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Speeding at Suzuka: What You Missed at the Japanese Grand Prix

The Japanese Grand Prix took place on Apr. 7 and left us wanting more. With the next race weekend being Apr 19-21, here is what you missed at Suzuka circuit.

It was lights out and away we went when Max Verstappen had a clean start and managed to get away from his teammate Sergio Perez. Unfortunately, during the second lap, red flags were thrown due to an incident. The incident occurred between Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon when Albon clipped the right side of Ricciardo’s tire causing both of them to spin out.

Fortunately, neither of the drivers were severely hurt but they did have to retire from the race. The incident caused a 20-minute delay due to the damage that was done to both cars and the track. 

When the race began again, it was like deja vu as Verstappen had a clean start against his teammate Perez and running in third place was Lando Norris. Meanwhile in the midfield, Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was slowly closing the gap between Charles Leclerc, but Leclerc managed to hold the lead against him. Albon and Ricciardo were not the only retirements of the race, Zhou Guanyu retired in the 12th lap with a mechanical problem.

On the 17th lap, Verstappen headed into the pits for a new set of tires. Once he reentered the race, he was in third place with Leclerc leading and George Russell in second. However, with the help of DRS (drag reduction system) Verstappen was able to overtake Leclerc and lead the race for the third time that day.

Courtesy of AP Photo/Hiro Komae

It was smooth sailing for the two Red Bull drivers up front and Carlos Sainz in third for the rest of the race up until the last lap when there was a last-minute hint of action in the midfield. At the beginning of the last lap, Russell managed to go wide and overtake the McLaren of Oscar Piastri, putting him in seventh place. Yet for the third year in a row, it was Verstappen who bathed in glory on the top step of the Japanese Grand Prix. Following him was his teammate Perez in second and Sainz in third. This third podium for Sainz makes him the only non-Red Bull driver to be on the podium these first four races excluding his absence at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to his appendicitis.

The third Red Bull first and second place wins puts Verstappen in first in the driver standings with 77 points and Perez in second in the drivers' standings with 64 points. Together they put the Red Bull Racing Honda team in first in the constructors' standings with 141 points.

While there are still 20 races left to the season, many have their bets that Max Verstappen and Red Bull will take it all this season for the fourth year in a row. While it seems that the car only seems to get faster and that there is no stopping Verstappen, one thing you can expect in the world of Formula 1 is that there are always surprises.

Edited by: Kendall Merriett

Social Media Content Created by: Callista Carreiro

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