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Verstappen dominates in Qualifying in Japan, followed by the two McLarens

Verstappen dominates in Qualifying in Japan, followed by the two McLarens

23 September - 08:01 Last update: 08:22

Max Verstappen has claimed his ninth Pole Position at Suzuka in 2023 (not officially counting the one from Belgium) with a 1:28.877, after a challenging weekend in Singapore. The two McLarens rounded off the Top 3 on Saturday, as Oscar Piastri will start alongside the defending champion, and Lando Norris finished in P3.

Max Verstappen overwhelmed his competition in Japan, as he was the quickest in qualifying by more than half of a second ahead of the rest of the pack. The two McLarens were the closest to the Dutchman, with Oscar Piastri beating his teammate. Charles Leclerc was the fastest out of the two Ferraris and will start fourth ahead of Verstappen's teammate, Sergio Perez. The winner of the Singapore GP, Carlos Sainz will start from P6.

The fourth row of the grid was completed by the two Mercedes in the order of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Yuki Tsunoda managed to qualify for Q3 in his home Grand Prix after his contract extension was announced, and also managed to beat Fernando Alonso for P9.


Leclerc was the fastest in the second session of the day. Oscar Piastri had the only incident in the session, as the Australian had to stop in the pit lane ahead of his second run. As McLaren mechanics ran to push his car back, he already had a time quick enough for Q3.

The two Mercedes and Alonso were in the drop zone, as time expired, but Hamilton and Russell safely qualified. On the other hand, the Spaniard was close to getting eliminated, but he survived. All five drivers were within two-tenths of the Aston Martin, and Liam Lawson was only 0.05 from making the final session. Next to the driver from New Zealand, the two Alpines, Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen were the four non-qualifiers.

OUT - P15 Magnussen, P14 Ocon, P13 Albon, P12 Gasly, P11 Lawson


Most drivers waited a couple more minutes to enter the track at the beginning of Q1, instead of instantly going out. After nine minutes, Logan Sargeant lost his car exiting the final corner, and crashed into the wall, leaving the Williams’ mechanics disappointed. The American’s incident brought the red flag.

The frontrunners had no trouble going through, with Verstappen setting the pace ahead of Norris. Along with Sargeant, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, and Lance Stroll got eliminated. Furthermore, Guanyu Zhou also ran wide in Turn 9, and while he could keep his car in one piece, he could not improve and finished in P19. Leclerc and the two Alfa Romeos will be also investigated for not adhering to the maximum time limit.

OUT - P20 Sargeant, P19 Zhou, P18 Hulkenberg, P17 Stroll, P16 Bottas