Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2024

Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in Japan after crash halts race

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappencontrolled the Japanese Grand Prix to take a comfortable victory ahead of team mate Sergio Perez at Suzuka.

The Red Bull driver extended his championship lead by bouncing back from his retirement at the previous round in Australia in winning style.

Perez finished over 10 seconds behind his team mate in second, while Carlos Sainz Jnr took the final podium position in third after passing Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc in the closing laps.

A crash at the start between Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Albon on the opening lap sent both cars into the barriers at turn three, bringing out a red flag. The race was suspended for around half an hour, before a second standing start resumed the race on lap three with the top six drivers on the grid all retaining their positions.

Much warmer track temperatures than the opening two days of the weekend led to tyre degredation being high, with the majority of the field making at least two green flag pit stops. Verstappen controlled his pace comfortably out front, taking the chequered flag over ten seconds ahead of Perez for his third win of the season.

Sainz was around 10 seconds behind Perez at the finish, while Leclerc finished in fourth after being the only driver in the top ten to make just one stop after the restart. Lando Norris finished fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso in sixth and George Russell in seventh after passing Oscar Piastri for the position on the final lap.

Lewis Hamilton came in ninth after allowing his fellow Mercedes driver by early in the grand prix. Yuki Tsunoda claimed the final point in 10th to score his first top ten finish at home. Zhou Guanyu was the only other retirement after the restart, being stopped by his Sauber team with a gearbox problem.

Verstappen claimed the bonus point for fastest lap, meaning his lead in the championship has increased to 13 points over Perez, who has moved up to second ahead of Leclerc.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2024 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Japanese Grand Prix articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

20 comments on “Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in Japan after crash halts race”

  1. Unsurprisingly, red-flagging for something manageable with SC (& definitely would’ve been the resorted choice in Charlie’s time).
    Red-flagging is clearly an obsession when someone goes off on the ‘opening’ lap specifically.
    Quite a good variation in strategies & a wholly expectable RBR 1-2, although Merc & Alpine strategies post-suspension were a bit weird, not that the latter pair would’ve finished any higher anyway.
    Another silly unforced error by Sargeant & the same with Ricciardo against Albon, albeit a racing incident nevertheless.

    1. You know how much I hate this insanely, over cautious F1 and their constant RFs and SCs for what used to be a waved yellow, but not sure what an SC would have gained us besides wasting a bunch of racing laps behind the SC.

      1. Laps may have been lost for slow-driving, but zero risk of ending up finishing under SC conditions when a race is in its very early phase.

        1. I agree, but I’d prefer preserving additional green laps. I guess it just comes down to how you’d like to see the race unfold. Maybe it would have mixed up strategies a bit more. We’ll never know.

          Frankly, F1 has gotten so ridiculous, I was pleasantly surprised they didn’t throw a short VSC for Logan. And, believe me, if they had most fans wouldn’t have complained and would call me a monster for calling it an unnecessary VSC.

          1. Like I say, if the usual suspects call you a monster you must be doing something right

          2. I like that line. And, yeah, especially these days. Whackos to each end of the spectrum are in unlimited supply.

    2. Heh, there were repairs to be made to the tyre walls, and these are typically quite long. I don’t think it had anything to do with safety, and more with “let’s have 50 green flag laps instead of 32”.

    3. Jere, no I thought the red flag was absolutely the right decision. What is the point of watching cars parade around behind a safety car for 30 minutes? It was so close to the start of the race, and red flagging it didn’t create any random advantages for anyone. Repairing a barrier like that takes time, and if you can get the trucks on quicky to pull the cars out and get a lot of people on track to do the repirs, it is quicker. If they’d had the SC out then it takes a lot of that freedom away. Red flag was absolutely the right thing to do.

    4. I was happy they red flagged it. Yes F1 is extremely cautious these days and in the Bernie era that wouldn’t have happened, but come on, if they didn’t red flag it then all that would’ve happened would’ve been 10-15 safety car laps. Given that alternative, give me the red flag any day.

  2. I have never missed as many races as I have missed this season already, ever since I started watching 16 years ago. Totally uninterested and again I read this headline and think I didn’t miss anything while getting some necessary sleep in the morning. Will be watching the highlights later today.

    1. I mean, for this era it’s a 7/10, which is so sad. It’d be a 2/10 in the era prior to this current generation of car and safety cars for everything. The so-called spectacular passes were either just insane tire mismatches or basically a DRS pass into turn 1.

    2. You are no alone. I’ve been a fan since 1994 and I can no longer bring myself to watch a race. The rapid decline is very sad. Fortunately grass roots racing has it’s moments. Maybe I’m just getting old.

      1. It’s additionally depressing knowing they’re not addressing the weight or size anywhere close to enough, that we’ll continue with these ridiculous wheels and probably as bad as anything, they’re going to be relying even more heavily on batteries. So, we know the chances of the racing improving are going to be extremely low. Finally, I doubt any team will produce anything close to what Newey will come up with. If they don’t have a power deficit, it’ll be more dominance.

        Personally, the only thing I have zero problem with that is often a whipping boy is the budget cap. I see zero reason why unlimited budgets would improve anything.

        1. I agree on the unlimited budget probably not improving things and unlimited spending is always dangerous.

          With sustainable fuel coming through couldn’t F1 be leading the world with that technology? Drop the heavy battery and recovery systems and revert to a screaming V10 run on 100% sustainable fuel. The cars would be smaller and lighter and sound a whole lot better and would push that technology along at a greater speed. Battery technology can be developed in Formula E. Why are road car companies so obsessed with electrification in F1 engines? If anyone has seen a current F1 car up close you will know just how huge they are.

          1. I’d love that, Mr. Bernie.

    3. Totally agree, the last few years has been a total snooze fest. I gave up watching when everything was pay walled on Sky , and was heart broken when that happend, but they are welcome to it now.

      Waiting eagerly for the BTCC season to start, that’s real racing.

  3. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    7th April 2024, 11:32

    Just caught the “highlights” – I get the impression this race was less bad than previous, perhaps?

    I’ve yet to watch a live race this season, I just can’t bring myself to put 90 mins aside for it currently, sad really.

    1. There was quite a bit of interest behind the inevitable Red Bull 1-2, but it was mostly down to diverging strategies, so it depends whether that sort of racing interests you or not.

  4. I found it an enjoyable race. Red flag was absolutely required, repairs take a long time and have to be done safe. Only drawback for me was that the race now ended after midnight, got a little late. Seeing perfection at the two! starts from both Max and Checo, different strategies mixing up the field leading to interesting duels, perfect pit crew work from RB to get Yuri to a tenth place finish, nice defensive work from Alonso, a pity that it didn’t work one more lap. For me enough to see that I enjoyed it.

    Nothing to complain about from FIA or FOM or the stewards either. I do agree with all the decisions (mainly “no further action”) that were taken.

    I am a little bit done with Ricciardo. It was not completely (100%) his fault, but he is supposed to be the smart guy with lots of experience, so a dumb move by him. I got the impression that he was a little upset that Yuki could so easily repass him on the right side that he just closed that door.

  5. The belief that all of the world’s manufacturers are required to be in the field (except for GM/Cadillac??) so let’s induce everyone with overly complicated, large and heavy hybrid power units is killing the sport. And the constant regulatory changes. This phase of the ground effect era (2022-2025) is only four years. Then change the rules for 2026? That is ridiculous. The racing is less competitive early in regulatory eras as some team nail it (RB) and some completely whiff (Merc). and get rid of the huge and heavy tires.

    And stop pandering to the DTS crowd who will be gone in 3 years. The racing was far better when the cars were simple and small. we don’t need hybrid systems if there is sustainable fuel.

    And having three races in a row in AUS, JAP, CHN only makes sense if the races are in consecutive weeks. Having a week off between each means that everything is flown back to Europe and then flown back to Asia. Jesus, how dumb are these people.

Comments are closed.