Suzuka [Japan], September 23 (ANI): Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team emphatically returned to pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix, defeating Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris of McLaren during Saturday's qualifying session at Suzuka to claim pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, bouncing back from a difficult weekend in Singapore.
Verstappen posted a time of 1m 29.012s early in Q3 and increased it to 1m 28.877s on his second run. This impressive effort put him more than half a second ahead of Piastri and Norris, who were unable to improve their starting times, as the checkered flag fell.
The two Ferrari drivers only completed one lap apiece in the pole shootout because they had used up more soft tyres earlier in the race. Charles Leclerc edged over the other Red Bull Sergio Perez to take fourth place, while Carlos Sainz completed the top six positions.
Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, finished ahead of George Russell, another driver who was only allowed one attempt in Q3, in qualifying after a difficult first day of practice.
F1 rookie Liam Lawson came agonisingly close to making another Q3 appearance but ultimately had to settle for 11th place. Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon of the Alpines, who were separated by Alex Albon's Williams, and Kevin Magnussen of the leading Haas were next.
Zhou Guanyu finished in 19th place for Alfa Romeo after being witnessed going crazily wide and losing his final lap for breaking track limits while also reporting traffic. Valtteri Bottas narrowly missed the cut in 16th place. (ANI)