Japanese GP 2024

APRIL 7, 2024

Race Notes - Verstappen wins at Suzuka

Max Verstappen, Japanese GP 2024
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

Max Verstappen in his Red Bull-Honda won the Japanese GP in Suzuka, 12.525 seconds ahead of his team mate Sergio Perez in second.

Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari finished third, 20.866 seconds behind the winner.

The win is Verstappen’s third out of four races in the 2024 season, and 57 career victory. Perez moves ahead of Leclerc into second in Drivers Championship.

Charles Leclerc (26.522s) in the second Ferrari was fourth, followed by Lando Norris (29.700s) in the McLaren-Mercedes in fifth, Fernando Alonso (44.272s) in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was sixth, George Russell (45.951s) in the Mercedes GP was seventh, Oscar Piastri (47.525s) in the second McLaren was eighth, Lewis Hamilton (48.626s) in the second Mercedes was ninth, and Yuki Tsunoda (1 lap) in the RB-Honda took the final point in his home race.

Before the start the weather was warm and sunny. Verstappen was on pole with Red Bull team mate Perez alongside on row 1. Norris and Sainz on row 2, Alonso and Piastri on row 3, Hamilton and Leclerc on row 4, and Russell and Tsunoda rounding out the top ten.

The top 11 starting on medium tyres, except Alonso on soft tyres.

At the appointed time the field came around to the grid, the lights went out and the race began with Verstappen gets off in there lead, followed by Perez, Norris, Sainz and Alonso following. Tsunoda dropping to 12th.

In turn 3 Albon tries to pass on the outside of Ricciardo, the two touch and crash. The red flag comes out and the field comes around to the pits.

Teams can change tyres and work on their cars during the stop.

The order of the restart is Verstappen, followed by Perez. Norris, Sainz, Alonso, Piastri, Hamilton, Leclerc, Russell, Hulkenberg in tenth, Bottas, Tsunoda, Ocon, Gasly, Stroll, Magnussen, Sargeant and Zhou in 18th.

The race is scheduled to restart at 14:32 local time.

Hamilton and Russell switch to hard tyres, Tsunoda switches to soft tyres, the two Alpines on hard tyres as well.

The field comes out of the pits around on the formation lap, the light goes out and the race starts again. Verstappen stays ub the lead over Perez, Norris, Sainz, Alonso.

Leclerc gets ahead of Hamilton. Stroll is up to 12th.

Hulkenberg pits and switches to hard tyres.

On lap 5 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m36.437s.

Bottas pits for hard tyres.

On lap 8 Tsunoda pits for hard tyres.

At lap 10, Verstappen leads Perez by 2.9 seconds followed by Norris (5.9s), Sainz (7.4s), Alonso (11.0s), Piastri (12.3s), Leclerc (12.7s), Hamilton (14.5s) Russell (15.4s) and Stroll (22.7s) in tenth.

Russell complains of vibrations in his steering.

On lap 11 Sargeant passes Gasly for 13th.

On lap 12 Norris pits from third and switches to hard tyres and rejoins tenth.

On lap 13 Piastri pits for hard tyres and rejoins 12th.

Magnussen passes Ocon for ninth.

Alonso pits from fifth for medium tyres and rejoins eighth.

Norris sets fast lap at 1m35.761s.

Tsunda passes Hulkenberg for 14th. Sargeant passes Ocon for 11th.

On lap 16 Perez pits for medium tyres and rejoins sixth. Sainz pits for medium tyres and rejoins seventh.

On lap 16 Verstappen pits from the lead for medium tyres and rejoins second.

Norris passes Hamilton for fourth, Perez passes Hamilton for fifth.

Norris passes Russell for third.

On lap 18 Perez passes Russell for fourth.

On lap 19 Sainz passes Hamilton for sixth, Hamilton struggling on his tyres.

At lap 20 Leclerc leads Verstappen by 1 second, followed by Norris (3.5s), Perez (5.3s), Russell (9.8s), Sainz (10.2s), Hamilton (12.8s), Alonso (14.7s), Piastri (16.1s), Magnussen (34.3s) in tenth.

Verstappen passes Leclerc for the lead.

Sainz passes Russell for fifth.

On 21 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m35.617a.

On lap 22 Perez passes Norris in the chicane for second.

Russell pits for another set of hard tyres and he rejoins in ninth.

On lap 24 Hamilton pits for hard tyres and rejoins ninth

On lap 25 Russell sets fast lap at 1m35.149s.

Leclerc In second place is running long on his medium tyres.

On lap 26 Leclerc goes wide and Perez takes second.

Leclerc and Norris pit for hard tyres, Leclerc rejoins sixth, Norris rejoins eighth, behind Russell.

On lap 28, Norris passes Russell for seventh.

At lap 30 Verstappen leads Perez by 10.8 seconds, followed by Sainz (16.3s), Alonso (24.4s), Piastri (28.3s), Leclerc (33.1s), Norris (34.3s), Russell (36.3s), Hamilton (39.9s), and Hulkenberg (1m05.0s) in tenth.

Piastri cuts the corner at the chicane but continues.

Bottas battling Magnussen for 13th.

On lap 33 Piastri pits for hard tyres and rejoins in ninth.

On lap 34 Perez pits from second for hard tyres and rejoins fifth. Alonso pits for hard tyres and rejoins eighth.

Tsunoda passes Magnussen for tenth.

On lap 35 Verstappen pits from the lead for hard tyres and rejoins second, Sainz leads.

Perez passes Norris for fourth.

Perez sets fast lap at 1m33.945s, and passes Leclerc for third.

On lap 36 Sainz pits from the lead for hard tyres and rejoins seventh.

On lap 38 Sainz passes Hamilton for sixth. Russell pits for medium tyres and rejoins ninth.

Piastri is chasing Alonso for seventh.

Hamilton pits for medium tyres and rejoins ninth.

On lap 40 Verstappen leads Perez by 8.5 seconds, followed by Leclerc (14.5s), Norris (16.4s), Sainz (19.7s), Alonso (29.5s), Piastri (30.9s), Russell (38.4s), Hamilton (47.5s), and Tsunoda (1m07.4s) in tenth.

On lap 42 Sargeant goes off into the gravel, backs up onto the track and rejoins.

On lap 44 Sainz closes up and passes Norris on the main straight for fourth place.

Sainz is a second behind Leclerc on fresher tyres.

On lap 46 Sainz passes Leclerc on the main straight for third place.

On lap 46 Sainz sets fast lap at 1m33.841s.

Stroll passes Magnussen for 11th.

At lap 50 Verstappen leads Perez by 10.9 seconds, followed by Sainz (19.7s), Leclerc (23.5s), Norris (25.7s), Alonso (39.2s), Piastri (40.1s), Russell (41.1s), Hamilton (45.5s), and Tsunoda (1m25.1s) in tenth.

Russell and Piastri battle in the chicane, Piastri stays ahead.

Going into the final lap Russell passes Piastri for seventh.

At the finish Verstappen wins ahead of Perez and Sainz.