went from a good amount of speed to zero really quickly. I’m just worried. I didn’t get a good look at it because it’s under the tires. But hopefully, it’s okay.”

The stewards investigated the crash but ruled it was a racing incident and took no action against either driver.

Verstappen, who took the lead on the first race start, repeated his quick getaway on the restart and was never headed except during pit stops, taking the other 19 drivers to school yet again.

Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

After the 2nd restart, Perez managed to stay within a second for when DRS was activated on lap four of 53, but slipped back slightly until on lap six he ran wide out of Degner two and lost nearly a second.

Verstappen now leads the point standings with 77 over Perez with 64 and Leclerc with 59.

2024 Japanese GP Results

1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 53 +0.000s 26
2 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda 53 +12.535s 18
3 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 53 +20.866s 15
4 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 53 +26.522s 12
5 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 53 +29.700s 10
6 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 53 +44.272s 8
7 63 George Russell Mercedes 53 +45.951s 6
8 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes 53 +47.525s 4
9 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 +48.626s 2
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB Honda 52 +1 lap 1
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari 52 +1 lap 0
12 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 52 +1 lap 0
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 52 +1 lap 0
14 77 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber Ferrari 52 +1 lap 0
15 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 52 +1 lap 0
16 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault 52 +1 lap 0
17 2 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes 52 +1 lap 0
NC 24 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber Ferrari 12 DNF 0
NC 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB Honda 0 DNF 0
NC 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 0 DNF 0

* Provisional results. Note – Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

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