Max Verstappen surges one step closer to world title by taking pole position for Japanese Grand Prix, after he avoids a grid penalty for incident with Lando Norris at Turn 15

Max Verstappen produced a performance that suggests no-one can stand between him and world title No 2 this weekend as he blew the rest of the field away to take pole position in Japan. Norris qualified down in 10th, with fellow Brits Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finishing sixth and eighth respectively. Yuki Tsunoda, the home favourite here who has his face plastered on huge posters draped across the main stand, couldn’t match up to the expectation of the partisan home crowd, qualifying down in 13th. Verstappen doesn’t improve but it’s good enough for pole!. Verstappen will have some explaining to do that’s for sure. Sergio Perez goes second before Carlos Sainz jumps the Mexican. Verstappen and his team-mate Perez are out first but they are overtaken by a Ferrari and Alpine who are keen to put temperature in their tyres. Sergio Perez sets a mega lap to go fastest with Ocon up to third. George Russell goes fifth which pushes Russell into the bottom five. Sergio Perez was smooth on his lap but is third fastest – two tenths off Sainz. George Russell goes sixth in his Mercedes on the soft tyres, while Lewis Hamilton goes eighth – with the pair sandwiching the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo. George Russell is 16th and Lewis Hamilton 19th – big pressure on the pair to improve with their second laps!. Russell and Hamilton unlike their rivals did their first lap on medium tyres. Sergio Perez takes top spot before he is quickly beaten by team-mate Max Verstappen. Yuki Tsunoda with a very tidy lap to go fastest with a 1:31.631 which is quicker than his team-mate Pierre Gasly. To read more click below… Verstappen finishes first with fastest lap: Verstappen is world champion. Verstappen finishes first without fastest lap: Leclerc places no higher than third. Verstappen finishes second: Leclerc places no higher than fifth with fastest lap. Verstappen finishes third with fastest lap: Leclerc places no higher than sixth. Verstappen finishes third without fastest lap: Leclerc places no higher than seventh. Verstappen finishes fourth: Leclerc places no higher than eighth. Verstappen finishes fifth: Leclerc places no higher than ninth. Verstappen finishes seventh or lower: Verstappen cannot claim the title at Suzuka.

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