Verstappen takes Japanese Grand Prix pole despite reprimand

Verstappen takes Japanese Grand Prix pole despite reprimand

Charles Leclerc lost out to Max Verstappen for the top place as the reigning world champion claimed his sixth Formula 1 pole position of the 2022 season.

Leclerc came in just 0.010s behind the Red Bull driver on the lap time chart, narrowly missing out on the top place. Verstappen is now well-positioned to win the F1 World Championship for the second time on Sunday.

Verstappen led the Ferraris by a tenth in both the first and second segments, but he increased his lead on his first run in Q3 by overtaking Charles Leclerc by a full second.

On that first run, however, he also almost collided with Lando Norris’ McLaren as his RB18 snapped sideways as he attempted to get heat into the tyres. This forced Norris, who was also on his outlap, to take late preventative maneuvers on the inside and cut the turn.

On the cool-down lap, Verstappen raised his hand to apologize to Norris as the post-session investigation into the incident was promptly announced. Verstappen was eventually given a reprimand for the incident by the stewards, but allowed him to keep his fifth pole position in 2022.

On their second runs, both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz made a valiant effort to match Verstappen’s benchmark, with Leclerc coming up just 0.01 seconds short and Sainz a half-tenth back. Verstappen, however, lost a part of his duct on the final lap and failed to improve his time, but managed to hold onto provisional pole position despite the issue.

Sergio Perez finished fourth in the sister Red Bull, far behind the leaders but nearly half a second ahead of Esteban Ocon in fifth. Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes split Ocon and Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso, while George Russell’s Mercedes finished eighth, just a tenth of a second behind his teammate.

The Suzuka expert and Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel narrowly avoided elimination in both Q1 and Q2, and he ran off-sequence in Q3 to finish ninth. The German radioed in an emotional “arigato” before saying, “I will miss this place, but we have tomorrow to win some points,” as this was probably going to be his last time competing at Suzuka F1.

Norris finished Q3 with no especially noteworthy laps and in 10th place, 0.5 seconds behind Vettel. Despite Daniel Ricciardo appearing to be at his best, Vettel’s late Q2 run, which left him “ecstatic,” resulted in the second McLaren driver suffering elimination.

After their first Q2 runs, Ricciardo had a three-tenth lead over Norris and looked like he was going to beat him out on merit for the first time since the Spanish GP in May, but he was unable to outperform Norris on his second run, who easily outperformed him.

Ricciardo was obviously upset by the outcome as he responded angrily when told he had missed out by 0.003s.

The local hero Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri was placed between the two Alfas of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu in positions 12 and 14, respectively.

Haas driver Mick Schumacher who was under-pressure after an in-lap crash in FP1, was forced to switch to a new chassis, and he outran teammate Kevin Magnussen by two tenths to guarantee Haas had a driver in Q2. However, Schumacher was unable to put in a strong lap time later in the second segment, and he ended up finishing far behind Kevin in 15th place.

Despite merely finishing in 16th place and being half a tenth away from dethroning Sebastian Vettel for a Q2 spot, Williams driver Alexander Albon had his first Q1 flying lap removed due to track limits violation at spoon.

Magnussen, Lance Stroll, and Nicholas Latifi who overcame the five-place grid penalty he was given for colliding with Zhou in Singapore, finished in that order; Stroll slipped through the hairpin on his penultimate attempt.


1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m30.224s 1m30.346s 1m29.304s
2 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m30.402s 1m30.486s 1m29.314s
3 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m30.336s 1m30.444s 1m29.361s
4 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Bull Racing 1m30.622s 1m29.925s 1m29.709s
5 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m30.696s 1m30.357s 1m30.165s
6 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1m30.906s 1m30.443s 1m30.261s
7 Fernando Alonso ESP BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m30.603s 1m30.343s 1m30.322s
8 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1m30.865s 1m30.465s 1m30.389s
9 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m31.256s 1m30.656s 1m30.554s
10 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m30.881s 1m30.473s 1m31.003s
11 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m30.880s 1m30.659s  
12 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m31.226s 1m30.709s  
13 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri  1m31.130s 1m30.808s  
14 Zhou Guanyu CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m30.894s 1m30.953s  
15 Mick Schumacher GER Haas F1 Team 1m31.152s 1m31.439s  
16 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m31.311s    
17 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m31.322s    
18 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 1m31.352s    
19 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m31.419s    
20 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m31.511s


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