Last weekend's accident was therefore only a short breakdown and not a breach into which Red Bull's competition could have rushed. In Singapore, Max Verstappen did not qualify at the end of Q2 and only clinched 5th place in the Grand Prix. On Saturday, the Dutchman reminded everyone that he is still the boss, even if few drivers doubted it.
After reassuring his employers during free practice in Japan, he stuck more than half a second to Oscar Piastri in qualifying. He will start in pole position at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix this Sunday morning (7 am). Thus, the two-time reigning world champion has validated the theory that the Red Bulls had above all badly adjusted their cars last weekend.
Just one incredible pole lap Ride onboard with @MaxVerstappen33 for the lap 🤩
that made it nine pole positions for the Dutchman in 2023! 👊 #JapaneseGP #F1 @Pirellisport pic.twitter.com/ebhz2DbDss
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 23, 2023
Nevertheless, his teammate Sergio Perez did not get better than 5th place on the grid. The Mexican is notably preceded by a pretty papaya-colored duo. The McLarens of Piastri and Lando Norris came in behind Verstappen. The confirmation of a season that had started badly before being turned around spectacularly. In Singapore, Norris held off Mercedes for a third podium finish this year.
Winner last weekend, Carlos Sainz will start in sixth position, two rows behind Charles Leclerc, the other Ferrari driver, and one line ahead of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Finally, the Alpines failed to qualify in Q3. Pierre Gasly set the 12th fastest time in qualifying, a few hundredths of a second ahead of Esteban Ocon, 14th.