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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Verstappen back on top as Piastri storms to front row

Those who were expecting Max Verstappen and Red Bull to continue to fall back after last week we’re sadly mistaken as the Dutchman stormed to a stellar pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The reigning World Champion shone around Suzuka, setting a blistering pole lap of 1.28.877, more than half a second ahead of the next best driver.

That next best driver however was Oscar Piastri, who secured his first ever front row start in a main qualifying session and became the first rookie to start on the front row since Nico Hulkenberg in 2010.

(Photo by

Piastri will start one spot ahead of teammate Lando Norris, with Charles Leclerc in fourth, Sergio Perez in fifth and Singapore Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz in sixth.

The two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell make up the fourth row, while Yuki Tsunoda for AlphaTauri and Fernando Alonso for Aston Martin close out the top 10.

Outside the top 10 the biggest shocks came from the two Alpines failing to make it through to Q3 and the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll once again struggling by failing to make it out of Q1.

But at the front of the pack while it looks as though it’s all back to normal with Verstappen set for another win, all Aussie eyes will be on Piastri to try and claim his first ever podium.


1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull 1:28.877

2 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.581

3 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.616

4 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.665

5 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +0.773

6 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.973

7 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +1.031

8 George RUSSELL Mercedes +1.342

9 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +1.426

10 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +1.683

11 Liam LAWSON AlphaTauri 1:30.508

12 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.001

13 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.029

14 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.078

15 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +0.157

16 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo 1:31.049

17 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.132

18 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +0.250

19 ZHOU Guanyu Alfa Romeo +0.349

20 Logan SARGEANT Williams NO TIME SET

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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