WRAP | Max Verstappen wins a wet, delayed Japanese GP - and F1 championship

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Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen
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08 October 08:15

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, the top seven drivers are all in the pits. They believe they are safe.

08 October 08:21

Mick Schumacher makes it into Q2. This is a good result given his limited running yesterday. His Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen is eliminated.

Fernando Alonso lifts his Alpine into 4th. Could he be within a chance of starting on the front or second row in tomorrow's race?

08 October 08:26

Q2 is underway. The two Ferraris are out on track first.

08 October 08:35

The initial times are in and Verstappen is quickest with a 1:30.346. Sainz and Leclerc are next on the timesheet. Daniel Ricciardo is doing well in the McLaren, now running in 5th. At risk of elimination are Norris, Vettel, Guanyu, Schumacher, and Tsunoda.

There are 5 minutes remaining in Q2.

08 October 08:40

With 1 minute remaining, the three quickest drivers are in the pits. The other 17 drivers are all out on track trying to improve their times.

08 October 08:43

Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso are the two quickest drivers at the end of Q2. As the track improved, Sainz and Leclerc dropped to 6th and 8th, respectively.

08 October 08:49

Q3 is underway and the battle for pole begins!

08 October 08:54

Verstappen goes quickest for the moment, eclipsing Leclerc by almost 0.3 seconds. The Red Bull driver posted a 1:29.304.

08 October 08:57

We're into the final four minutes of Q3.

08 October 09:01

Verstappen secures pole position ahead of Leclerc by just 0.010 seconds.

08 October 09:04

Thank you for joining us. We'll see you tomorrow morning at 07:00 (SA time) for what is sure to be a very exciting race.

08 October 09:13

Runaway championship leader Max Verstappen took pole position on Saturday for the Japanese Grand Prix as he attempts to clinch his second straight world title this weekend in Suzuka.

The Red Bull driver topped the timesheets in dry conditions with a time of 1min 29.304, just 0.010 secs ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, his nearest championship rival. Carlos Sainz was third in the other Ferrari. But Verstappen could find himself in hot water after stewards said they would investigate an incident involving the Dutchman and McLaren's Lando Norris.

Norris was forced onto the grass to avoid hitting Verstappen, with the Red Bull driver muttering "unbelievable" over his team radio but later apologising. Verstappen can clinch the title on Sunday if he wins the race with the fastest lap, no matter what his rivals do. The Dutchman will also retain his crown if he wins and Leclerc is third or lower.

"It was incredible to drive here again and of course very happy to be on pole, but just super happy to be back here," said Verstappen, whose car lost a chunk of bodywork on his last lap, after he ran wide on a section of the track.

"I lost a bit of my duct on that last lap which is why I didn't improve. Tomorrow will be interesting with the weather."

Showers are forecast for Sunday.

"It's a very tricky lap around here, I lost the tyres in the last section so lost some time," said Leclerc after just losing out on pole.

"We'll try and have a good race, we have a very limited amount of data so that's always a challenge. Let's wait and see the conditions - should be a fun race."

Sergio Perez, in the other Red Bull, was fourth. AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly failed to make it past Q1 after an issue with his brakes. The Frenchman, who announced earlier in the day that he will replace two-time world champion Fernando Alonso at Alpine next season, was furious.

"I feel we could have managed this situation a bit better," Gasly told TV reporters.

- AFP

<p>Runaway championship leader Max Verstappen took pole position on Saturday for the Japanese Grand Prix as he attempts to clinch his second straight world title this weekend in Suzuka.</p><p>The Red Bull driver topped the timesheets in dry conditions with a time of 1min 29.304, just 0.010 secs ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, his nearest championship rival. Carlos Sainz was third in the other Ferrari. But Verstappen could find himself in hot water after stewards said they would investigate an incident involving the Dutchman and McLaren's Lando Norris.</p><p>Norris was forced onto the grass to avoid hitting Verstappen, with the Red Bull driver muttering "unbelievable" over his team radio but later apologising. Verstappen can clinch the title on Sunday if he wins the race with the fastest lap, no matter what his rivals do. The Dutchman will also retain his crown if he wins and Leclerc is third or lower.</p><p>"It was incredible to drive here again and of course very happy to be on pole, but just super happy to be back here," said Verstappen, whose car lost a chunk of bodywork on his last lap, after he ran wide on a section of the track.</p><p>"I lost a bit of my duct on that last lap which is why I didn't improve. Tomorrow will be interesting with the weather."</p><p>Showers are forecast for Sunday.</p><p>"It's a very tricky lap around here, I lost the tyres in the last section so lost some time," said Leclerc after just losing out on pole.</p><p>"We'll try and have a good race, we have a very limited amount of data so that's always a challenge. Let's wait and see the conditions - should be a fun race."</p><p>Sergio Perez, in the other Red Bull, was fourth. AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly failed to make it past Q1 after an issue with his brakes. The Frenchman, who announced earlier in the day that he will replace two-time world champion Fernando Alonso at Alpine next season, was furious.</p><p>"I feel we could have managed this situation a bit better," Gasly told TV reporters.</p><p><strong>- AFP</strong><br /></p>

09 October 07:01

Good morning and welcome to the Japanese Grand Prix! The formation lap is underway, so expect the action to get started in the next 3-4 minutes.

09 October 07:07

Lap 1/53: Leclerc had a good start and looked to threaten Verstappen's lead into Turn 1, but the Red Bull driver gave the Ferrari man no inch and kept the position. Vettel had issues after the race start, but managed to keep his car going.

Sainz and Albon are out of the race, while Guanyu and Gasly sustained damage. The safety car has been deployed.

09 October 07:09

The race has been stopped! All drivers must make their way back into the pits.

09 October 07:27

UPDATE: The race is still red-flagged and the remaining drivers in this race are in the pits. The rain is intensifying a bit, putting the race's running in doubt. More, F1 has a two-hour race limit. And with the race already stopped for more than 20 minutes, we have less than 1 hour 40 min of running left.

And the longer we see inactivity, the shorter the race will be once it (hopefully) resumes.

09 October 07:38

UPDATE: The race will resume at 07:50 (SA-time). Little over 10min to go. It will be a rolling start procedure behind the safety car.

09 October 07:49

BREAKING: The race has been suspended again. The rain increased and intensified, making racing conditions more dangerous.

09 October 08:26

The countdown timer is doing its thing. There is 1hr38min left in the race. Will we at least see some running?

09 October 09:03

There is one hour remaining. There is still no sign of racing resuming.

09 October 09:10

Oh yes! Less than 5min to go...

09 October 09:16

And away we go! Racing resumes behind the safety car.

09 October 09:22

The safety car will return to the pits at the end of the current lap. We're going racing!

09 October 09:28

Verstappen leads Leclerc, with Perez and Ocon behind them. Down the order, Vettel and Latifi pitted for Intermediates, but it would seem that these tyres are working! Verstappen and Leclerc are in for the Intermediates.

09 October 09:33

Mick Schumacher is the only driver on the full-wet tyre, but he is around 5 seconds per lap slower! He is currently running in 3rd, but will surely drop to the back of the field when he pits.

There are 30min remaining in the race.

09 October 09:37

Schumacher lost all the grip in his tyres. He lost five positions in a matter of three corners. He is now in the pits for a set of the Intermediate tyre. He is now running in last place.

09 October 09:37

Verstappen leads Verstappen by 6 seconds. Perez and Ocon are 4th and 5th.

09 October 09:44

20min remaining: Verstappen is a full 10 seconds clear of Leclerc. Further back, Hamilton is hounding Ocon for 4th. Vettel's gamble at the restart to switch to Intermediates has paid off. The Aston Martin driver is now in 6th. He started in 9th and dropped to last after his stop.

09 October 09:54

10min remaining: Hamilton is still trying to pass Ocon, but the Alpine has a tremendous top speed. Given the Mercedes' wet-weather setup for this race, it's best for Hamilton to attack into one of the braking zones, but not down the main straight.

Perez, meanwhile, is closing in on Leclerc, who is 16sec down on Verstappen.

09 October 09:59

5min remaining: Perez is charging down on Leclerc for 2nd place - the gap between the two now under 0.4 seconds. Up front, Verstappen holds a commanding 21-second lead.

09 October 10:07

Max Verstappen wins the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix!

09 October 10:14

Max Verstappen took a commanding victory in a wet Japanese Grand Prix. After the race was delayed for more than two hours, the Red Bull driver led the field around the track when it was declared safe to restart behind the safety car.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) who was in second place for most of the race, was handed a five-second penalty after the race for leaving the track and gaining an unfair advantage over third-placed Sergio Perez. The penalty lifts the Red Bull to third, handing the championship to Verstappen.

Results:

1. Max Verstappen

2. Sergio Perez

3. Charles Leclerc

4. Esteban Ocon

5. Lewis Hamilton

6. Sebastian Vettel

7. Fernando Alonso

8. George Russell

9. Nicholas Latifi

10. Lando Norris

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