Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2024

Japan was first race where Red Bull’s winning margin was bigger than last year

2024 Japanese GP stats and facts

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The Japanese Grand Prix wasn’t just another routine win for Red Bull. Ominously for the team’s rivals, it was the first time this year Red Bull’s winning margin over their closest competitor was bigger than the year before.

In Bahrain Max Verstappen‘s 25.1-second margin over third-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr was 13 seconds less than his advantage over the next non-Red Bull the year before. In Saudi Arabia, where Sergio Perez won in 2023, Red Bull’s winning margin was only slightly less – 18.6s compared to 20.7s.

But in Japan, after the winning RB20 took the chequered flag, the next rival machine arrived 20.8 seconds later. That’s one-and-a-half seconds longer than at the same race last year.

In a repeat of last year, Verstappen won at Suzuka having seen his winning streak end at the previous round, which Sainz won.

Mika Hakkinen, McLaren, Suzuka, 1998
Hakkinen is one of Finland’s five race-winners
Verstappen maintained his monopoly on success at Suzuka, which he has held since F1 returned to the venue after the pandemic. This was his third consecutive Japanese Grand Prix victory, matched only by Michael Schumacher from 2000 to 2002.

It was Verstappen’s 57th win and therefore, as he is the Netherlands’ only F1 race-winner, the 57th for a Dutch driver. He has single-handedly equalled the total wins scored by all Finnish drivers, including world champions Kimi Raikkonen (21 wins), Mika Hakkinen (20) and Keke Rosberg (five) plus Valtteri Bottas (10) and Heikki Kovalainen (one).

Red Bull scored their seventh win in the Japanese Grand Prix. They have now won this race as many times as Ferrari, though McLaren have the record for most victories with nine.

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This was the fifth win for a Honda-designed engine in their home race (all of which have come at their own Suzuka track) though not all those motors carried a simple ‘Honda’ designation. Verstappen’s title-clinching 2022 win was powered by an engine officially designated ‘Red Bull Powertrains’, though it was designed by Honda prior to their departure from F1. Since then the engines have been known as ‘Honda RBPT’.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2024
Sainz’s fine season continued
Verstappen’s victory came from his fifth consecutive pole position, which equals his personal best run he previously achieved between the Monaco and British grands prix last year. It was also his fourth consecutive pole position since the season started, a feat last achieved by Lewis Hamilton in 2015.

He chalked up the 99th pole position for Red Bull. They scored their first 15 years ago at the Chinese Grand Prix, meaning they can achieve their 100th at the same venue next week.

Perez joined Verstappen on the front row, giving Red Bull their first front row lock-out in over a year. These have been surprisingly infrequent during the team’s recent spell of dominance: Of their 27 front row lock-outs, only four involved Verstappen, where the other 23 featured Sebastian Vettel and were achieved prior to 2014.

Verstappen ensured a maximum haul of points by setting his 32nd fastest lap, picking up the bonus point. He therefore also took the 13th hat-trick of pole, fastest lap and win of his career.

Sainz’s strong season continued in Japan. He reached the podium for the third time in as many starts and has not yet finished behind any car besides a Red Bull. Were it not for his absence from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to illness, he would surely be second in the points standings instead of fourth.

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Charles Leclerc became the fourth different driver to lead a race this year, joining Sainz, Verstappen and Lando Norris. Remarkably, Perez in the second Red Bull has not led a single lap this year. Verstappen has already led 151, more than his team mate managed in the whole of last year. Perez has, however, spent 120 laps in second place sofa in 2024.

Alpine’s form has slumped to their early 2017 levels
Yuki Tsunoda brought cheer to his home fans by scoring the final point for 10th place. This was the first point scored at home by a Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi stood in the third place spot on the podium after the 2012 race.

There were no points for Alpine again, who have now gone five races without scoring. The last time this team endured such a drought was a seven-race spell from the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix to the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix, when it still competed as Renault.

For the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix last year, more than one driver retired on the first lap of the race. On both occasions Alexander Albon was one of the drivers.

On this occasion the other was Daniel Ricciardo, who already missed the opening practice session as Ayumu Iwasa was in his car. As a result Ricciardo only officially completed 45 laps over the entire weekend – less than a grand prix distance. So he may not have been too disappointed to be on testing duty yesterday, when he logged 106 laps.

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Over to you

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Japanese Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2024 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Japanese Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Japan was first race where Red Bull’s winning margin was bigger than last year”

  1. Two Japanese drivers shared the Suzuka circuit in an official GP weekend session for the first time since 2010 when Kamui Kobayashi & Sakon Yamamoto participated as full-time drivers.

    Fernando Alonso’s highest Japanese GP starting position since 2014.

    Alexander Albon suffered his third consecutive Japanese GP DNF.
    He simply seems unable to catch a break in Suzuka.

    Logan Sargeant finished last (either wholly last or as the last runner) for the second time this season, with the season-opening Bahrain GP being the first such race & likewise, the second race with VER-PER-SAI podium trio, with the Bahrain GP coincidently also the first for this trio.

    For the second time this season, the ninth-place driver was the last to finish on the lead lap.

  2. Verstappen became the fourth driver in history to reach 3,000 career laps led (after Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton).

    Verstappen’s scored his 2nd hattrick of 2024 and became the 2nd driver to achieve 2 or more hattricks in 4 consecutive seasons (2021 3x, 2022 2x, 2023 6x & 2024 2x). Michael Schumacher achieved same with 2001 2x, 2002 4x, 2003 3x and 2004 5x.
    Jim Clark (1962-1965) and Hamilton (2014-2017) also achieve hattricks in 4 consecutive seasons but not 2 each season. Alain Prost is the only driver to have scored a hattrick in 5 consecutive seasons from 1982 to 1986 he scored exactly 1 hattrick per season.

    Despite the mechanical failure in Australia Max extended his record of most wins within a rolling 3 year period to 47 wins. Lewis is 2nd with 35 wins and Schumacher 3rd with 32 wins.

    Obviously with more races per year these days it is easier to win more in the rolling 3 year period. But also when looking at wins in last 50 races – Max extended his record to now 38 wins (=76%) with Lewis and Schumacher joined 2nd with 31 wins (62%).

    If you expand that to last 100 races Max is 2nd with 52 wins, Lewis 1st with 55 wins and Schumacher 3rd with 50 wins.
    Looking at podiums in last 100 races Max improved to 77 podiums but also here is 2nd behind Lewis who has the record with 82 podiums in 100 races (2014 Austria/UK to 2019 Canada/France).

  3. Coventry Climax
    10th April 2024, 10:29

    Perez joined Verstappen on the front row, giving Red Bull their first front row lock-out in over a year. These have been surprisingly infrequent during the team’s recent spell of dominance: Of their 27 front row lock-outs, only four involved Verstappen, where the other 23 featured Sebastian Vettel and were achieved prior to 2014.

    Statistically correct I’m sure, but what a weird thing to say or -at least- phrase it.
    A frontrow lockout (FRL) requires two drivers by definition, but this ‘statistic’ focusses on single drivers, different periods. If you look at the number of Verstappen poles over ‘his’ period, it’s certainly not his fault FRL’s didn’t happen as frequently as in the Vettel era.
    If anything, this statistic tells you something about the quality of the other -second if you will- drivers at RBR, and not about Vettel or Verstappen.

  4. I understood that Checo was comfortable driving but not that he was driving on a sofa LOL

    1. Ahah, good catch, I didn’t notice that!

  5. Perez’s first top 3 start in Suzuka.

    First season whose first 4 races all finished in 1-2 finishes with multiple teams winning.

    2nd time in the last 3 seasons that Albon has failed to complete lap 1 in Japan.

    Only the fourth race in the last 20 years that has technically been red-flagged on lap 1, following Britain 2014, Bahrain 2020 and Britain 2022 (others have been red-flagged due to lap 1 incidents but not actually red-flagged until a later lap).

    The two most recent red flags have both been due to a lap 1 collision between Albon and a driver who stood on the podium in Australia 2014.

    2nd race in a row where Bottas has started 13th and finished 14th.

    Ricciardo’s first non-finish since his non-appearance in Qatar 2023. Piastri and Ocon now have the longest unbroken run of seeing the chequered flag (both last failed to do so in USA 2023).

    First time since Qatar 2023 that no Ferrari started on the front row.

    Thanks to statsf1 and the official F1 site for some of these.

  6. No Finnish winner for two years and counting. That’s not natural…Who’s going to lead the fightback against Verstappen? (Antonelli doesn’t count!)

    1. Mmm, after hakkinen left we only had 2 good finnish drivers and with raikkonen no longer being so good the last years before he left and bottas no longer in a top team, that statistic is gonna extend for a while, even cause I don’t see bottas being back in a car good enough.

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