Dominant Verstappen wins Japanese GP in Red Bull one-two

Verstappen failed to finish in Australia a fortnight ago but he was in control for the entire race at Suzuka

By AFP

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Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after the end of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix. — AFP
Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after the end of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix. — AFP

Published: Sun 7 Apr 2024, 12:16 PM

Triple world champion Max Verstappen romped to victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, leading teammate Sergio Perez to a dominant one-two finish for Red Bull.

Verstappen failed to finish in Australia a fortnight ago but he was in control for the entire race at Suzuka after starting from pole and claimed his third win from four grands prix this season.


The Dutchman finished 12.535sec ahead of Perez, who came home in second in front of Ferrari's third-placed Carlos Sainz in dry, sunny conditions.

Verstappen was back to his breathtaking best after a brake issue in Melbourne saw him retire from a race for the first time in two years.


He was starting from pole for the fourth time in four races this season and he stamped his authority on the race by leading Perez to the first turn.

Verstappen said this week that Suzuka was one of his favourite circuits and he has now won the Japanese Grand Prix three times in a row.

Sainz, who triumphed in Australia, took third ahead of Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, who started from eighth on the grid.

McLaren's Lando Norris, who was second in last year's race, was fifth ahead of Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Mercedes' George Russell edged out McLaren's Oscar Piastri for seventh, while Lewis Hamilton was ninth in the other Mercedes.

Japan's Yuki Tsunoda was 10th for RB, scoring points at his home grand prix for the first time.

The race was red-flagged on the second lap after RB's Daniel Ricciardo and Williams' Alex Albon collided and crashed after a frenetic start.

Albon's front wing clipped into the rear of Ricciardo's car as they jockeyed for position, and both slammed into the wall before getting out unscathed.

Both drivers retired from the race.

The action resumed from a standing start and Verstappen picked up from where he left off ahead of Perez.

Leclerc took over the lead after Verstappen pitted on his 17th lap, but the Red Bull driver was back in front four laps later.

Verstappen and Perez both consolidated their positions, leaving Norris fighting for third against the two Ferraris.

A late lock-up cost the McLaren driver his chance of a podium finish.

Sauber's Zhou Guanyu retired with a gearbox issue on his 19th lap.

Williams' Logan Sargeant skidded off the track to a standstill late in the race but resumed driving.

The championship resumes in a fortnight's time with the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

It will be the first time the event has been held since 2019, before it was curtailed by the pandemic.

The Japanese Grand Prix was being held in April after being shifted forward from its usual late-season slot.

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