Max Verstappen en route to winning at Suzuka Circuit in Japan. (Pirelli Photo)

Three Straight Wins At Suzuka For Verstappen

Polesitter Max Verstappen went on a tear during Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix as he secured his third straight victory at Suzuka Circuit.

After a rare issue kicked Verstappen out of the last race in Australia, the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was back to his winning ways, wiring the field and topping teammate Sergio Perez by over 12 seconds.

The 1-2 effort from Red Bull was the third of the season for the team and 31st overall. 

“Today was simply lovely and I really enjoyed the race,” Verstappen said. “We stayed out of trouble in the first lap and from there, we tried to look after the tires as much as possible. We made the right calls before we went into qualifying, which definitely helped today and it is very nice to come back and win after Australia.

“The car just got better throughout the race and, although it took a few laps before I got a nice rhythm as we didn’t have many practices on the long runs, on the second stint the car really came alive. I could push where I needed to and I could look after my tires well, so the race went really nicely. It was a great team result the whole weekend and brilliant to score a one two here: our third of the season. Suzuka is always a great track to go racing at and overall I am really happy about the performance today.”

Australian Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz completed the podium in third after leapfrogging teammate Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris following final pit stops.

Leclerc and Norris rounded out the top-five finishers. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso ran sixth after a solid qualifying effort the previous day.

George Russell out-ran Oscar Piastri on the final lap to place seventh while Lewis Hamilton finished ninth.

Rounding out the top 10 was Yuki Tsunoda, who earned his second straight points finish after placing seventh in Australia.

“I’m feeling relieved,” Tsunoda said. “After I lost some positions on the first start, I felt a little disappointment for sure, but at the same time, I just focused on the second start. I had a good one and was able to make up a few positions. One of the big highlights was the pitstop. Our mechanics did a fantastic job, it was such a fast pitstop that allowed us to overtake two cars, and that’s insane! Without that, it would’ve been a lot more difficult to score points today, so the team deserves big credit.”

“So do the Japanese fans, they are great! Obviously, finally being able to score points in front of my home fans, here and those who couldn’t make it to the track and watched it on TV, makes me a very happy guy. I felt confident today. I knew our straight-line speed isn’t that competitive compared to other cars but at the same time, we know we had a lot of downforce, and the only chance we had was through the esses, normally affected by downforce. It allowed me a couple good overtakes and I definitely enjoyed that. In terms of tyre management, I feel like my driving in today’s race was probably my best,” Tsunoda continued.

“I started my career here and to be able to score points here is extremely special. A big thank you to everyone at Honda, Red Bull and Visa Cash App RB who have been involved and supported me throughout my journey. I don’t feel like I scored P10 today but P1 – it’s a great feeling.”

Haas F-1’s Nico Hulkenberg claimed 11th, while teammate Kevin Magnussen ran 13th.

American Logan Sargeant ran through the gravel toward the end of the race, however, he was able to continue and finish 17th.