Verstappen in strong position to wrap up title after taking Japanese F1 GP pole

The Red Bull driver beat the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc into second with his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in third. Ferrari and Red Bull had looked evenly matched over the weekend and it was Leclerc who was quickest on the first hot runs in Q3 only for Verstappen to put in an immense final sector and lead the timesheets by a full two-tenths. On their final laps, Leclerc went quicker in the middle sector but dropped time on the final third and failed to match Verstappen’s time by just one-hundredth of a second. Verstappen however did move across the track on his out-lap before his first run in Q3, unaware that Lando Norris was approaching from behind at pace. Verstappen then gestured his apologies from his car to Norris and was upset his team had not warned him Norris was so close on track. Verstappen is in an enormously strong position to wrap up the championship in Japan. If he does so here he will be only the fourth driver to have secured the championship with four or more races remaining.

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