Verstappen crushes the competition and takes pole during qualifying in Japan

The McLarens are the closest

Max Verstappen is still undefeated in Japan this year. The Dutch driver finished first in every training session. His Red Bull RB19 looks completely back to normal at Suzuka after the miss in Singapore. But that was just training. Now Verstappen and Red Bull have to show that they can also perform at Suzuka when it counts. Time for qualifying for the 2023 Japanese GP.


Max Verstappen continues his trend at the start of qualifying. The McLarens follow in second and third. Norris is even faster than Verstappen in the first sector. With nine minutes to go, the attempts to reach Q2 are stopped for a while. Logan Sargeant slid off the track in the last left corner. His Williams ends in the wall. The wheels on the left cannot withstand the impact and come loose from the suspension.

🚩 RED FLAG 🚩Logan Sargeant crashes heavily at the final corner Driver is OK #JapaneseGP #F1

— Formula 1 (@F1) September 23, 2023 After the debris has been cleared and the tire stacks are in good condition again, we can continue. Verstappen keeps his fastest time. Liam Lawson impresses again with the fourth fastest time. Stroll doesn't do that. He finishes seventeenth while teammate Alonso finishes eleventh. Furthermore, Sargeant, Zhou, Hülkenberg and Bottas are eliminated.


In the second part of qualifying in Japan, Verstappen continues his positive trend. Once again the McLarens are close. This time in Piastri the fastest orange car. Once again, a McLaren, in this case Piastri, is faster in the first sector than Verstappen's Red Bull. Because the track gets faster and Verstappen and the McLarens don't go out, Leclerc is the fastest in Q2. The dropouts are Magnussen, Ocon, Albon, Gasly and Lawson.


The sun is now shining brightly on Suzuka. As a result, the track warms up even faster and the times become shorter. After the first fast laps, Verstappen is the fastest. Piastri is four tenths slower, but is the fastest behind the Red Bull. The Ferraris, Alonso and Russell skip the first laps and try to get the most out of the car with one fast lap later in the session.

And Verstappen just keeps going. This time the Dutch driver is also the fastest in the first sector. Piastri finishes second, more than half a second away. Yes, Red Bull is back. At least, Verstappen's. Norris and Leclerc beat Pérez in the other Red Bull. Home rider Tsunoda takes ninth place.

ABSOLUTELY UNSTOPPABLE!! ⏱️ @Max33Verstappen is on POLE POSITION!! #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵

— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) September 23, 2023 ## Qualifying results for the 2023 Japanese GP

  1. Verstappen02. Piastri03. Norris04. Leclerc05. Pérez06. Sainz07. Hamilton08. Russell09. Tsunoda10. Alonso11. Lawson12. Gasly13. Albon14. Ocon15. Magnussen16. Bottas17. Stroll18. Hulkenberg19. Zhou20. Sargeant

What time does F1 start at Suzuka?

Sunday Race: 7:00 am