F1 qualifying LIVE: Max Verstappen on pole position but could receive penalty at Japanese GP

F1 qualifying LIVE: Max Verstappen on pole position but could receive penalty at Japanese GP

How Max Verstappen Can Win His Second F1 Title At The Japanese GP

Max Verstappen has another opportunity to claim his second world title this weekend as Formula 1 returns to Suzuka for the first time since 2019 for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull star – 104 points clear of Charles Leclerc in the standings – will be crowned champion in Japan if he wins and sets the fastest lap on Sunday.

Verstappen is looking to bounce back after a disappointing weekend in Singapore, finishing seventh, while his team-mate Sergio Perez claimed victory. Leclerc came home second, with Carlos Sainz in third.

Lewis Hamilton also endured a difficult Sunday in the rain of Singapore, finishing ninth after crashing into the barriers, while Mercedes team-mate George Russell came home in last place. Hamilton, still looking for his first win of the season, is a five-time winner in Japan. Fernando Alonso was quickest in the wet of FP1 on Friday with Russell leading a Mercedes one-two a few hours later in second practice.

Follow live with The Independent – qualifying started at 7am (BST).

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Sergio Perez…

“It wasn’t a great day of quali but we will try everything come tomorrow.

“I have to push tomorrow, we will try everything we can. At the moment the rain will come at some point, maybe towards later in the race.”

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton…

“We were losing a lot of time on the straights, but the car was feeling good otherwise. My laps were good – we kind of anticipated it going in.

“It depends on the conditions, if it rains I think we didn’t look too bad yesterday. We should be a bit closer than we were today, looking for a better race than last week.

“A real reach to say we can get a win, those guys are nine-tenths off ahead.”

(AFP via Getty Images)

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel…

“Love this place, love this track – you feel more alive. When you’re battling with the car, there’s just a big smile.

“Laps like this make me, not regret, but sad that it’s the last time. Saturday is different from Sunday, we are flying. Feeling in the car is something special when the fuel is light and the tires are fresh.”

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Yuki Tsunoda

On his brake issue: “Definitely affected my performance. Not ideal. Lost a bit of consistency in braking and had to do extra work, we struggled more than usual.”

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Will Max Verstappen get a penalty?

Article 33.4: “At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner potentially dangerous to other drivers.”

Has Max Verstappen fallen foul of that? Jenson Button Sky F1says Verstappen has – “in all 3 counts.”

“I also don’t think Max knew Lando was coming,” the 2009 world champion adds. “Lando was going so fast. None of it was intentional – but it could have been a massive incident. He could well get a penalty.”

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Lando Norris…

“It was quite clear he tried to defend against me in that moment, there’s no rule. Doing what he did is something you cannot do, everyone always overtakes before the last corner. I wouldn’t have swerved at him if I was in his position.

“Yeah for sure,” when asked if he expects Verstappen to get a penalty.

“It’s tough. Opportunities to try different things, we’ll just have to see…”

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Christian Horner…

On Verstappen/Norris incident: “They’re both on out laps and there’s a gentleman’s agreement to stay in position by that point of the circuit. Lando has decided he wants to jump the tail. I don’t think he was expecting for someone by that chicaine to be going past. Lando did it again on the final run as well – they’re all trying to do different things with the tires, only imagine Lando wanted to blitz 130R.

“It was a big lap from him to get that first lap in the bag. We’ll do the best job we can – it could get quite scrawly.

“Whether it happens here or Austin or Mexico, as long as it happens before Abu Dhabi – we’re just focusing one race at a time.

“Sergio always races better than he qualifies, variable conditions could help him.”

He finishes his interview by wishing his daughter Olivia a happy birthday, nice touch!

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz…

“It was a clean lap until the last corner, picked up some wheel-spin. It’s a shame to be half-a-tenth from pole, so many qualities now where it’s been half-a-tenth!

“The weather is going to play its part, we don’t know when – there’s plenty of things which could happen tomorrow. Great opportunity starting in P3, we saved a set of softs, so we’re in a good position to fight Max tomorrow.”

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Charles Leclerc…

“It’s a tricky lap here, tried to find that balance but lost the tires a little bit in the last sector. It’s so close with everyone but we’ll try to have a good one tomorrow.

“Very limited amount of data going into the race. Feeling in the car was very good, should be some rain so should be a good race. Hopefully we can give it a good shot tomorrow.”

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F1 qualifying – Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen…

“Pretty incredible to drive here, these cars come alive in the first sector – super happy to be on pole. The first lap was good enough.”

On Norris incident: “I was driving quite slow, wanted to accelerate, had a bit of a moment, he had to avoid me but nothing happened.

(Getty Pictures)