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Japanese Grand Prix 2023: Max Verstappen returns to form, takes pole ahead of McLaren drivers

After finishing outside the podium for the first time this season in Singapore, the leader Max Verstappen takes the pole for the ninth time in 2023 in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Published on: September 23, 2023 16:49 IST
Max Verstappen at Qualifying session at Japanese Grand Prix
Image Source : GETTY Max Verstappen at Qualifying session at Japanese Grand Prix 2023 on Sep 23

Max Verstappen takes a pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix 2023 on Saturday, September 23, beating McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. The Dutch racer failed to make the podium for the first time in 2023 when he finished fifth in the previous race at the Singapore Grand Prix last Sunday, but dominated the qualifying session in Japan to make a sensational return.

Red Bull Racing, the leading constructors this season, has won every race this season but endured a poor result in Singapore. But both of their drivers, Max and Sergio PerezVerstappen recorded the best finish with 1:28:877 in the final session, almost a second ahead of Piastri who registered the second fast lap of 1:29:458. Carlos Sainz, winner in Singapore, will take the sixth place on the grid in Japan while his teammate Charles Leclerc will start in the fourth position on Sunday.

Perez also improved his form and takes fifth place on the grid ahead of the seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedez partner George Russell. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Aston Martin's veteran Fernando Alonso will be the remaining two drivers to start from the top ten positions on Sunday.

Japanese Grand Prix 2023 Grid: 

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) - 1:28.877
  2. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) - 1:29.458
  3. Lando Norris (McLaren) -  1:29.493
  4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) -  1:29.542
  5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing) -  1:29.650
  6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) - 1:29:850
  7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedez) - 1:29:908
  8. George Russell (Meredez) - 1:30:219
  9. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) - 1:30:303
  10. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) - 1:30:560

Max revealed his thoughts on taking the pole in the Japanese Grand Prix and also talked about the preparation for the main race on Sunday.

“It’s been an incredible weekend so far, especially in qualifying, where you can really push it to the limit, it felt really, really nice,” Verstappen said after the qualifying session on Saturday. “We had a bad weekend in Singapore. I already felt from the preparation we had that this was going to be a good track, but you never really know how good it’s going to be. From lap one it’s been really, really nice. Of course, you try to find little improvements here and there, and I think we did that. To be on pole here is fantastic.”

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