Max Verstappen claimed a dominant victory in an action-packed Japanese GP as Red Bull was crowned constructors’ champions for a sixth time. After narrowly holding onto the lead ahead of Lando Norris at the first corner, pole-sitter Verstappen eased to victory by 19 seconds. Verstappen’s 26 points mean that Red Bull can no longer be caught by Mercedes and Ferrari, and will be the first team to wrap up the Constructors’ Championship with six races remaining.
“Unbelievable weekend. To win here was great,” Verstappen said. “The most important thing was to win the constructors. Very proud for everyone working at the track and at the factory. We are having an incredible year.”
Norris finished second ahead of McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, who secured his first podium finish in Formula 1. Charles Leclerc was fourth for Ferrari for the third consecutive race ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who twice battled wheel to wheel with Mercedes team-mate George Russell and did a brave overtake on old rival Fernando Alonso at 130R.
While Verstappen single-handedly delivered Red Bull its world title; it was a miserable afternoon for team-mate Sergio Perez who twice had to pit for new front wings after contact with Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen and then twice retired from the race. Perez’s failure to score points means Verstappen now holds a 177-point lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship and could be crowned world champion in the Sprint race at the Qatar GP next time out on October 7.
Japanese GP result
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lando Norris, McLaren
3) Oscar Piastri, McLaren
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
7) George Russell, Mercedes
8) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin
9) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
10) Pierre Gasy, Alpine