2024 Japanese GP FP1: Verstappen Fastest & Sargeant Crashes

Max Verstappen made a strong start in his bid to bounce back from his unexpected DNF in Melbourne with a Red Bull 1-2 in an improved RB20.


By Ben Bush
Updated on April 6, 2024

Super Formula racer Ayumu Iwasa made his F1 weekend debut with RB
Super Formula racer Ayumu Iwasa made his F1 weekend debut with RB

During Friday’s FP1 for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the pack, with the fastest lap ahead of teammate Sergio Perez. Meanwhile, Logan Sargeant’s FP1 crash for Williams brought out the red flag.

The practice session started under cool, mostly dry conditions, with drivers starting their runs on medium and hard tyres. The reigning drivers’ champion, Verstappen, quickly set the benchmark on the C1 tyre, outpacing McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who were on the C2.

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As Lewis Hamilton switched to soft tyres, anticipating others to do the same, Sargeant misjudged a turn at Dunlop Curve, veering off into the grass, losing control of his Williams, and crashing into the barriers.

The impact caused substantial damage to the front and rear of Sargeant’s car, leaving Williams in a tense position as they assessed the damage before FP2. This situation mirrored their challenges in Australia, lacking a spare chassis.

Once the session resumed, drivers took to the track on soft C3 tyres for performance runs. Verstappen improved his time to 1m 30.056s, narrowly leading Perez by less than two-tenths of a second.

Fresh off his win in Australia, Carlos Sainz began the weekend strongly, finishing third, with the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc closely behind, the latter two separated by just three-tenths.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished in seventh place, while Yuki Tsunoda, the local hero, aimed to continue his impressive start to the season, slotting in ninth between the McLarens’ of Oscar Piastri and Norris.

Esteban Ocon placed his Alpine in eleventh, followed by Alex Albon in the Williams (using Sargeant’s former chassis) and Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg, who was warned for crossing the pit exit line with a black-and-white flag.

Ayumu Iwasa, driving in his first official F1 weekend session, replaced Daniel Ricciardo in the RB for FP1, finishing fifteenth, just behind Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and Valtteri Bottas’ Kick Sauber.

The last few positions were occupied by Pierre Gasly, Zhou Guanyu, and Kevin Magnussen for Alpine, Kick Sauber, and Haas, respectively, with Sargeant watching on from the sidelines after his crash.

Despite some rain towards the end, teams and drivers will be able to gain enough data from long and short runs in anticipation of FP2 scheduled for 1500 local time.

Japanese GP FP1 Results

2024 Japanese Grand Prix, 5 April 2024

11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:30.05618
211Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:30.237+0.181s18
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:30.269+0.213s20
463George RussellMercedes1:30.530+0.474s18
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:30.543+0.487s23
616Charles LeclercFerrari1:30.558+0.502s18
714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:30.599+0.543s20
881Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes1:31.165+1.109s23
922Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT1:31.230+1.174s20
104Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes1:31.240+1.184s22
1131Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:31.935+1.879s19
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:31.943+1.887s18
1327Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:31.958+1.902s19
1477Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:32.054+1.998s17
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:32.055+1.999s17
1640Ayumu IwasaRB Honda RBPT1:32.103+2.047s22
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:32.277+2.221s23
1824Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:32.638+2.582s18
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:32.803+2.747s21
202Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:33.204+3.148s10

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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