Japanese GP: Red Bull take constructors’ title after Max Verstappen dominates

Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner celebrate on the podium
Max Verstappen took his 13th win of the F1 season at the Japanese Grand Prix - Getty Images/Clive Mason

Max Verstappen moved to within range of a hat-trick of world titles by returning to winning ways at the Japanese Grand Prix as Red Bull clinched the constructors’ championship.

The Dutchman backed up his searing pace in qualifying by easing to victory by a massive 19.387sec a week on from seeing his record 10-race winning run ended in Singapore.

Lando Norris finished second ahead of McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Lewis Hamilton fifth and George Russell seventh for Mercedes.

Verstappen has won 13 of 16 rounds this season, extending his lead to 177 points over team-mate Sergio Perez – who endured a miserable afternoon – and he will have the chance to wrap up his third title at the Qatar Grand Prix in two weeks, potentially even in the Saturday sprint by outscoring Perez by three points or more.

While it was serene at the front, the race behind was thrilling as Perez was involved in two early collisions before retiring – only to briefly return – and Mercedes team-mates Hamilton and Russell scrapped with each other.

Red Bull are the first team in Formula One history to win the team championship with six races to spare as Verstappen’s victory moved the Milton Keynes-based team 318 clear of second-placed Mercedes in the standings. It is Red Bull’s sixth constructors’ title since their debut season in F1 in 2005.

Verstappen wins Japanese GP as Red Bull clinch constructors’ title - as it happened

08:31 AM BST

George Russell described his own season as "a disaster"

With “so many missed opportunities”. He’s now level with Lando Norris on points. Norris had 12 points after Monaco and Russell had 50...

Compare that to Hamilton vs Norris. Norris outscored Russell by 50 points in that time but was outscored by 56 points by Hamilton in the same period...

08:20 AM BST

George Russell speaks to Sky Sports

“It was definitely worth a punt, a three-stop would have probably have been closer than the three-stop was but the one-stop gave us a chance for P3 if there was a safety car. The end result is a fair representation. Overtaking was difficult. It’s easy in hindsight. For me right now the goal is to secure P2 in the constructors’.”

08:15 AM BST

Some interesting post-race comments from Lewis Hamilton on the car for next year

“I’m exhausted for one. Fighting the car with absolutely everything I have to get as high as possible to get it ahead of Ferrari... who have been quicker the last three races, it was a hell of a fight. I scored the most points for the team, I am really trying to hold onto the constructors title because I know how important it is. It’s tough on weekends like this particularly where the car is such a handful. Feeling-wise the car felt just the same as last year, it’s bouncing and sliding. It’s tough... and we’re not any closer to the front, at least not here.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain reacts after the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, central Japan, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. Hamilton placed fifth
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain reacts after the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, central Japan, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. Hamilton placed fifth

On next year’s car and his input: 

“There are things that I’ve asked for that we’ve gone in part of the direction for next year. I think all the points that George and I give have been fully listened to. I have no idea where the car is going to be next year but we’re a long, long way away. The next six months have to be the greatest six months of development we’ve ever had to close that gap.

“The evidence is there at the McLarens and we can’t turn a blind eye to that. That is the direction. We’ve always been great at putting downforce on the car but the way our car works, adding downforce doesn’t work, it just makes it bounce more. I have absolute faith in everyone. Decisions that are made in this period of time are critical for our trajectory.”

08:10 AM BST

What Verstappen needs to do in Qatar

He currently leads Perez by 177 points with six grands prix and three sprint rounds remaining. After the sprint race in Qatar there will be a possible 172 points available (six grands prix of 26 and two sprint races of eight points each), so he can even finish behind Perez by a few places and still win.

08:02 AM BST

Updated constructor standings

08:02 AM BST

Updated driver standings - Top 10

08:01 AM BST

Verstappen can make it three drivers' titles in a row in Qatar

He can actually do that in the sprint race, though I am not exactly sure how many points he needs to do that yet.

07:53 AM BST

Some interesting comments in the cool-down room

07:48 AM BST

Christian Horner speaks after Red Bull's sixth

“It’s been the most amazing race for us; the most amazing year. It’s all testimony to these guys and the men and women back in Milton Keynes. Of course, Max is just on another level at the moment – it’s an incredible performance.”

“It wasn’t his day... he’s a big part of this success as well,” he says about Perez’s nightmare race.

07:46 AM BST

Verstappen speaks after his win

“Unbelievable weekend of course and to win here is great. The most important was to win the constructors. Very proud of everyone at the track but also back at the factory. We are having an incredible year, so very proud of everyone.”

07:45 AM BST

Lando Norris on his fourth second of 2023

“Another amazing day for us. A P2 and a P3. The team did an amazing job. My start was a good, I almost got Max but Max is Max. We’re not close to Max but we’re not miles away either. Also Oscar, his first podium in F1 so congrats to him. We’re pushing, we’re getting there. The progress we’ve made is pretty outstanding. I am sure there’s going to be some tough times to come but we’re getting there.”

07:44 AM BST

Oscar Piastri reacts to his first podium

“Yeah, it feels pretty special, definitely. I’ll remember it for a very, very long time. I can’t thank the team enough for giving me this opportunity and I’ve managed to have it in my first season. It wasn’t my best race but very happy to have a trophy. The move on George I knew I had to try and get past otherwise I’d be stuck. That one was a bit close. In the second half of the race I got more into a groove and the pace was better. “

07:39 AM BST

Japanese Grand Prix - Classification

  1. VER

  2. NOR

  3. PIA

  4. LEC

  5. HAM

  6. SAI

  7. RUS

  8. ALO

  9. OCO

  10. GAS

  11. LAW

  12. TSU

  13. ZHO

  14. HUL

  15. MAG


07:39 AM BST


“Another win guys, unbelievable,” he says on the radio. Does he know what that word means?

Anyway, well done to Red Bull. What a car they have built this year and what a team they have.

07:37 AM BST

Max Verstappen wins the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix

Norris in second, Piastri in third. Well done both. Superb debut season from Piastri so far and he deserves that.

07:36 AM BST


I forgot McLaren’s 1-2 at Monza in 2021, so the answer to the previous question is “about two years ago”.

Anyway, we finally see Verstappen on screen for the first time in what seems like 40 laps as he puts the blip of Singapore behind him to win again in 2023.

07:34 AM BST

Lap 52 of 53 - A double podium beckons for McLaren

When was the last time that happened? And a maiden F1 podium for Piastri, too...

07:33 AM BST

Lap 51 of 53 - Verstappen nearly 20 seconds ahead of Norris now

Sainz is within DRS range of Hamilton for fifth... Leclerc’s fourth is safe.

07:32 AM BST

Lap 50 of 53 - Sainz gets Russell

Was that a bit of a mess from Mercedes? A difficult position and difficult to execute. Not sure which way around it would have worked. Both cars would have been vulnerable to Sainz but RUS/HAM/SAI order probably better as Hamilton was less vulnerable to Sainz behind. By swapping them Russell could not quite keep up with Hamilton to get DRS and then Sainz swallowed him up.

07:30 AM BST

Lap 49 of 53 - Russell lets Hamilton through

And that means Sainz is going to get past very swiftly too. I think Piastri’s podium is safe.

Russell not happy at that.

“If you want to play the team game, he pushed me off the track earlier, it’s the least he can do,” he says.

Hamilton is then told to give Russell DRS to help him defend against Sainz but that is not going to work. Sainz is too close out of the final chicane...

07:29 AM BST

Lap 48 of 53 - Russell and Hamilton doing it

“We’re going to lose both these positions,” Hamilton says. He knows Sainz is right behind him. I’m not sure he’s asking for Russell to let him through, exactly.

Russell is then told to invert the positions. He questions it but is told “it’s an instruction”. Russell has suggested that he gives Hamilton DRS to help him defend against Sainz and then they swap at the end of the race.

07:27 AM BST

Lap 47 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps into the final stages

  1. VER

  2. NOR +17.6

  3. PIA +32.9

  4. LEC +37.1

  5. RUS +41.0

  6. HAM +41.5

  7. SAI +42.3

  8. ALO +59.1

  9. GAS +67.5

  10. OCO +68.9

Very close between Russell, Hamilton and Sainz. All three going at it. Sainz has DRS on Hamilton who has DRS on Russell.

07:26 AM BST

Lap 46 of 53 - Leclerc has 3.7sec to Piastri in third

OK. They are lapping fairly similarly. Hamilton locks up heading into the final chicane and blows any chance he has of taking the place for fifth at turn one.

“Just make sure you give each other plenty of room,” Hamilton is told.

07:24 AM BST

Lap 45 of 53 - Russell resists... but Leclerc gets the job done

Not at turn one, around the outside, nor turn two... but turn three... yes! Good driving from both men. Russell now has Hamilton behind him by 1.8sec and they may reignite their battle. Hamilton has tyres 10 laps fresher, though. Sainz is in the equation, too.

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 leads George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 leads George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14

07:22 AM BST

Lap 44 of 53 - Leclerc doesn't get Russell at turn one this time

That further helps Piastri put some buffer between himself in third and the fourth-placed driver. Verstappen’s lead is now 17 seconds over Norris.

07:20 AM BST

Lap 43 of 53 - Can Sainz get Hamilton?

He’s lapping 1.1sec faster at the moment on fresher tyres. Russell holding up Leclerc is good news for Piastri’s podium hopes.

07:19 AM BST

Lap 42 of 53 - Piastri into third

He is patient and goes around the outside after a decent exit from the chicane and a helpful slipstream. AlphaTauri do not appear to have the pace to challenge for points despite their early promise. The Alpines doing the job ahead of them.

Perez is wheeled back into the garage and that will be his race done. Leclerc now lines up Russell.

07:17 AM BST

Lap 41 of 53 - Perez comes out again

And is then told to box, presumably to serve that penalty, which is the reason they brought him back out in the first place. I can’t remember or recall if this is the Magnussen penalty or the Safety Car infringement one.

Russell holds up Piastri which is good news for Leclerc, Hamilton and Sainz. Piastri cannot get close enough at the chicane to make the move but he closes in on the pit straight...

07:15 AM BST

Lap 40 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. VER

  2. NOR +15.7

  3. RUS +20.7

  4. PIA +21.9

  5. LEC +24.7

  6. HAM +28.5

  7. SAI +35.4

  8. ALO +39.0

  9. OCO +48.4

  10. GAS +54.0

So, four cars within eight seconds or so between third and sixth. All on similarly old hard tyres, though, apart from Russell, who looks about to be overtaken by Piastri. Sainz has a four-lap advantage on those ahead of him though when it comes to his hard rubber.

07:13 AM BST

Lap 39 of 53 - Sainz comes in and will drop down to eighth perhaps

Seventh, actually, ahead of Alonso. Looks like Perez is going to rejoin the race. Verstappen sets the fastest lap of the race.

07:12 AM BST

Lap 38 of 53 - The race for third/fourth/fifth is about to come alive

Sainz as been sacrificed a bit strategically, here. He is in second but will stop again. Norris makes light work of Russell at turn one to move into third. He looks on for his fourth second-place finish of the year. That would, remarkably, match Sergio Perez’s count of seconds, though he does have two wins to his name. Still...

07:10 AM BST

Lap 37 of 53 - Red Bull on course to claim constructors' title today

They are currently doing what they need to do to claim their sixth team crown.

Norris stops but Russell is ahead of him, though with tyres that are 12 laps older. Verstappen told to stop from the lead.

07:08 AM BST

Lap 36 of 53 - A chain reaction of stops

Piastri comes in from third. Norris currently holds the fastest lap point and is on the pace of Verstappen, who is surely cruising and managing his pace out front. Decent stop for Piastri, 2.6seconds. Sainz stays out and inherits third from Piastri. Russell in fourth, nine seconds ahead of Piastri in fifth. Leclerc 2.4sec behind the Australian.

07:06 AM BST

Lap 35 of 53 - Russell told that he might be under pressure at the end of the race

He’s currently in seventh but isn’t making great inroads to Hamilton ahead, despite an six-lap tyre advantage. Leclerc pits, as does Hamilton.

07:04 AM BST

Lap 34 of 53 - Verstappen leads by 15.0s from Norris

But what’s this?

The peril! The jeopardy!

07:02 AM BST

Lap 33 of 53 - Full order

  1. VER

  2. NOR

  3. PIA

  4. LEC

  5. SAI

  6. HAM

  7. RUS

  8. GAS

  9. ALO

  10. OCO

  11. HUL

  12. LAW

  13. TSU

  14. ZHO

  15. MAG


07:02 AM BST

Lap 32 of 53 - Where are the big battles going to be?

I think Piastri is going to have a fight on his hands to keep his podium spot.

07:00 AM BST

Lap 31 of 53 - Verstappen leads Norris by 14sec

Tsunoda pits from 10th. Perez has not yet rejoined the race, and he will be many, many laps down.

06:59 AM BST

Lap 30 of 53 - Piastri has dropped four seconds to Norris now

Lapping the best part of 0.8sec slower than his team-mate ahead, consistently now.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri in action during the race
McLaren's Oscar Piastri in action during the race

06:57 AM BST

Lap 29 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. VER

  2. NOR +13.5

  3. PIA +16.7

  4. LEC +20.6

  5. SAI +22.7

  6. HAM +26.8

  7. RUS +33.2

  8. GAS +44.5

  9. TSU +56.7

  10. ALO +55.4

06:55 AM BST

Lap 28 of 53 - Here's what Red Bull are doing

Perez can serve his penalties in this race, rather than having them applied at the next race. Smart move.

06:53 AM BST

Lap 27 of 53 - Piastri does let Norris through

Norris is 13 seconds behind Verstappen now. Smart move from McLaren though it could have done being made earlier. Sergio Perez is getting back into his car for some reason.

Albon has now been told to retire the car and will become the race’s fifth retiree...

06:52 AM BST

Lap 26 of 53 - Piastri not giving way to Norris

Hmmm. Probably fair enough but Norris has so much more pace.

“What er... what’s he doing?” Norris says after attacking Piastri at turn one. He had DRS on the straight. It wasn’t a dirty move or anything but I think he expected to be let through?

“It’s just ruining the race now... if you want George to beat us then...” is what Norris says on the radio.

06:51 AM BST

Lap 25 of 53 - Russell pits and goes onto the hard tyres

He comes out behind the battling Ocon and Alonso in seventh and eighth. Norris is on the rear wing of team-mate Piastri and he calls into the team and says the longer he spends behind Piastri the worse the race will be later. He’s right and he has much more pace than the Australian today.

Russell gets Alonso coming out of the hairpin and will soon have Ocon. Sargeant becomes the day’s fourth retiree.

06:49 AM BST

Lap 24 of 53 - Decent race, this

Verstappen clearly running away with it but that was to be expected given the Red Bull’s advantage in his hands. Seems Russell might want to go to a one-stopper. His mediums ar holding up pretty well.

Alonso even unhappier: “He’s pulling away on the straight mate, so THINK OF SOMETHING!”.

06:47 AM BST

Lap 23 of 53 - Verstappen leads Russell by 8.6sec

Piastri now closing up on him but is vulnerable to Norris behind him.

06:46 AM BST

Lap 22 of 53 - Here's what happened with Norris

He had to lap Perez who was very, very slow. So he couldn’t stick to his desired limited lap time under the VSC and had to wait for Perez to let him through. Far from ideal.

06:44 AM BST

Lap 21 of 53 - Alonso is grumpy

“You’ve thrown me to the lions with [stopping me so early]. Unbelievable”.

Lance Stroll retiring. Russell is going to plan B, apparently. Hamilton gets Alonso on the inside of 130R! Nice move. He’ll be even grumpier now.

06:42 AM BST

Lap 20 of 53 - Verstappen leads Russell by 2.6sec

Russell is yet to stop. Piastri is now seven seconds behind Verstappen and is lapping nearly two seconds slower than his team-mate and the man directly behind him, Lando Norris.

06:41 AM BST

Lap 19 of 53 - So, Norris was 5.1sec behind Verstappen when the VSC was called

And then 10.4 when it ended. It is possible that gaps change under a VSC, even though the point is that they do not, but it is usually a small amount. Not five seconds, especially after it a short VSC period.

06:39 AM BST

Lap 18 of 53 - Norris comes out behind Piastri

And with the two Alpines – and about eight seconds – between them. That has worked out really well for Piastri. I am still not sure where that massive gap for Norris came from. That would mean Piastri gained four seconds from Verstappen under the VSC pit but 12 seconds from Norris.

06:37 AM BST

Lap 17 of 53 - Russell on the radio

“Who do we want to fight here? Each other or the others?”

Hamilton has now come into the pits as do Norris and Leclerc.

06:37 AM BST

Lap 16 of 53 - Mercedes at it again

Hamilton runs off at Degner two and Russell comes at him. They continue their battle and they both run wide at Spoon as Russell tries to go around the outside. Verstappen pits and comes out ahead of Piastri in fifth. Piastri was about eight or nine seconds behind Verstappen, with Norris between, before the VSC and now he is 3.5sec behind him so he has gained a fair few seconds.

06:35 AM BST

Lap 15 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. VER

  2. NOR +10.0

  3. LEC +11.7

  4. SAI +12.9

  5. HAM +15.0

  6. RUS +16.1

  7. PIA +25.7

  8. GAS +27.0

  9. OCO +28.5

  10. ALO +33.7

Not sure where that 10 second gap has come from at the front. Some kind of SC issue?

06:33 AM BST

Lap 14 of 53 - Perez has a problem

He is told to retire the car. I called it a couple of laps ago...

06:32 AM BST

Lap 13 of 53 - Piastri comes into the pits...

...just as a VSC is called for debris at the hairpin from that Magnussen/Perez collision. That could work out well, but it depends how long the VSC period goes on for. Everyone one might get a cheap pit stop. Nope. The VSC ends and that means that has worked out brilliantly for Piastri. It was just him and Albon, I believe, who took their stop under the VSC. That should put Piastri ahead of Norris? Though he did come into the pits slightly before the VSC was called.

06:30 AM BST

Lap 12 of 53 - Norris just about keeping in touch with Verstappen

Well, not really. Four seconds now the gap, which is the same gap to Piastri behind him. Then it’s 1.5sec to Leclerc, a further 1.5sec to Sainz and then 2.5sec to Hamilton to round off the top six. Not a great deal of close racing other than Perez trying to charge through the field against vastly slower cars.

Perez gets himself into more trouble as he collides with Magnussen at the hairpin and the Dane nearly does a Bottas and is facing the wrong way. Perez came from soooo far back, locked up around the inside and tapped the Haas car.

That was an awful execution and he will almost certainly take another penalty for that. He also needs another front wing change. Just bung it in the garage, Checo, this weekend has been a write-off.

06:26 AM BST

Lap 11 of 53 - Full order

  1. VER

  2. NOR

  3. PIA

  4. LEC

  5. SAI

  6. ALO

  7. HAM

  8. RUS

  9. STR

  10. GAS

  11. OCO

  12. MAG

  13. PER

  14. ALB

  15. LAW

  16. TSU

  17. HUL

  18. ZHO

  19. SAR


The two AlphaTauri cars have pitted from the points.

06:25 AM BST

Lap 10 of 53 - Penalty for Perez now

Why? He came out under the SC and then bolted down the pit lane exit ahead of two cars on the track at turn one, one of which he seemed to give back. Anyway, another poor weekend for Perez. Making a mess of things as he has done at various stages in 2023.

06:24 AM BST

Lap 9 of 53 - Sargeant picks up a five-second penalty

That is for the collision with Bottas, who has now retired after stopping. Car too busted to carry on, apparently. Perez in 15th and chasing down Ocon. Alonso’s soft tyres have gone off a bit and now Alonso has to look behind him rather than in front.

06:22 AM BST

Lap 8 of 53 - Piastri has lost a bit of time behind Norris

Alonso has DRS on Sainz and is on soft tyres so really needs to get the move done swiftly to get any advantage.

06:21 AM BST

Lap 7 of 53 - Verstappen extends his lead

Tsunoda still in the points, in 10th, after a battle with team-mate Lawson.

06:20 AM BST

Lap 6 of 53 - Verstappen leads Norris by 1.9sec

Meanwhile Hamilton and Russell have a ding-dong. Russell goes up the inside of the chicane to take the place and the two get very close. Then Hamilton fights back on the straight and takes the place back.

The Bottas incident was actually him attempting to go around the outside of Sargeant at the hairpin but the Williams locking up, running into the Alfa Romeo and sending him spinning into the gravel. Ouch.

06:18 AM BST

Lap 5 of 53 - Race restarts

It’s very much as they were, Verstappen puts his foot down in the middle of the final chicane and Norris doesn’t really have much of a chance to do anything about Verstappen’s lead.

Meanwhile, this photo shows the extent of Albon’s collision. Surprised he’s still going to be honest.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, centre, leads the field after the start as Williams driver Alexander Albon of Thailand crashes during the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, central Japan, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, centre, leads the field after the start as Williams driver Alexander Albon of Thailand crashes during the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, central Japan, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023

Strange moment for Bottas who is driving the wrong way on the run-off of the hairpin. “What the f---!?” he says.

06:15 AM BST

Lap 4 of 53 - Perez noted for SC infringement

Not sure what that is exactly. A couple of slow stops for Alfa Romeo but that will not cost them as they can just rejoin the back of the pack.

The SC is in at the end of this lap. 

Will the McLarens get another good go at Verstappen? I doubt it. He backs the pack up before 130R even...

06:10 AM BST

Lap 3 of 53 - Perez sustained some damage in that hit

So he comes into the pits under the SC. Here’s the top 10:

  1. VER

  2. NOR

  3. PIA

  4. LEC

  5. SAI

  6. ALO

  7. HAM

  8. RUS

  9. LAW

  10. TSU

06:10 AM BST

Lap 2 of 53 - Verstappen leads Norris and Piastri

Both Alfa Romeos have broken front wings which suggests that they did not collide with one another, unless there was another car involved. It looks like Perez and Hamilton collided too, as they were four abreast with the two Ferraris on the inside at turn one.

Norris had to back out of his attempted overtake on Verstappen at turn one... probably wisely. Or rather, Verstappen jinked across at the point of turn-in. Hamilton was squeezed by Perez sideways. He has dropped down to eighth.

Replays show an Alfa Romeo hit Albon at turn one, who has dropped to 19th. It was a big old hit. It came as the drivers drifted to the left to rejoin the racing line there.

Looks like Zhou’s damage came from debris hitting him as he was directly behind Bottas hitting Albon. The various incidents have been noted by race control.

06:07 AM BST


The take their grid slots and Verstappen points his Red Bull towards Piastri and the apex of turn one... aggressive.

It’s an aggressive start from the Dutchman, who moves over and squeezes Piastri on the inside... that gives Norris an opportunity to think about going around the outside but he doesn’t have the grip and speed and Verstappen keeps his lead.

There’s contact at the back somewhere, possibly involving a Mercedes but Zhou says he has damage and Valtteri Bottas has dropped right to the back as well. There’s a lot of debris on the inside of turn one and a bit elsewhere and that brings out the safety car...

06:02 AM BST

The pack is fairly spread out

Zhou at the back is just finishing turn two and Verstappen is at the hairpin at turn 11...

06:02 AM BST

The formation lap is away

Verstappen leads them to the first corner, albeit very slowly. Attendance looks mega at Suzuka, as always.

05:58 AM BST

Starting tyre types

New mediums are the choice for most of the top 10 but Tsunoda and Alonso in ninth and 10th on used softs. Then it’s a mixture behind them with 12th to 15th on new mediums and 16th to 19th on new softs. Sargeant in the pit lane (10 second penalty for putting new parts on his car out of schedule after his crash) is on new mediums.

05:55 AM BST

Starting grid

Not long to go now so here’s how they line up.

1. VER 2. PIA 
3. NOR 4. LEC 
5. PER 6. SAI
7. HAM 8. RUS
9. TSU 10. ALO
11. LAW 12. GAS
13. ALB 14. OCO
15. MAG 16. BOT
17. STR 18. HUL
19. ZHO


05:49 AM BST

Christian Horner speaks to Sky Sports F1

“The wind is totally different to yesterday, that could make the first sector difficult. It’s going to be a race of tyre degradation and strategy today.”

05:47 AM BST

There could well be some different strategies today

Hopefully that gives us a good race at the front of the field and throughout.

05:40 AM BST

McLaren's Zac Brown speaks to Sky Sports F1

He speaks about the strength of the undercut:

“We’re going to kind of have to see how things play out and do what’s best for the team. I’m expecting an exciting race and hopefully we’ll have both cars on the podium. We’ve got a great line-up for the foreseeable future... Oscar’s driving like a pro.”

05:36 AM BST

Current constructor standings

Red Bull can win the constructors’ title today. It would be their sixth in the sport.

05:30 AM BST

Watch: Verstappen's pole lap from yesterday

Hell of a lap, this one.

05:21 AM BST

Current driver standings - Top 10

Max Verstappen cannot win the drivers’ championship at Suzuka today, as he did so last year. In fairness, the race was a little bit later on in the year. Qatar looks likely, though.

05:19 AM BST

I do wonder how much patience there can be with Lance Stroll

Yes, his dad is the owner. No he’s not an absolutely awful driver. But you look at what he’s delivering in that Aston Martin compared to his team-mate Fernando Alonso and you have to question whether it’s really all worth it.

Lance Stroll of Canada and Aston Martin F1 Team looks on from the paddock during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on September 23, 2023 in Suzuka, Japan
Lance Stroll of Canada and Aston Martin F1 Team looks on from the paddock during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on September 23, 2023 in Suzuka, Japan

His qualifying has reverted to being outright awful again after showing an uptick previously. He has been out in Q1 three races in a row and has only made it into final qualifying once in the last eight times (including the sprint shootout). Yes, the Aston Martin isn’t what it was earlier in year but in that time Alonso has qualified: 9th, 9th, 9th, 15th, 5th, 10th, 7th, 10th.

05:07 AM BST

Fair to say McLaren's turnaround has been drastic

Here’s a run-down of their results over the year up until Canada for a total of 17 points in eight races. 

Bahrain: 17th, DNF
Saudi Arabia: 15th, 17th
Australia: 6th, 8th
Azerbaijan: 9th, 11th
Miami: 17th, 19th
Monaco: 9th, 10th
Spain: 13th, 17th
Canada: 11th, 13th

And here are their results after, for 122 points in seven races.

Austria: 4th, 16th
Great Britain: 2nd, 4th
Hungary: 2nd, 5th
Belgium: 7th, DNF
Holland: 7th, 9th
Italy: 8th, 12th
Singapore: 2nd, 7th

04:59 AM BST

Qualifying times

Japanese Grand Prix qualifying results and classification
Japanese Grand Prix qualifying results and classification

04:53 AM BST

Good morning F1 fans

And welcome to our live coverage for the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. This is one of the better tracks on the calendar, which presents a real challenge for the driver. That challenge is perhaps not quite as much as it was 20 years ago with the modern F1 cars requiring less brute force to extract lap time from them, but still it is a different challenge. Unfortunately it is a track, like many, where overtaking does not come all that easy.

Last week Carlos Sainz and Ferrari ended Red Bull’s hopes of taking a clean sweep in 2023 by winning around the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. In fact, not only did Red Bull fail to win the race they failed to even get a car on the podium. Max Verstappen’s 10-race long winning run ended and so did his record of finishing first and second in every round so far. He could only manage fifth. With that, there would have been hopes that Red Bull’s step back might be a bit more permanent than just a one-off. It was perhaps unlikely, but a possibility, especially with the new technical directive about flexible bodywork.

Yet Verstappen ended any hopes of that being the case with arguably the greatest qualifying lap of the year. Even before Singapore, the Red Bull had been challenged in qualifying with Mercedes and Ferrari providing some resistance from Hungary onwards. Yet Verstappen finished more than half a second ahead of his nearest rival in McLaren’s Oscar Piastri. The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez was more than seven-tenths down. It was a thumping.

Of course, McLaren will be pleased with their front-row start and Lando Norris will start today’s race in third also. Yet if Verstappen gets to the end of the first lap in the lead there is surely little hope of anyone reeling him in. In truth, he could drop five or six places at the end of the first lap and still be favourite for the race – so good is the RB19 on race days in his hands.

In any case, the race begins at 6am BST and we are here for all the build-up, latest updates from the race and reaction from Suzuka.

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