Max Verstappen, echoing Caesar’s iconic “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” asserted his dominance and conquered the Japanese Grand Prix. From the very first practice session to clinching a resounding victory, Verstappen and the Red Bull team revitalized their winning momentum following a sudden and unexpected loss of form in Singapore. Nevertheless, at the race’s outset, Verstappen found himself challenged by the determined Lando Norris in third place, who briefly seized the lead as they approached turn one. However, by the time they reached turn two, Verstappen swiftly outmanoeuvred the McLaren driver and proceeded to establish an unassailable lead that he maintained throughout the race.
A melee at the start of the race which saw contact between the Williams of Alex Albon and the Hass of Kevin Magnussen caused a brief safety car interlude. The McLarens secured the second and third positions, with Lando Norris utilizing his experience to establish a comfortable gap ahead of his rookie teammate, Oscar Piastri. McLaren has surged of late to become the second-fastest team on the grid. Ferrari’s race-winning form from Singapore was not crried over to Japan, 4th was the best the team could do with Leclerc.
It was back to reality for newly crowned race winner Carlos Sainz who secured 6th place, neatly splitting the two Mercedes drivers, with Lewis Hamilton leading the way and George Russell trailing behind. In the ongoing battle for the second spot in the constructor’s championship, Ferrari currently trails Mercedes by a slim 20-point margin. This gap may have tightened further due to intense intra-team rivalry within Mercedes, as both drivers fought fiercely for position on two separate occasions during the race.
Ultimately, Hamilton emerged victorious, but their on-track tussles certainly added some extra excitement to the race. Fernando Alonso’s 8th-place finish served as a stark reminder of Aston Martin’s diminishing performance after their strong start in the first half of the season. The two Alpines, piloted by Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, completed the top 10 positions.
At the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen’s dominant performance quelled the doubts that had arisen following Red Bull’s significant loss of pace in Singapore. Many had wondered whether the decline was attributed to a new technical directive or was it specific to the track. Verstappen’s resounding victory in Japan provided a clear response to these lingering questions and simultaneously secured the constructors’ title for Red Bull.
In the upcoming race in Qatar, Max Verstappen has the opportunity to clinch his third drivers’ championship title, but this hinges on Sergio Perez not accumulating more than six points. In reality, Verstappen sealed the championship many races ago, only mathematical probabilities are delaying the official confirmation of his title.
2023 Japanese Grand Prix: Race Results:
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:30:58.421 53 laps
2 Lando NORRIS McLaren +19.387
3 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +36.494
4 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +43.998
5 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +49.376
6 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +50.221
7 George RUSSELL Mercedes +57.659
8 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +74.725
9 Esteban OCON Alpine +79.678
10 Pierre GASLY Alpine +83.155
11 Liam LAWSON AlphaTauri +1 lap
12 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +1 lap
13 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +1 lap
14 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +1 lap
15 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +1 lap
Did not finish
Alex Albon Williams – crash damage
Logan Sargeant Williams – crash damage
Lance Stroll Aston Martin – rear-wing failure
Sergio Perez Red Bull – crash damage
Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo – crash damage