Verstappen wins third consecutive Japanese GP

Suzuka, World champion Max Verstappen got back to winning ways on Sunday with a third straight pole-to-flag victory at the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, leading team mate Sergio Perez across the line for a Red Bull 1-2 at Suzuka.

The Dutchman suffered his first retirement since 2022 in Melbourne last time out to snap a nine-race winning streak but had no mechanical issues this week in a dominant performance to make it three wins from four races this season.

Verstappen, who becomes only the second driver to win three consecutive Japanese Grands Prix alongside seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, now has a 13-point lead in the driver standings over Perez.

Red Bull lead the constructor standings on 141 points ahead of Ferrari (120) and McLaren (69).

Perez jumped ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the driver standings. Ferrari’s other driver Carlos Sainz, the winner in Australia two weeks ago, rode fresher tyres in the latter stages of the race to grab the final podium spot, edging out Leclerc
, who used a one-stop strategy.

But the Spaniard was more than 20 seconds behind Verstappen, underlining the gap between the teams in dry, sunny conditions.

McLaren’s Lando Norris finished fifth with the Mercedes pair of George Russell and Hamilton down in a disappointing seventh and ninth respectively after a tactical strategy to switch to hard tyres early in the race backfired.

Hamilton, who said in qualifying it was the best he has felt in the car in years, cut a despondent figure after the race.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished sixth, with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri eighth.

RB’s Yuki Tsunoda came in 10th, securing points in his home grand prix for the first time to the delight of the crowd.

Alex Albon’s Williams and the RB of Daniel Ricciardo crashed into each other on the opening lap, triggering a red flag and a 30 minute delay while the debris was cleared and a barrier repaired.

Both drivers emerged unscathed and after the stewards investigated the incident, they decided to take no action.

Source: Bahrain News Agency