Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2023

Verstappen takes dominant pole ahead of Piastri as Perez struggles to fifth

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix by over half a second from the two McLaren drivers.

Oscar Piastri impressed on his first visit to Suzuka by beating his team mate to a place on the second row of the grid, pipping Lando Norris by less than four hundredths of a second.

Behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez could only manage fifth on the grid in the second Red Bull seven tenths of a second slower than his team mate.


Conditions were almost identical to final practice as the opening phase of qualifying got underway in Suzuka. Only the track temperature had fallen in the later afternoon, which would have been a relief to drivers as the soft tyres had proven very sensitive over the three preceding practice sessions.

Lance Stroll and Liam Lawson headed out together when the pit lane opened, with the AlphaTauri driver setting the first lap of the qualifying hour of a 1’31.729. But it was not long until the fastest driver of all three practice sessions, Max Verstappen, took to the track to immediately post the quickest time of the weekend, becoming the first driver to lap the track in under 90 seconds this weekend with a 1’29.878.

Lando Norris got within two tenths of the championship leader on his first lap, with Oscar Piastri moving into third. Sergio Perez’s first effort was good enough for fourth, but was almost eight tenths slower than his team mate.

Lower down the order, track limits were causing trouble for some drivers. Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly lost their first push laps for running off at the exit of turn two, while Alexander Albon also had his opening lap deleted for going too wide between the two Degners.

The two Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr were next to start their first push laps of qualifying, but the pair were forced to abandon their runs when yellow flags appeared just before the finish line.

Logan Sargeant had crashed his Williams heavily after sliding off the track and into the outside barrier, wrecking his car in the process. The session was red-flagged to clear the crash site, with Sargeant able to climb out of his car and over the pit wall to return to the Williams garage, seemingly unhurt.

The clean-up took around a quarter of an hour, after which Q1 resumed with almost exactly nine minutes remaining. With track temperature steadily falling, there was a real risk that lap times would improve significantly over the remaining minutes

When the green light appeared at pit exit, Leclerc and Sainz emerged to get their first timed laps on the board. Leclerc went third with Sainz fifth, but race control announced Leclerc had been noted for exceeding the maximum lap time enforced by the race director before the red flag. The Alfa Romeo drivers were also under suspicion of committing the same infringement.

As the Ferraris returned to the pits, there was a large queue of cars as the rest of the field headed out for a final run, with only Verstappen and Norris choosing to stay in the garage. The timing screens flashed green as every driver improved their personal best times, including Lawson who leapt up to fourth place.

After a frantic final minute, the four drivers who joined Sargeant in being eliminated from Q1 were Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Hulkenberg and Zhou Guanyu. The latter’s final flying lap was deleted but it made making no difference to his final position.

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Q1 result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’29.8783
24Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’30.0630.1853
316Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’30.3930.5155
440Liam LawsonAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.4250.54710
581Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’30.4390.5615
655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’30.6510.7735
711Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’30.6520.7746
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.7330.8556
963George RussellMercedesW141’30.8110.9336
1044Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’30.8110.9336
1110Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’30.8430.9656
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’30.9411.0636
1331Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’30.9601.0826
1414Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’30.9711.0936
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’30.9761.0986
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’31.0491.1715
1718Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’31.1811.3037
1827Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’31.2991.4216
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’31.3981.5206
202Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW45No time2

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At the start of the second session, almost all of the 15 drivers remaining chose to head out on used soft tyres to set their first flying laps. Eager to get a lap on the board, Verstappen was the first driver out. He posted a 1’29.964, which the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz were unable to match behind him.

Perez was one of the few to fit fresh tyres and first lap was good enough for him to go second, three tenths of a second slower than his team mate, while the Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton went behind the two Ferraris with their push laps on used softs. Norris and Piastri opted for fresh tyres for their first runs of Q2, the pair splitting the Red Bulls once more as Piastri pipped his team mate into second.

With under five minutes remaining, only Alexander Albon was out on track on fresh tyres. He jumped up to seventh, which meant as the rest of the field rolled out of the pits for their last run, the drop zone was made up of Lawson, Fernando Alonso, the two Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly with Kevin Magnussen 15th having opted to complete a single run at the end of the session.

The top three – Verstappen, Piastri and Norris – remainined in the pit lane as the rest of the field headed out. Piastri actually headed for the exit but was told to pull over in the pit lane by race engineer Tom Stallard as the team realised his lap time was unlikely to be beaten.

Sainz, Russell and Hamilton all improved, putting Albon in danger. The Williams driver’s fate was sealed when Alonso claimed his place in the final 10 – continuing his run of reaching Q3 in every session this year – but other drivers were still improving.

After all drivers had finished their laps, Lawson narrowly failed to proceed, dropping out in 11th place and failing to follow team mate Yuki Tsunoda into the top ten. Gasly improved on his last effort but was still out in 12th, with Albon resigned to 13th. Ocon was the second Alpine out in 14th, with Magnussen knocked out in 15th after his one-run strategy failed to pay off.

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Q2 result

116Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’29.94011
21Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’29.9640.0246
311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’29.9650.02512
444Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’30.0400.10012
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’30.0670.12711
681Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’30.1220.1828
722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.2040.26412
863George RussellMercedesW141’30.2680.32812
94Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’30.2960.3566
1014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’30.4650.52512
1140Liam LawsonAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.5080.56816
1210Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’30.5090.56912
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’30.5370.59712
1431Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’30.5860.64612
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’30.6650.7259

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The final shoot-out for Suzuka pole looked like a forgone conclusion after the unrivalled pace Verstappen had shown all weekend. The Red Bull driver headed out on a fresh set of soft tyres, as did the McLaren pair, with Perez and Hamilton opting for used tyres for their opening runs.

Verstappen was the first driver to set a time and he put together a tidy first lap to post a 1’29.012. The McLarens had little answer for the world champion as they were four tenths slower than Verstappen, with Piastri only just quicker than his team mate, moving into a provisional second place.

Perez’s lap on used tyres was a second slower than Norris which left him fourth, which proved temporary as Russell’s first lap on fresh softs put him narrowly ahead of the Red Bull. Meanwhile, Alonso went quicker than Hamilton to put himself up into sixth place, though the two Ferraris were yet to set a time.

With four minutes remaining, all drivers who were still in the pits headed out on fresh tyres for their final laps of qualifying. Once again, Verstappen was the first driver to start his lap, followed by the two Ferraris and the McLarens.

Verstappen improved over all three sectors and charged over the line to beat his own provisional pole time with a 1’28.877. Leclerc’s only lap was good enough for fourth, while Sainz took sixth behind Perez. Only the McLarens were left to challenge Verstappen but neither Piastri nor Norris able to improve on their final laps, and ended up over half a second down.

That left Verstappen on pole with the largest pole margin at Suzuka since 2004, with Piastri securing his first front row of his career. Norris took third on the grid, with Leclerc fourth ahead of Perez and Sainz. The two Mercedes will line up seventh and eighth, with Tsunoda and Alonso completing the top ten.

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Q3 result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’28.87712
281Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’29.4580.58114
34Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’29.4930.61612
416Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’29.5420.66514
511Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’29.6500.77318
655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’29.8500.97314
744Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’29.9081.03118
863George RussellMercedesW141’30.2191.34215
922Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.3031.42618
1014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’30.5601.68315

2023 Japanese Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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81 comments on “Verstappen takes dominant pole ahead of Piastri as Perez struggles to fifth”

  1. Now that Red Bull aren’t penalised by FIA and FOM like last week in Singapore where they “mysteriously” had only 8th quickest car, Max is back to the top, exactly where he was all season long! It’s fantastic to see the greatest of all time performing his magic – simply, simply lovely.

    1. I thought RB seemed to do quite well out of FIA stewards last weekend ;-)

    2. Another Armchair expert
      23rd September 2023, 9:51

      No, you’re wrong. Rather it is Mercedes which are most penalized by FIA and FOM who’s colluding with RBR since late 2021 to prevent HAM beat MSC record. They were “mysteriously” going from fastest car to midfield car the next season, It’s very very strange don’t u think?

      Wow, I see I can make the same level of BS you’re spouting…Lol

      1. I see I can make the same level of BS you’re spouting

        Never doubted that..

      2. Careful – seems you’ve attracted the wrath of the multi-accounting Max ultras and will probably be on the receiving end of more threatening behaviour soon.

    3. Armchair conspiracist more like…

    4. Did you also see that FIA lead plate under the RBR floor in Singapure. It needes good eyesight to detect it. I only saw it after putting on some orange glasses.

    5. It really is the unexpected and the mind-boggling situations which separate the conspiracy theorist from the intelligent person

    6. It’s such a ridiculous comment it really isn’t worth a response… Never mind the why, how could Red Bull possibly have been ‘penalized’ by FIA in Singapore, for one race, without Red Bull themselves being part of the conspiracy to slow down their own car?!

      1. Most ridiculous part to me is the 8th quickest car one, as if quali pace is everything when points are scored on sunday.

  2. Aston Martin is 1.7 seconds off the first place. Amazing.
    McLaren are just 78 points behind, which tomorrow might be around 45 points with six races to go.

    The only excuse Aston may have is they’re building a championship-winning car for 2024, so they spend all of their resources on that. Otherwise, it’s time for Stroll senior to look for better engineers.

    1. Well, copying the design of another car will only take you so far.

      They got away with it in 2020 because that season was truncated due to COVID and teams couldn’t pursue aggressive development like McLaren has this year.

      1. What a silly comment. First of all, if you ever pay attention, you’ll notice the teams are all always copying each other. Even RBR has introduced little bits and bobs inspired by teams like Williams and Alpine. More importantly, ALL the teams have been introducing major updates that generally emulate the RBR concept. Finally, Aston Martin has hired a large group of top tier designers. So, they have the talent to do more than simply copy. Their lack of progress shows, if anything, they’ve tried and failed at going down a more unique path in hopes of unlocking bigger gains rather than sticking to the safest path of just continually getting closer in design to the RBR knowing they might be faster than other teams, but always trailing Red Bull.

        1. Nick, added to that, the rules are progressively forcing the cars to become more and more similar whether they like it or not. For example, the Mercedes used to be unusual in having a low rake design, compared to high rake which Newey and most of the grid prefers. For some reason, it was decided to make rake angle yet another parameter which is now closely regulated. Is that the reason the Mercs lost their pace this last couple of years? Possibly, though it would only be one small element so this is not conspiracy theory material. The question is though, why is it even necessary to have so many regulations like this which inhibit innovation and which reduce variation between cars?

          1. The question is though, why is it even necessary to have so many regulations like this which inhibit innovation and which reduce variation between cars?

            Because F1 is an entertainment and marketing business.

          2. There’s no reply button below to your comment about spending, but I’ll respond here:

            -Stroll (majority investor) owns the team and can easily spend multiple times above the budget cap while McLaren is only now emerging from massive financial struggles.

            -McLaren legacy assets: McLaren had to sell heritage from its historic cars to the land under its famous Woking facility (they now lease it). That should give you an idea of just how deep their financial struggles were.

    2. I wonder how McLaren is both continuously adding major upgrades and keeping under the cost cap. That is some impressive resource management.

      1. Agree but it’s worth remembering that they get the share holder bonus of $70m in prize money that only Merc, Ferrari and RBR get also. So in a clean fight with Aston for example they’ve had a few seasons of $100m more prize money. Their car is also night and day different when looking at 2014-16 sponsorship compared to now. I get the impression Brown was savvy enough to make his cars cheaper to advertise on and got a whole load of tech companies to buy in like Google, Dark Trace, Alteryx etc.

        It’s genuinely a pleasure to say McLaren looks well run for the first time since Ron left.

        1. Even if they received a billion euros does not mean they can avoid the cost cap.

        2. I’m talking about the cost cap and financial health has nothing to do with that. Besides, Aston Martin could easily outspend McLaren if there was no cost cap.

          1. Nick, I hadn’t realised Aston Martin could potentially outspend McLaren. Who owns Aston Martin these days? Is Aston Martin a brand of one of the car giants? Outside F1 both AM and McL are mostly known for the supercar market, and McLaren also has a presence in indycar, so I didn’t think of them as having massively different financial resources. Also, McLaren must have a lot of legacy assets such as its own wind tunnel, although the amount it is allowed to use it is regulated under current F1 regs.

          2. Who owns Aston Martin these days?

            Does the name “Stroll” ring a bell?

          3. S: “Does the name “Stroll” ring a bell?”

            I was thinking more of who owns the Aston Martin car brand. I thought Stroll essentially owned the F1 team but Aston Martin wete a major investor and title sponsor.

            Nick, good point about the sell-offs of Mclaren assets. I’d forgotten about that.

        3. RB, I don’t know what the shareholder bonus is. I know there is (or was) a heritage bonus, where Ferrari got the biggest payout but I think and Williams also got some of that, and I don’t think Merc and Red Bull could get into that list. Is the shareholder bonus the same as the Constructors Chanpionship Bonus? I do think the payment system in F1 is unfair though. Even a team which is doing badly at the bottom of the field is still essential in making races possible and credible, and also provides a valuable training ground for drivers and allows a wider range of driver nationalities to be respresented, which is an important consideration in making F1 popular across the world.

          1. I agree, but at the same I think it was the leverage those teams had, which allowed them to get into that position. Though they had lost most of their power and influence, Williams couldn’t be excluded from a legacy payment without it looking extremely hypocritical. OTH, I understand a desire for teams whose only business is F1 and have been around forever demanding an extra slice compared to johnny-come-latelies.

          2. BTW, Stroll owns a major part of the car brand too now I believe.

      2. Fully agree. Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston need to learn from that.

  3. Not that Verstappen didnt mess up his setup the rocketship is back to its > 0.5 s advantage. Expect the usual boring easy RBR cruise to victory again.

    Great result also from MCL. The team really did improve exceptionally. Still more than half a sec to RBR, but nice to see them up there – especially after the disastrous start into the season.

    Also Merc achieves the best possible result, clearly having the 4th best car in Suzuka. And to be noted how HAM always is able to up his pace, when necessary.

    1. not = now, at the beginning

      1. Mercedes had by far the fastest car in Singapore and was beaten by Ferrari.
        You still need an intelligent driver to use all that power.

        1. My comment was about Suzuka qualy, dont know why you refer to the weekend before.

          Anyways, in Singapure Merc was on the same level with Ferrari and Norris (as only he had the new floor), and also RBR was on the same level in the race (they just messed up their single lap setup, and Max was not able to adapt to the cars capabilities in qualy).

          But yeah, the strategy with Russell was wrong. And they didnt switch places, when it would have been beneficial for the team result.

          1. I agree with all you said regarding the singapore race pace of teams, we may be the only ones on site who considered the red bull as fast at the leading 3 cars in the race, it’s just that they were in traffic most of the time.

            And yes, hamilton pitting only would’ve given much higher win chance, what they did not only blocked hamilton, but russell ended up settling for 3rd place until he crashed, while he’d have been safely in 2nd.

        2. BTW always stupidly detracting on Hamilton doesnt look good on you anti fans.

  4. Back on form as expected, although Checo was a disappointment.
    Piastri’s performance was a positive surprise, while Alpine was bad again.
    Sargeant’s off was unfortunate, although not necessarily entirely in his control, given how long after the corner he lost rather than when going back on full-throttle at the exit.

    1. Actually, the replays show how big his role in the crash was. He not only didn’t attempt to feather the throttle, he stayed fully pinned even though it was clear there was no way he was going to be able to keep it on the track if he did. The biggest mitigating factor for him is that the wind appeared to have kicked up a bit higher when he was in the corner and the Williams are famously wind sensitive.

    2. Kelly’s eye

  5. Williams will not have the development budget if Sargeant keeps crashing the car. There are drivers available and James Vowles may have to think it through.

    1. Yeah, it’s not looking great for him. I can’t remember the last incident free weekend he’s had. Even in Zandvoort when he was looking good he stacked it. Obviously he’s a rookie, but it doesn’t help that Alex is driving well and Oscar is up to to speed with Lando. He could really do with a good race.

    2. Yes, I was hopeful during the first quarter of the season about Logan, now we’re getting into that dangerous mental hole territory. They clearly want to keep him on for another season, but I am not sure how you can risk it if he might be both slow AND crash happy. While Lawson is getting over hyped due to having no teammate benchmark over the last two races (Yuki’s car broke down before the start in Italy and he was impeded in quali and then taken out by Perez on lap 1 in Singapore) and then scoring points mostly due to the unlikely circumstance of having 4-5 cars drop that were almost certain to have finished ahead without reliability issues in two cases, another car crashing into them in two cases and Russell crashing himself out in the final case, he still is clearly a much better option for Williams than Lawson. I’d rather have Mick too. Logan must be bringing at least some sponsorship for Williams to be this lenient with him.

      1. Yes, then you get in a mclaren ricciardo situation, who says the 2nd year will be better? I doubt, at least ricciardo was a proven good driver at red bull, sargeant has no proof he will ever be able to be even at stroll’s level.

        1. My thoughts precisely. Perez to me is yet another example of what never beating your teammate leads to and at least he did beat Max a few times. Logan has been shut out.

          If they want to take the pressure off to see how he does, I’d like them to announce a new seat for next year (but the contract give them the ability to replace him at anytime with a decent payout clause so it doesn’t feel like he’s on a one race at a time contract) and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, then activate that clause.

      2. And yes, schumacher made mistakes too but had occasional good performances in a similar if not worse car.

    3. Pinak: “Williams will not have the development budget if Sargeant keeps crashing the car.”

      I have this idea that when the budget cap concept was first introduced, that crash damage to bodywork didn’t count towards budget cap, provided you were replacing like with like. i.e. you couldn’t fit a new spec wing and claim it was a crash damage replacement. Yes, it would still need real dollars from their real world development budget, but not cost cap budget. Does anyone know if that is the case, or even if it was ever the case?

      1. I have this idea that when the budget cap concept was first introduced, that crash damage to bodywork didn’t count towards budget cap…. Does anyone know if that is the case, or even if it was ever the case?

        It was never the case.

  6. Abysmal performance by the other eight teams once again.

    The rules are a total failure. It’s past time to open them up, increase testing, stop the engine freeze.

    The longer this goes on, the more Liberty is going to regret not selling F1 in 2022.

    1. I partly agree.

      I’m a McLaren fan, so I’m delighted to see them near the front, but the freeze has just changed the car that’s miles out in front rather than making F1 more competitive.

      Yes, Max is the best driver on the grid, shaving off an extra couple of tenths per lap, but Perez is a B-Team driver and is adding them a couple of tenths.

      Contrast to MotoGP where, although Ducati-engined teams are amongst the strongest on the grid, there is a genuine fight between those teams, plus Aprilia and KTM are right up there too.

    2. It has nothing to do with the rules and everything due to the fact that RBR has the greatest designer in F1 history and designers making a much bigger impact than drivers. So, having the greatest designer of all time means no one is really going to have a chance, unless they restrict design so tightly that F1 becomes effectively spec cars.

      The overall tightness of the pack this year, apart from RBR, has shown the rules are not only helping in keeping them close, but also keeping teams more than half the teams from constantly being on the brink of bankruptcy and more on the brink if they suddenly lost a top sponsor or automaker partnership.

      The only problem I see with the rules are these pig cars that are too heavy, too big and have so much downforce that half the corners that used to be turns ten years ago are just easy flat out turns. The number of once legendary corners that still look spectacular from the outside, but which are no longer challenges is huge.

      Finally, tell us which rule set in the past has ever made the field really close or ever resulted in more than two teams being in the hunt for a championship all the way through the season.

      1. It has nothing to do with the rules and everything due to the fact that RBR has the greatest designer in F1 history and designers making a much bigger impact than drivers

        It all comes down to the rules. If Newey has an unrivaled mastery of aerodynamics in the paddock, and the rules freeze the engines, leaving only the chassis and aerodynamics as differentiating factors, you already know in advance who will come out on top. The moment engine freeze was announced, as the casual fan I’m, I was already on a rent on this proper forum about how RBR will dominate a formula where the engines are frozen.

        Besides, at Ferrari, Byrne was Newey’s kryptonite, often outplaying him at his own game. Moreover, Newey struggled to counter Mercedes in the hybrid era before 2021, when rule adjustments unexpectedly propelled RBR into competition with them.

        1. So, basically, you want to shape the rules to create an insanely expensive engine development race as a means to combat the talent of one man? I can think of more pragmatic ways than that.

          1. Nick T.
            As mentioned in another comment, Newey is good at what he does but he’s no magician. It’s called motorsport for a reason, marginalizing the engines and making the aerodynamics the sole performance differentiator isn’t motorsport…

      2. It has nothing to do with the rules and everything due to the fact that RBR has the greatest designer in F1 history and designers making a much bigger impact than drivers. So, having the greatest designer of all time means no one is really going to have a chance, unless they restrict design so tightly that F1 becomes effectively spec cars.

        That designer made the only car in recent F1 memory that was unable to participate in any races.

        He also made plenty of cars that were not competitive at all, both at McLaren, Red Bull and even the ’94 and ’95 Williams were not as good as Byrne’s Benettons.

        Newey is good at what he does. There’s no doubt about it. But he’s no magician.

        Finally, tell us which rule set in the past has ever made the field really close or ever resulted in more than two teams being in the hunt for a championship all the way through the season.

        Without looking further back; 1999, 2003, 2010 and 2012 qualify. But two teams is a bit arbitrary, the nature of the point system naturally makes it hard for multiple teams to be in the mix because of how quickly it ramps up towards P1. F1 had two (or more) teams in a championship battle until the final stages of the championship in in most season between 1990 and 2014. This was normal.

    3. MichaelN,
      Binotto at some point was bragging about how Ferrari made concessions with regard to engine freeze and the 2026 PU rules to let RBR compete with the frozen Honda PU and VW group entering the sport. The team is in free fall since the death of Marchionne who already threatened Liberty to pull Ferrari out of F1 over the 2021 rules.

      Even Liberty themselves weren’t confrontational with him due to his status in the United States and how he used to move the stock market with a single statement. This is the result of letting a clown like Binotto taking over negotiations with FIA/F1.

      1. Yeah let’s do exactly what FIA did from 2014 to 2021 because this is wrong and we must penalise the team that did the best job.

        oh wait, nothing changed in the 7 years of MB dominance with their rocketengine.

        1. @bluechris
          Let’s change the rules and bring back the V10s and unlimited testing. Then you’ll see which team will do the best job…

          1. We’ll also get to see how quickly 70% of the field will either go bankrupt or fall 3 seconds a lap off the pace. BTW, why do you think Newey wouldn’t be able to win in a big budget environment? He doesn’t just do the aero. He designs basically every last bit of the platform besides the ICU.

            I have to say. Among all the ideas for better competition, yours is among the worst I’ve ever seen. It basically sounds like you’re a Ferrari fan who hopes/wants to see them outspend everyone in order to win.

            I’d like to see V10s come back too, but that’s not happening until the automakers leave the sport.

          2. Nick T.
            Williams and McLaren used to have bigger budgets than Ferrari in the the late 90s early 00s. Toyota used to have the biggest budget in F1 and still didn’t win anything.

            It basically sounds like you’re a Ferrari fan who hopes/wants to see them outspend everyone in order to win.

            You have already countered your initial argument that the rules are fine but Newey is the greatest designeer in history.

          3. A) Williams never outspent Ferrari. B) McLaren also won in the late 90s and had a faster car than Ferrari for most of the early 2000s, but an engine that basically ALWAYS blew up + other sources of unreliability prevented them from winning. So, not a good example, especially since I don’t believe McLaren outspent Ferrari for one second in the early 2000s. Ferrari was paying MSC 90m per year, had two parallel teams running 24/7, would fly Michael to the test track between GP sessions at times and did other similarly insane things. They were both spending huge amounts.

            Toyota isn’t a good example. Because, while they did outspend everybody by a large amount, they were starting from zero, based their team in a place ensuring they’d fail, made a terrible decision to not develop the first car that saw major success for them (the year Trulli was on the podium or pole nearly every other race) and develop a brand new concept. I mean WTF, right?

        2. Exactly. Fans throw out these hot takes and solutions with seemingly zero awareness that most of the things they endorse have been done before with worse results and act like they can obviously think of a better way to do things off the top of their head than people like Ross Brawn can think of with decades of experience and given months or more to produce rules that can achieve this AND also be palatable enough to get agreed to.

      2. This is the result of letting a clown like Binotto taking over negotiations with FIA/F1.

        Indeed. The fact that Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari agreed to this ridiculous engine freeze shows whoever was leading those talks on behalf of those manufacturers should have been sacked on the spot.

  7. “Piastri impressed on his first visit to Suzuka by beating his team mate to a place on the second row of the grid”
    Grid position 2 might feel like the second row given the advantage that Max has!

  8. What a cracking qualy by Piastri! He’s been hugely impressive this year. Fingers crossed he can have a clean race and take his first genuine podium. I’ll never tire of watching Grand Prix cars around Suzuka. Such an incredible spectacle!

  9. Perez being 7 tenths off his teammate at a track where time is hard to find. Most team’s teammates had a 4 tenths gap at most. Perez’s side of the garage is just messing around at this point. I still expect him to finish ahead of Hamilton and Alonso in the drivers’ championship, but if there was a track where I would be shocked of the gap between Verstappen and Perez, it’s the one. It’s a driver’s track, but there are not that many corners where you can gain a lot of time due to the fast flowing nature. If I were Perez, I’d stay up to 4am in the morning reviewing the data and working with the engineers. That 7 tenths gap to Verstappen should not exist at this track. That’s absolutely terrible for the team. They are only not suffering harshe consequences because of their car having a performance advantage over everyone else.

    1. Verstappen was dominant compared to perez last year too at this track, it’s no surprise.

  10. When it mattered, Piastri delivered.
    Suzuka is a tough demanding track but the rookie who never drove here before mastered the lap better than everyone except Max. That is outstanding.
    He reminds of Kimi of the early 2000s but is a lot more talkative with the media than Kimi ever was. But cool, like KR.

  11. Going 5 km/h for a minute in the Fast Lane is getting ridiculous. They should impose a minimum speed in the fast lane.

    1. @f1mre

      Why? it’s the safest way ever to create a gap between them. I rather have a bottleneck at the end of the pitlane than drivers going around at 100 km/h when others are closing in at 300+!

  12. Hats of to Alonso for being the only driver to make Q3 every single round so far and in a car in which Stroll is now routinely almost dead last. Aston Martin’s development failures have been really depressing. McLaren seems to big a huge upgrade package every third race and AM seems to have only had one major upgrade the entire season (Canada).

    Finally, I love when they’re in Japan and I can get these sessions done by around midnight. Means, Saturday and Sunday are completely free.

    1. Yes, great job by alonso being so consistent, as he’s always been.

  13. ooof.. Looks like someone poked Verstappens cage with a stick a couple times. He was on a mission. Huge gap in the end from a car that seems even better in race trim than in quali all year. Add the factor it is usually much nicer on its tires than the other cars.
    If the red mist hasn’t cleared up before race time he’ll end up lapping the entire field.

    1. They for sure trim down the engine in the race. No need to waste it for more gap, then necessary to get a safe win.

      They probably would have been able to lap the whole field in half of the races this and last season.

      1. As far as I know, they can’t change power modes between qualy and race anymore.

      2. Another thing I don’t like, in the 90s there was actually way worse reliability, but people lapped the field, they didn’t care about managing.

  14. Instead of pursuing Norris, Red Bull should consider securing Piastri. After all, what are contracts for, if not for exploring new talents?

    1. He just signed an extension with McLaren.

      1. Yes, other disappointing news, although in recent times, if you don’t go to red bull, mclaren is one of the best places to be.

  15. Keith et al. — if it isn’t too much trouble, could you include the tire compounds in the Free Practice and Qualifying results?

    1. Indeed, would be useful, and a thing that’s been asked for years on here.

  16. Cant think of a stronger driver pairing at the moment than McLaren.

    1. Indeed, even when you feel a driver didn’t maximise the lap (I think it was norris in q2 in the last sector), piastri immediately did and was much closer to verstappen, when you have 2 drivers like this, the chance somerthing is left on the table for both cars is very little, a bit like mercedes too.

    2. They’re a great pair, but while I dislike both George and Lewis, I think they’re equally strong or better. However, with how young the pairing are, I’d rather have that pair.

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