Formula 1 - 2024 Japan Grand Prix Race Recap

BY Sean Loo

Verstappen and Perez make it another Red Bull one-two finish.

Two weeks after a disappointing retirement in Australia, Max Verstappen rebounded magnificently with a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix. Starting from pole, Verstappen led every lap, leaving his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz trailing in his wake.

His triumph at Suzuka was his third consecutive win there, bolstering his lead in the 2024 driver's championship following a setback due to a brake issue in Melbourne.

Verstappen's smooth ride to victory was contrasted by the drama that unfolded behind him. The race was punctuated by an early collision between Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and Alex Albon of Williams, which immediately red-flagged the race.

Upon the restart, the strategic battles intensified, particularly around tyre choices in unexpectedly warm weather, which saw a mix of strategies across the grid.

Perez secured a solid second place, enhancing Red Bull's championship standing following their earlier successes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Sainz, fresh from his Australian Grand Prix win, executed a late-race surge on fresher tyres to finish third, overtaking both McLaren's Lando Norris and his teammate Charles Leclerc, who had gambled on an alternate strategy.

Leclerc managed to fend off Norris, who rounded out the top five, while Fernando Alonso continued to show competitive form, guiding his Aston Martin to a sixth-place finish ahead of a tussle between the Mercedes and McLaren drivers.

George Russell and Oscar Piastri had a close call during their battle, which saw Piastri momentarily forced off the track, an incident that drew the stewards' attention post-race.

Lewis Hamilton, who voiced concerns over Mercedes' strategy mid-race, had to settle for ninth, just ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who clinched the final point in front of his home crowd.

The race was a spectacle of strategic manoeuvres, with tyre strategy playing a crucial role in the outcomes for many drivers.

In terms of the championship standings, Verstappen's victory extends his lead, with Perez and Leclerc close behind.

Red Bull maintains a strong position in the constructors' battle over Ferrari as the Formula 1 circus moves to China, setting the stage for continued intense rivalry and strategic gameplay in the upcoming races.

Photo credits: Formula One