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F1 Japanese GP - Verstappen Wins a Dramatic Red-Flagged Race

Written by Owen Bradley

Credit: Mark Thompson


Formula One returns to the Suzuka circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix in 2024, an iconic venue which has delivered many classic races. However, we return to Suzuka only a number of months on since the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix. With the trees blossoming, which drivers will blossom and find their way to the front of the field?


Race Results


1st Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2nd Sergio Perez, Red Bull

3rd Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

4th Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

5th Lando Norris, McLaren

6th Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

7th George Russell, Mercedes

8th Oscar Piastri, McLaren

9th Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

10th Yuki Tsunoda, RB

11th Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

12th Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

13th Kevin Magnussen, Haas

14th Valtteri Bottas, Stake Sauber

15th Esteban Ocon, Alpine

16th Pierre Gasly, Alpine

17th Logan Sargeant, Williams

DNF Guanyu Zhou, Stake Sauber

DNF Daniel Ricciardo, RB

DNF Alex Albon, Williams


Grand Prix


The Japanese Grand Prix would begin with a dramatic crash between Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Albon, the Williams driver had seen a gap on the right side of Ricciardo's RB heading into Turn 3, but with Ricciardo caught out by Lance Stroll's Aston Martin on the inside, he didn't quite see the Williams, turning across and into the path of the Williams, and sending them both into a massive crash which broke the barriers.

Credit: Kym Illman


RED FLAG, RESTART


After a period of around 20 minutes, we finally got back underway. This time around, the field would all be very well-behaved as a few drivers filtered their way through the pack. Lance Stroll would go from P16 to P12 after the end of Lap 6, making steady progress at a circuit where the Aston Martin has shown decent pace.


Many people switched strategies under the Red Flag, including both Mercedes drivers as they moved to the Hard compound tyre, a move that really did not pay off for them in the end. The first runners to make a pit stop were the Soft runners, only about 10 laps into the race as they switched to the Hard tyres as well. It would be a strange and strategic race, as the entire field was on split strategies.


Eventually, as Lando Norris would be the first one to stop out of the front-runners to go onto the Hard tyres, the entire field would also pit. Norris though, would surprisingly jump a lot of drivers in the field with the undercut, managing to even get within a couple seconds of Max Verstappen, as the Reigning Champion would have to overtake the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.


Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton would voluntarily give George Russell track position, as he really started struggling with tyre grip and wear, losing a lot of positions before making his final stop. Many overtakes throughout the midfield and backmarkers, the DRS proving to be very effective on the main straight.

Credit: Mark Thompson


Yuki Tsunoda would delight his adoring home crowd, managing to defend from a number of cars behind him, and getting himself into 10th position, and a points finish.


Fernando Alonso would manage to maintain his gap to Oscar Piastri, who would eventually be overtaken by George Russell on the Final Lap, after a hard fought battle and a mistake from the Australian. Logan Sargeant would lock up heavily into the sharp Turn 10, going straight off and into the gravel, kicking up all the gravel onto the entry to Turn 10, which in turn also led to a couple of mistakes from drivers.


Carlos Sainz was flying in the last 10 laps, overtaking Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc for another podium finish.

Credit: Clive Mason


However, it would be Max Verstappen who bounced back from his disappointing retirement in Australia, with a dominating victory against the field. Sergio Perez had a strong weekend, looking only a fraction slower than Verstappen at times and bringing home a Red Bull 1-2. Carlos Sainz would continue his strong form, overtaking a lot of his competitors at the end of the race and being rewarded with his 21st podium finish in F1.


The Chinese Grand Prix makes its long-awaited return in two weeks time, the last time F1 raced at Shanghai was the 1000th F1 race back in 2019, and this year it will be a Sprint race as well.


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