Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen pips Charles Leclerc to pole at Suzuka

Verstappen made an error on his own final lap, running wide at Turn Two and losing some bodywork but held on. Verstappen will become champion if he wins the race with fastest lap, regardless of the results of Leclerc and Perez. Verstappen also faces an investigation by the stewards following a scary moment with McLaren’s Lando Norris during the final session. Verstappen almost lost control of his car on the exit of the flat-out 130R while on a slow lap and trying to get out of Norris’ way. Asked if he would expect penalty if he was in Verstappen’s situation, Norris said: “Oh yeah, for sure.”. “I lost a part of the [floor] duct in the second lap, which is why I couldn’t improve, but the first lap was enough.”. It was Verstappen’s first pole for three races and his fifth of the season. Russell added: “We’re losing a huge amount of lap time on the straights compared to our rivals. “This is the first circuit that has long straights but also has high downforce.

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