Join DRAKE at STAKE F1 PARTNER
SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 and the rest of the field during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Japanese Grand Prix: Verstappen-Perez one-two, Red Bulls dominate

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 and the rest of the field during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Red Bull dominated the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez one-two at Suzuka out the World Champions well back on track after the blip in Melbourne. And in style!

On Sunday, at Suzuka packed to capacity with 229,000 Formula 1 fans, they witnessed the World Champions in full flight, on one of the sport’s greatest circuits, where there is nowhere to hide.

The Bulls were on another planet, another class as they cantered to their third one-two of the season. It was a crushing defeat. Over 20 seconds the gap to the next best which were easily the Ferraris but the gap is ominous. The RB20 getting better and better, and easier to drive.

JapaneseGP stats show that Verstappen won his 57th Grand Prix, by 12.5s ahead of his teammate Perez in P2. The gap to P3 – the Best of the Rest – was a whopping 20 seconds over their rivals plus the fastest lap, with some in hand one would imagine such is the dominance they can unleash on tap with the remarkable RB20.

Verstappen: It was very nice

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrate with Craig Dear, Principal Aerodynamicist at Oracle Red Bull Racing on the podium the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

In parc ferme, Verstappen said of his third win in a row at Suzuka: “It was very nice. The critical bit was the start to stay ahead and after that the car got better and better for me throughout the race, I don’t know if it had to do with the clouds coming in. Everything went well – pit stops, strategy. It couldn’t have been any better.

“The last race was a little hiccup the last race but very happy we are here back on top. Great fans and in front of Honda as well, it’s fantastic to win here,” added the World Champion, now on 77 points after four races.

Perez, on 64 points after Sunday’s race, is in a far better place with this car. Able to be more consistent, while no match for his teammate in terms of race-long pace. But he did what he had to do in Qualy, and again in the race. With his form better, more one-twos beckon for the Bulls

Perez: I think we are in a good momentum

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrate in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Perez reported afterwards: “It was a good weekend for the team. First of all, I think obviously with the start, doing that restart again, it’s always quite hard to keep the focus for such a long period of time. It worked alright. My second start was a little bit better but just not enough to get Max.

“I think we are in a good momentum. If you remember here last year was probably my worst weekend. So I think if we are strong in places like this with a lot of high and medium-speed corners, I think we can be strong anywhere else,” concluded Perez.

Ferrari had no answer but were easily better than the other chasers. Sainz was the better driver on the day, Leclerc in P4 was a little ragged but better than he did in Qualifying. Carlos got the nod and a free pass from his teammate to claim his third podium. His season of excellence continues, yet he remains jobless for now!

Sainz: I had to overtake a lot of cars out there

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 after a restart following a red flag period during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Ahead of his 21st F1 podium celebration, Sainz summed up his afternoon: “I had a good race. I’m very happy because it was quite tough out there with the degradation but then the clouds came and the degradation went a lot lower and I thought one-stop was quicker and we were on the two.

“I had to overtake a lot of cars out there. Overtaking was tricky, like always at Suzuka, you need to nail the last chicane to get a good run into Turn One. I could finish my moves but it was tough out there,” revealed the Spaniard.

Very much in a job next year is Leclerc finished P3 who was again overshadowed this weekend in Japan by the teammate he will say Ciao! to at the end of this season. He played the team game when told to move over, as Ferrari dug-in as number two in the pecking order at this stage of the title race. Driver of the Day went to the Monegasque today.

McLaren were better than expected, but it was Norris’ great Qualy effort that gave them P3 in Qualy. But in the race, Ferrari had the edge. In the end, Norris had no firepower to battle Leclerc at the end. Oscar Piastri did a solid job to finish P7.

Mercedes had a forgettable Japanese Grand Prix

George Russell and Oscar Piastri end up touching as the pair are involved in a brilliant battle at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The old war horse, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso split the McLarens in P6, he too delivered as beyond expectations if his teammate Lance Stroll down in P11 was anything to go by.

Mercedes tried to talk up their r5esurgence ahead of the race, Hamilton reportedly happier than he has been all year. That would’ve turned to disappointment by the end of a race in which the former World Champs had no answer to the top three teams.

Although they did find pace at the end of the race, after their off-kilter strategy, it was too little too late. Russell had Piastri on the last lap to steal P7 from the Aussie who had another solid weekend for one of his experience at one of the trickiest venues in the sport.

There will be a lot of head-scratching going on at Brackley after this performance. For Hamilton in P9, a five-time winner at Suzuka, it was a sad final Japanese GP for the Briton.

Tsunoda got the biggest cheer from the 229,000 home fans in Japan

Image

Yuki Tsunoda (must’ve lost Driver of the Day by a whisker) had one of his better days, claiming a point for VCARB, cheered loudest by the enthusiastic fans packed into the stands, The Japanese local hero delivering for them today. In contrast, his beleaguered and out-of-sorts teammate, Daniel Ricciardo crashed on the first lap, after colliding with the Williams of Alex Albon.

A Red Flag stoppage ensued for half an hour to repair the barrier damage, before the restart of the race. A big blow for the underfire Ricciardo and the stricken Williams F1 team. An incident neither can afford.

Outside of the top ten, Valterri Bottas (Sauber), Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen (Haas), as well as Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), were all in the wars, but no points to show for their efforts.

Alpine were again abysmal. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly simply do not have a car to race with. Cumbersome and slow the A524 is seriously lacking in all areas, P15 and P16 is unacceptable for a works team and they know it.

Report in progress…

2024 Japanese Grand Prix Result

2024 Japanese Grand Prix Result grapic verstappen perez sainz

How the Japanese Grand Prix unfolded:

The Top 10 lined up as follows: VER-PER-NOR-SAI-ALO-PIA-HAM-LEC-RUS-TSU

The race got underway under bright blue skies, cherry blossoms blooming magnificently, welcoming the
Fantastic launch by both Red Bulls and the starters behind them. Tsunoda was slowest off the line, he took his time to get going as they hurtled into Turn 1. But the race did not last long as Ricciardo and Albon collided at speed into Turn 3. Racing incident. Red Flag.

Image

Top 10 for the restart hardly changed: VER-PER-NOR-SAI-ALO-PIA-HAM-LEC-RUS-HUL. Tsunoda dropping down to 12th with Hulkenberg up to P10. For the start, Mercedes opted for the white band Hard tyres, while Sainz remained on Softs as was Hulkenberg. The rest in the Top 10 including the Red Bulls on Mediums.

Start 2 minus two cars. Perez gets a good launch forcing Verstappen to block down to Turn 1. All well behaved. Leclerc edges past Hamilton. Tsunoda gets by Russell. Hard tyre was hurting the Mercs at this stage. After the first lap in anger (Lap 4 of 53) Verstappen led from Perez by a second, he too a second ahead of Norris and the chasing pack. Ocon reports contact with Gasly.

On lap 5, Russell was back past Tsunoda for P9. At which point, at the front Verstappen sets the fastest laop edging ahead about four-tenths per lap. Perez doing the same with chasing Norris. The RBRs were on another level. Pit stops ensued as drivers ditched the softs.

Top 10 on Lap 10: VER-PER-NOR-SAI-ALO-PIA-LEC-HAM-RUS-STR

Image

The gap between Verstappen in P1 and Perez in P2 up to 2.7 seconds and growing, Perez 2.8s ahead of P3 Norris stalked by Sainz. Then a ten second gap to Alonso in P5 still on the Softs, with teammate Stroll into P10.

On Lap 12, Norris first of the front-runners to stop for Hards, emerging in P10. A flurry of stops began up and down the order. The Mercs were running nose to tail.

The next dozen laps was all about strategy. Mercedes on Hards were going backwards. Hamilton suffering after allowing Russell a free pass. On the 20 lap mark the pits became a hive of activity that carried on for several laps. It was hectic.

Leclerc was out of position until Ferrari ordered him to pit on lap 27 as did McLaren for Norris’ second stop.

When the dust settled around the halfway mark, the order was:

Top 10: VER-PER-SAI-ALO-PIA-LEC-NOR-RUS-HAM-HUL

Image

Glaringly obvious the Mercedes were struggling no matter what strategy they threw at it, their cars were easy meat. Ditto further back the Alpine’s, embarrassingly slow doing drivers Gasly and Ocon no favours.

At the front Verstappen led Perez by 10-seconds with Sainz a further five seconds back, the trio on the podium at this stage. Alonso was eight seconds ahead of Alonso. Gap from Verstappen to Hulkenberg, the top ten, was 100 seconds at this stage. Staemate at this stage.

On Lap 34 Perez pits from P2. Tsunoda thrilling the crowd picking off Stroll in Turn 6, into the points. Alonso pits too, emerging P8 ahead of Piastri. Verstappen pits handing the lead to Sainz. The #1 RBR emerges P4 four seconds behind the Ferrari who still had to stop. Hulkenberg also pits. More stops, including Stroll and Sargeant.

On lap 36 Perez swoops past Leclerc to take P3 with ease from the Ferrari, the Mexican seven seconds down on Verstappen shod with fresh Hards closing fast in on Sainz with aging Hards, before he pits on lap 37.

Top 10 on Lap 40: VER-PER-LEC-NOR-SAI-HAM-ALO-PIA-RUS

Verstappen led Perez by eight seconds. P3 was Leclerc with a stop in hand four seconds adrift of the Bulls, and Norris within two seconds of the Ferrari ahead and five seconds behind the McLaren was Sainz. Hamilton pits from P6, which goes to Alonso 9.5s behind his fellow Spaniard.

Lap 42 a yellow flag for Sargeant after an excursion, without damage. At this point Sainz was on the move, getting by Norris. The Spaniard now targeting his teammate, 1.3s up the road. The pecking order was clear: Blues, Reeds and the Rest.

Would LEC and SAI be allowed to race?

Image

No. Charles got the “Carlos is faster than you call.”

A stalemate ensued. But Mercedes were coming alive. Russell on Piastri’s tale in DRS battling hard, wheel-to-wheel, corner cutting et al, with Alonso in P6 watching the action in his mirror. In th end it was RUS P7 and PIA P8 with Hamilton watching the action ahead in P9.

Biggest cheer went to Tsunoda for his fine drive to P10 and a valuable point to add to the six he bagged in Australia two weeks earlier.

At the front, it was a comprehensive one-two for Red Bull. Verstappen 20 seconds clear of Sainz, again the best of the rest in his Ferrari, a testament to the gulf between the World Champions and their chasing rivals.

2024 Japanese Grand Prix Result grapic verstappen perez sainz


Preview 2024 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix

Round 4 of the 2024 FIA F1 World Championship 2024 Japanese grand Prix starting grid

One-two on the grid for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix today should be converted into a one-two at the end of the race for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez no matter what they say about their rivals being closer at Suzuka than in the previous three races.

Round 4 of the 2024 FIA F1 World Championship should be a stroll among the cherry blossoms for the Wortd Champions despite Max and Checo suggesting they are in for a fight today at Suzuka.

I will call their bluff as BS. The only thing in their way is themselves, aka brake-jam or other forms of force majeure. If the Red Bull RB20 is vulnerable at all, it will be at the high downforce tracks such as Melbourne, Monaco, Hungary etc. But Suzuka is built for Adrian Newey cars, race pace-wise as we shall see today.

So watch the Blue cars disappear into the blue as the gaggle of other colours chase today. If anyone is going to dethrone the Bulls, former teammates Lando Norris (McLaren) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) will be front of the line, with the Spaniard fresh from his Melbourne triumph, and the Briton hankering for his first Grand Prix win.

Norris: In the race normally they pull away

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 06: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing (R), Second placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing (L), Third placed qualifier Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren (second from left) and Jean Alesi (second from right) pose for a photo in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 06, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Leading the Bull chase today, Norris provided the reality check: “It’s so tricky, Sergio is doing a good job. So there’s one much harder car to keep up with. But we proved last year when we were further away from them that we could keep in touch and not be miles behind. So that’ll be our target.

“But I think realistically, we’re still too far away to challenge them they are too quick for us. Yes, we are quicker in qualifying. But in the race normally they pull away a bit more,” added Norris.

Fernando Alonso is always an explosive ingredient wherever he starts, watch what he can do from P5, or not. Because the Aston Martin AMR24 is tricky to drive (ask Lance Stroll down in P16. So it could be freefall down the order if the first three races are anything to go by.

Another testing race for Oscar Piastri putting his McLaren among the big guns to see what he can do to stay close to his teammate at least. Ditto Charles Leclerc whose form has dipped, while Sainz’s is on the rise.

A lacklustre Leclerc versus Sainz with nothing to lose and lots to prove

sainz Japanese Grand Prix: Red Bull bluffing, rivals are not closer

Have Ferrari fired the wrong Charlie for 2025? Leclerc has work to do to convince his bosses he indeed is the right guy to partner incoming Lewis Hamilton next year.

Speaking of which, Mercedes were again disappointingly lost with their package. One gets the feeling they make changes to the setup of their cars, say a prayer and then watch the data with trepidation. They still don;t know what car will turn up to the races, the bad one or the very bad one.

Will Lewis and George go backwards today in Japan? A 50/50 chance, again depends which W15 decides to pitch up on Sunday.

Other Japanese Grand Prix storylines worth keeping an eye on:

  • Who bins it first? Sargeant, Sargeant or Sargeant? Or Stroll?
  • Can Dan make a plan and beat Yuki for a change? How much longer Dr Marko and Mr Horner?
  • Behind the first six rows… Who cares? Nothing of interest to see there apart from a couple of Haas oldtimers who like to flex their muscles.

Japanese Grand Prix: Stats & Info by Reuters

suzuka aerial-001 japanese grand prix s1 betting

  • Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Round 4 of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship
  • Lap distance: 5.807km. Total distance: 307.471km (53 laps)
  • 2023 pole position: Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull one minute 28.877 seconds.
  • 2023 race winner: Verstappen
  • Race lap record: Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes, 2019: One minute 30.983 seconds.
  • Start time: 0500GMT (1400 local)
  • Sunday’s race will be the 38th Japanese Grand Prix in world championship history and 34th at Suzuka. The race was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The narrow, high-speed circuit is old-style in a figure-of-eight layout, with fast corners Degner 1 and 2, Spoon and 130R, taken at 295kph.
  • Of current drivers, Hamilton has won five times in Japan (2007 at Fuji, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) and Fernando Alonso twice (2006 Suzuka and 2008 Fuji). Other winners are Verstappen (2022, 2023) and Valtteri Bottas (2019).
  • Verstappen has won the last two Japanese Grands Prix, taking victory last year by 19.387 seconds.
  • Ferrari last won at Suzuka, a Honda-owned circuit, with Michael Schumacher in 2004. The German won the Japanese Grand Prix a record six times, with a total of eight in the country when the Pacific Grands Prix at Aida are included.
  • In 33 races at Suzuka, the winner has come from the front row on 28 occasions and been on pole in 17. Kimi Raikkonen won from 17th on the grid in 2005 with McLaren.
  • Ten of the last 17 winners have started on pole.
  • RB’s Yuki Tsunoda is the only Japanese driver on the starting grid, although Ayumu Iwasa will be taking part in first practice for the Red Bull-owned team instead of Daniel Ricciardo.

2024 F1 World Championship Points

2024 Formula 1 Standings points 2024 f1 standings after round 3 australia drivers constructorsb

Victories, Pole Positions & Podiums

  • Verstappen has won two of three races this season, his run of nine wins in a row ended in Australia by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
  • Sainz is the only driver to have beaten Red Bull since 2022.
  • Hamilton has a record 103 career victories from 335 starts but is chasing his first since 2021 — a run of 48 races without a win.
  • Red Bull won 21 of 22 races last year, with Verstappen victorious in a record 19, and have won 33 of the last 36.
  • The team have won 115 races and are fourth in the all-time list of winners. Ferrari lead with 244, McLaren have 183 and Mercedes 125.
  • Verstappen has won 56 grands prix and is third on the all-time list. Michael Schumacher is second on 91.
  • Hamilton has a record 104 career poles, his most recent in Hungary last year.
  • Verstappen has qualified on pole in all three races so far this year and the last four in total. He can become the first driver since Hamilton in 2015 to take pole in the opening four races of a season.
  • Verstappen has 100 career podiums.
  • The Red Bull driver set a record of 21 podiums in a season last year but Michael Schumacher remains the only driver to have stood on the podium in every race of a season (2002).

Milestone

  • Verstappen needs 39 laps in the lead to reach a career total of 3,000, a milestone previously achieved only by Hamilton, Schumacher, and Sebastian Vettel.