Written by on April 9, 2024

Written by: Floyd Nkanyane


Red Bull and Max Verstappen bounced back strongly after their unexpected Melbourne retirement with their third one-two of 2024; Carlos Sainz beats Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc for final podium spot; Race halted on first lap due to Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon collision.

Top score for Red Bull

Max Verstappen won the Japanese GP after a big first-lap crash involving Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon led to a restart, resulting in a dominant Red Bull one-two finish.
Two weeks after his surprising first race retirement in two years in Australia, Verstappen bounced back in an impressive fashion at Suzuka, beating team-mate Sergio Perez by 12 seconds.

Verstappen had to manage two restarts from pole position on the grid as the race was stopped on the first lap due to a collision between RB’s Ricciardo and Williams’ Albon, causing both cars to crash heavily into the barriers.

Following a 30-minute delay to clear the stricken cars and repair the Turn Three barrier, Verstappen once again beat Perez at the second start and took the lead in a race where various tyre strategies were prominent in the top 10.

Sainz finished in third place to uphold his perfect record of podium finishes in 2024, while his teammate Charles Leclerc impressed with a one-stop strategy to finish fourth after an eighth place start on the grid due to a bad qualifying session.

Lando Norris of McLaren began the race in third place, but was surpassed by both Ferrari cars and ended up finishing in fifth position because the MCL38 did not have the speed to keep up with the competitive pace of the red cars.

The Pack That Follows

 Fernando Alonso finished an impressive weekend in the Aston Martin by securing sixth place while holding off faster cars behind.
The Spaniard faced late challenges from Oscar Piastri and George Russell, who had also made two pit stops but managed to fend off both competitors.

Piastri was unable to overtake Alonso, so he ended up getting passed by Russell’s Mercedes on the first corner of the final lap, dropping him to eighth place.
Three laps prior, Russell and McLaren had a collision when Russell tried to pass McLaren on the inside of the chicane, causing McLaren to go off track but still maintaining their position. After reviewing the race, stewards found no need for additional action to be taken.

Lewis Hamilton crossed the finish line near the trio in ninth place after having a disappointing race starting from seventh on the grid.
Mercedes took advantage of the lap-one red flag to switch both cars to the hard tyre, attempting a one-stop strategy. Hamilton allowed Russell to pass him during the first stint due to understeer issues, but was unable to recover the lost ground afterwards.

Yuki Tsunoda delighted the enthusiastic Japanese fans with a 10th place finish, earning the final point.


The Collision Course Involving Ricciardo and Albon

The drivers immediately expressed worry following the collision between Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon during the first lap of the Japanese GP.
On the way to Turn Three, Ricciardo and Albon collided while navigating through Suzuka’s famous Esses for the first time.


Beginning the race from the 11th position on less sticky tires, Ricciardo was passed by multiple cars before the first turn and soon faced competition from Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and Albon’s Williams.
As he neared the left-handed third turn, Ricciardo moved to the right to follow the usual racing line, but his RB’s right-rear tyre made contact with the Williams’ left-front, causing both cars to go off track and crash into the barriers while Stroll was on the inside and Albon was trying to overtake on the outside.

In summary, Verstappen extends his advantage in the Drivers’ Championship to 13 points over Perez, who overtakes Leclerc for second place. Leclerc is now five points behind, as Formula 1 prepares to head to China on April 19-21.


Japanese GP result: Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull

3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

5) Lando Norris, McLaren

6) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

7) George Russell, Mercedes

8) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

9) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

10) Yuki Tsunoda, RB


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