Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying, F1 HIGHLIGHTS: Verstappen on pole with title win in sight

Japanese GP Qualifying: Follow for all the Highlights of the qualifying session of the Japanese Grand Prix 2022 held at the Suzuka Circuit.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka. | Photo Credit: MARK THOMPSON

Japanese GP Qualifying: Follow for all the Highlights of the qualifying session of the Japanese Grand Prix 2022 held at the Suzuka Circuit.

Thanks for tuning into Sportstar’s live coverage of the qualifying session of the Japanese Grand Prix 2022.

QUALIFYING LIVE

QUALIFYING ENDS

Max Verstappen is on the pole for the Japanese Grand Prix, He pips Charles Leclerc by a margin of 0.010 seconds. Sainz is third and Sergio Perez is fourth for tomorrow’s race. Verstappen though will have a meeting with stewards for an incident involving Norris.

12:30 PM IST

The soon-to-be-retired Sebastian Vettel waves goodbye to the fans as he concludes his qualifying session. He is sixth right now as all the other drivers are on their out lap. None of the front runners can improve their positions and it is MAX VERSTAPPEN ON THE POLE. But he will be under investigation for that Norris incident. Leclerc is second and Sainz is third.

12:25 PM IST

Leclerc and Sainz are quick to go past Perez, but Max Verstappen pounces to retake the lead for Red Bull. But, soon after, Verstappen nearly veers right into the path of a flying Lando Norris. That could have been nasty, if not for the reflexes of the McLaren driver. Five minutes remaining in qualifying. Verstappen will be under investigation for that incident,

Q3 Begins

The last qualifying session begins. Leclerc is aiming for yet another pole position, while Verstappen would love to have an advantage tomorrow as he looks to bag his second consecutive driver’s title.

Q2 RESULTS

Sergio Perez leads the pack after Q2 and is followed by Fernando Alonso, whose magical week continues. The trio of Verstappen, Leclerc and Sainz sat out the last minutes of Q2 after ensuring they had put on safe timings.

The following drivers have been knocked out.

Highlights
  • Daniel RICCIARDO 
  • Valtteri BOTTAS 
  • Yuki TSUNODA 
  • Guanyu ZHOU
  • Mick SCHUMACHER 
12:10 PM IST

Verstappen, Sainz and Leclerc are the only ones to not come out of the garage as the other drivers look to ensure their safety. Perez blitzes through Sector 1. Purple for Perez again in Sector 2 and 3 and he goes FASTEST. Vettel, once again saves himself by the barest of margins. Tenth for him. Alonso, meanwhile, puts his Alpine in second spot. Some week for the Spaniard.

12:05 PM IST

Verstappen is quick to reclaim the top spot. Esteban Ocon puts up a fiery lap and moves up to fourth as Sergio Perez goes crashing down to eighth. Vettel is again flirting with danger as he is just 12th now.

12 PM IST

Sainz and Leclerc are off the block quickly. Sainz goes fastest in Sector 1, while Leclerc is fastest in Sector 2. It is Sainz who sets the early mark for the rest of the field to catch up.

Q2 Begins

Quick turnaround as the 15 drivers left on the field looks to ensure a safe passage into Q3.

Q1 results - Max Verstappen leads after Q1 and is followed by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Fernando Alonso is at an impressive fourth.

The following drivers have been knocked out of Q1.

Highlights
  • Alexander ALBON 
  • Pierre GASLY 
  • Kevin MAGNUSSEN 
  • Lance STROLL
  • Nicholas LATIFI 
11:50 PM IST

Sebastian Vettel drags his Aston Martin out of the last five, barely and makes it to Q2. Esteban Ocon is at an impressive sixth as Q1 comes to an end.

11:45 PM IST

Hamilton yet to put in a time in Q1. and he gets one in. It is eighth fastest for hi. Russell goes ahead of his at sixth. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel is in danger of being knocked out of Q1. Fernando Alonso’s brilliant week continues as he currently sits at fourth.

11:40 PM IST

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are out to beat Verstappen’s timing. Both fall short, but it’s second and third for the Ferrari drivers. They are within 0.200 seconds of Verstappen.

11:35 PM IST

Mercedes has sent out both its drivers for a flying lap. Meanwhile, Lando Norris of McLaren goes fastest. Sergio Perez is quick to go past Norris and then his teammate pushes the mark even further. Verstappen is the fastest as of now with 1.30.224 seconds.

11:30 AM IST

And the qualifying session begins. Local boy Tsunoda of AlphaTauri is one of the first to start early. The crowd cheers on as Tsunoda sets the early mark.

FREE PRACTICE 3

Max Verstappen, who could potentially seal a second consecutive world title tomorrow, topped Free Practice 3 ahead of the qualifying session in dry weather conditions.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari finished second and third respectively. Verstappen’s teammate and Singapore Grand Prix winner from last week, Sergio Perez finished fifth behind Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.

The Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished sixth and seventh respectively.

FREE PRACTICE 2

George Russell led a Mercedes one-two in a rain-hit FP-2 at Suzuka, with team mate Lewis Hamilton coming in seocnd and championship leader Max Verstappen finishing third.

Carlos Sainz was the sixth fastest, while Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc set a time good enough for only 11th.

Alfa Romeo had a good FP2, with Valtteri Bottas – winner at Sukuza in 2019 – eighth quickest, with team mate Zhou Guanyu, in 10th.

FREE PARCTICE 1

Fernando Alonso led the pack during a rain-hampered FP1 session for the Japanese Grand Prix, as he put his Alpine ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Championship leader Max Verstappen was sixth, while his teammate Sergio Perez ended tenth.

The Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton had a disappointing session with finishes outside the tenth position.

Japanese Grand Prix records

Japanese Grand Prix records

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc knows it. So does anyone following Formula One; no calculators needed.

Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen is set to win his second straight drivers’ title, and it’s likely to come on Sunday with rain predicted for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Friday’s two practice sessions were run in steady drizzle, although Saturday’s qualifying is expected to be dry on the classic figure-eight circuit in central Japan.

ALSO READ: Formula 1 spending-cap ruling coming as drivers at Suzuka weigh in

“I think realistically Max is going to be a champion, if it’s not this weekend it’s going to be very, very soon,” said Leclerc, who trails Verstappen by 104 points with five races to go — including Suzuka. Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez is 106 behind.

If Verstappen wins on Sunday, and also picks up the bonus point for the fastest lap, that would give him 26 points (25 for the win, 1 for the quickest lap) and he’s the champion.

He could also win the season title with a lesser result, depending on how others finish.

If not, it’s sure to be settled in two weeks at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

“It would be very nice if it happens here but if it doesn’t happen here — I will be even more in favor the next race,” Verstappen said, sounding unmoved by the speculation.

“To be honest, I’m not really thinking about it too much.” Verstappen has been dominant all season with 11 victories in 17 races. The Singapore GP a week ago was the exception, where Verstappen finished seventh. He called it a “very messy weekend” on the street circuit.

“We all know that it was a bad weekend, but we also have shown this year that we’ve had a lot of very good weekends. So we know how to do it.” Winning at Suzuka would be special. The track is operated by car manufacturer Honda. Red Bull and sister team AlphaTaura run on Honda designed engines, and the race if officially called the “Honda Japanese Grand Prix.” Honda formally quit F1 after last season, but still supports the two teams. In addition, Honda’s name will appear on the Red Bull livery this weekend. It could indicate a return to F1 though there’s nothing official.

“It’s great to see the full name back on the car,” Verstappen said.

“And about the future. It’s too early to talk about that right now, but I think in general — the Honda name for F1 is great and it would be very nice to see them come back again.” About 190,000 fans are expected over the weekend, with 90,000 on Sunday. Though Japanese fans are among the sports’ most fervent, capacity limits make the crowds smaller than at many races that draw more that 300,000 for a weekend.

“It (Suzuka) is truly iconic,” Mercedes driver George Russell said.

“And it’s definitely, you know, a top-five circuit for probably all of us.” Added two-time champion Fernando Alonso: “I think everyone loves Suzuka. The combination again of high-speed corners, a little bit of banking in the corners as well make the feeling really special. The fans are so passionate here. So, the whole weekend is a big thing.” ___ SCHUMACHER CRASH IN PRACTICE Mick Schumacher spun out late in the first practice session on Friday and severely damaged the front end of his Haas car. The shunt was bad enough for the medical car to be deployed, although Schumacher walked away.

Schumacher, the son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, could be on the way out at Haas.

Schumacher is in his second season with Haas, where he was promoted from the Ferrari Driver Academy. He’s been associated with Ferrari since 2019 after winning the European F3 championship.

Schumacher’s contract with the the academy is set to expire at the end of this year and Haas, which has an engine partnership with Ferrari, would not be obligated to keep the 23-year-old German if Schumacher is no longer part of the program.

ALSO READ: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he is not retiring from F1 anytime soon

Schumacher has repeatedly declined to answer questions about his future.

HAMILTON ON COST-CAP

Formula One’s governing body FIA is to rule Monday if any team has violated cost-cap rules. It comes a day after Verstappen could win the title.

“I think it would be bad for the sport if action wasn’t taken if there was a breach,” seven-time champion Hamilton told media.

“But I don’t know if there is, so I’ll wait just as you will.” Verstappen demurred when ask about it on Thursday. Red Bull is one of the teams implicated in unsourced reports.

“I’m not really busy with these kind of things,” Verstappen said.

“I mean, it’s up to the teams and the FIA, and I just have to focus on the driving. So there’s not much more to say on that. I guess we’ll find out on Monday.”

When and where to watch?

The qualifying session of the Japanese Grand Prix 2022 will be telecast on the Star Sports Network and live streamed on Disney+Hotstar from 11:30 AM IST on Saturday.

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