Formula 1

Verstappen takes pole at Suzuka in a deceptively close qualifying! 2022 Japanese Grand prix Quali highlights

Max Verstappen takes pole ahead of Leclerc ad Sainz in a deceptively close qualifier. He was just 0.010s ahead of Leclerc and 0.057s ahead of Sainz in what can only be described as one of the closest qualifiers of F1 in years. However, it isn’t all clear as Stewards are looking at the incident between Verstappen and Norris at 130R where Norris saved himself from a huge crash owing to Verstappen’s swerving around. Here are the highlights:


Knocked out: Albon, Gasly, Magnussen, Stroll, Latifi

It was all up for grabs as Q1 saw some very interesting times from so many drivers. The F1 circus returned at Suzuka after a gap of 3 years and the first dry run happened only in FP3. Max Verstappen set out first and smashed his FP3 time creating a benchmark for the rest of the drivers at 1m 30.244s on soft tires. It was a time that would stay unbeaten for the remainder of Q1, with Ferrari pair Sainz (0.112s back) and Leclerc (0.178s back) taking P2 and P3, while Alpine duo Alonso and Ocon sandwiched Perez’s Red Bull.

Mercedes initially sent out their drivers Russell and Hamilton on medium tyres, but swapped to softs after the initial runs to move both drivers out of danger and into the Q2 phase – Russell taking P6 and Hamilton P11. It continued this way for the both of them as Russell outpaced Hamilton in Q1 and Q2 but as we all have come to know Hamilton, he got ahead when it mattered. McLaren team mates Ricciardo and Norris placed seventh and eighth respectively, as Zhou completed the top 10. Tsunoda made an impression at his home GP which was a very important moment for him. He progressed to Q2 in P12 catching a brake issue in his car getting frustrated by it as well.

Albon fell at the first hurdle by 0.5 of a second after a strong effort but, Gasly could not follow team mate Tsunoda through to Q2 after complaining of the same brake issues that led to a heavy lock-up on his final effort at T11. Magbussen settled in at P15 after impressing with the P5 in Free Practice while Latifi remained last after also having a 5-place grid penalty for his collision with Zhou at the Marina ay circuit in the previous outing.


Knocked out: Ricciardo, Bottas, Tsunoda, Zhou, Schumacher

Sainz and Leclerc headed out quickly as Sainz observed that the Sun was getting out of the clouds which could mean a “slower track.” Right he was. Verstappen resumed his position at the top of the sheets by clocking a 1m 30.346s which was marginally slower than what he managed in Q1 ass the track got slower. Ferrari’s pace setting efforts were in vain and as the sun withdrew again Perez stormed to P1 with another run and a time of 1m 29.925s, putting him almost half a second clear up front. The top 3 stayed in the pits as Perez went out and did the job for RedBull.

The Alpines again found pace out of the blue as Alonso and Ocon took the Alpines rise to P2 and P4, sandwiching leader Verstappen. Lots of other improvements knocked Sainz and Leclerc down the order, but they made it through to Q3 in P6 and P9 respectively. Hamilton and Russell ended fifth and seventh, while Norris and Vettel were the other drivers to reach Q3. A very happy Sebastian Vettel made it to Q3 at his favourite track delighting us all by coming on the radio and saying “ecstatic with this one.” Ricciardo got knocked out as a result by 0.003s, with both Alfa Romeos, Tsunoda and Schumacher also eliminated.


This was it. Q3 came and Verstappen showed no signs of slowing down during the first runs with a staggering 1m 29.304s. Right after this though, drama ensued on the track as Norris was coming in at super speeds during his out-lap when all drivers take it slow to warm their tires. Verstappen weaved his car to the left as Norris was coming in hot at 130R and we all thought this would be bad. Fortunately, Norris saved the crash very nicely as Verstappen back-end kicked out.

Leclerc and Sainz threatened Verstappen’s provisional pole with their final laps but fell 0.010s and 0.057s short respectively as they crossed the line giving the pole to the reigning world champion without any improvement from Max as he kicked up some dirt and shed a piece of bodywork. It was Perez who took fourth around half a second down on Verstappen while the Alpine and Mercedes pairs of Ocon, Hamilton, Alonso and Russell respectively took P5 to P8. Vettel shined through in P9 as Norris went 10th owing to his compromised session.

Show More

Prakhar K.

Editor-in-chief and 4-wheel fanatic

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please disable adblockers to access CarThrust.