2024 Japanese GP Qualifying: Verstappen Beats Perez to Pole

Max Verstappen secured pole position for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, overcoming a late challenge from his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez with Lando Norris in third.


By Ben Bush
Published on April 6, 2024

Max Verstappen Beats Sergio Perez To Pole In Suzuka with Lando Norris P3
Max Verstappen beats Sergio Perez to pole In Suzuka with Lando Norris in P3

Max Verstappen narrowly pipped his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to secure pole position for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix. While Verstappen appeared to be in a comfortable lead after the initial sessions, Perez’s final attempt brought him to within just 0.066 seconds of Verstappen’s leading time of 1:28.197.

Lando Norris in the McLaren delivered an exceptional performance to claim third place, ahead of the 2024 Australian Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari. The duo notably outperformed their teammates, with Oscar Piastri and Charles Leclerc landing in sixth and eighth, respectively.

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Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso secured fifth, underscoring the gap to his teammate Lance Stroll, who faced an unexpected early exit in Q1 and will start from 16th on the grid.

Mercedes struggled to convert their free practice session promise into qualifying success. Lewis Hamilton finished seventh, marking his first quali ahead of teammate George Russell in the 2024 season. Mercedes faced a €5,000 fine for a pit lane incident involving Russell and Piastri during Q1.

Yuki Tsunoda excited local fans by narrowly outperforming his RB teammate Daniel Ricciardo to advance to the final qualifying round, though he ended up in 10th for the start.

Perez Closes The Gap to Challenge Verstappen

After a brake failure led to his withdrawal in Australia, halting a nine-race winning streak, Verstappen was determined to reclaim his dominant form on a track where he’s triumphed for the past two years. Eyeing his fourth consecutive world championship, Verstappen was the fastest in the initial and final practice sessions, maintaining this lead through Q1 and Q2.

His supremacy seemed unchallenged in Q3’s initial runs, with a comfortable margin over Norris and Perez trailing further behind. Yet, Perez’s stellar final lap nearly surpassed Verstappen, who then slightly improved his time, securing pole.

Red Bull secured the front row for the first time since the Bahrain Grand Prix at the start of the 2023 season, which underscores Sergio Perez’s occasional struggles to leverage his car’s capabilities in qualifying. However, this performance significantly enhances Perez’s prospects of receiving a contract renewal beyond the end of 2024.

For Max Verstappen, securing his fifth consecutive pole position, a sequence that dates back to last season’s finale in Abu Dhabi, equals the longest streak of his career, previously seen between the Monaco and British Grand Prix in 2023.

Given that the winner at Suzuka has emerged from the front row on all but three occasions since 1991, Red Bull is poised to extend its slender four-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ standings, a margin narrowed down in Australia.

Entering the race, Verstappen holds a four-point lead over Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ standings, with Perez just a point behind. Positioned favourably, Perez is in a strong spot to potentially overtake Leclerc for at least second place in the drivers’ championship.

Given the difficulty of overtaking at Suzuka, race strategy is expected to play a pivotal role, especially in the closely contested race behind Red Bull.

Japanese GP Qualifying Results

2024 Japanese Grand Prix, 6 April 2024

11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:28.8661:28.7401:28.19712
211Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:29.3031:28.7521:28.26312
34Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes1:29.5361:28.9401:28.48913
455Carlos SainzFerrari1:29.5131:29.0991:28.68212
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:29.2541:29.0821:28.68612
681Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes1:29.4251:29.1481:28.76012
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:29.6611:28.8871:28.76615
816Charles LeclercFerrari1:29.3381:29.1961:28.78612
963George RussellMercedes1:29.7991:29.1401:29.00815
1022Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT1:29.7751:29.4171:29.41318
113Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT1:29.7271:29.47212
1227Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:29.8211:29.49412
1377Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:29.6021:29.59312
1423Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:29.9631:29.7149
1531Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:29.8111:29.81612
1618Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:30.0246
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:30.1196
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:30.1319
192Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:30.1396
2024Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:30.1436

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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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