Max Verstappen emerged as the victor in the F1 Japanese Grand Prix, driving the Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT No.1 car. This thrilling race took place at the iconic Suzuka Circuit from September 22nd to 24th as part of the 17th round of the FIA F1 World Championship. Over the course of the weekend, a staggering 222,000 spectators attended the event, representing a remarkable increase of 111% compared to the previous year.
The final race kicked off at 2:00 pm, with Verstappen starting from pole position. His teammate, Sergio Perez, unfortunately had to retire from the race, but despite this setback, Red Bull Honda RBPT secured the constructors’ championship.
Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda, starting from 9th place on the grid, faced some challenges as his teammate undercut him during the last pit stop, pushing him down to 12th place. However, Tsunoda’s points earning in local races has been postponed until 2024.
Right from the start, the race was full of excitement. Taking place in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, under sunny skies, the temperature was around 27℃ with the road surface heating up to approximately 45℃. This intense heat proved to be a significant factor, greatly affecting tire degradation. According to Pirelli, the tire supplier, it was predicted that there would be one or two tire changes during the race, but some cars even opted for three stops. Effectively utilizing their tires became a crucial element in determining the outcome of the race, although ultimately most cars completed the race with only two stops.
Before the start of the race, the national anthem was beautifully performed by Saki Morita, accompanied by the Self-Defense Air Force Central Air Band. Blue Impulse also treated the spectators to an impressive flyby, creating an atmosphere of peak excitement. Following these pre-race rituals, the formation lap began at 2:00 pm, paving the way for the eagerly anticipated final race.
Regarding tire choices, the top 8 drivers selected medium tires, whereas Tsunoda and Fernando Alonso started with soft tires from 9th and 10th place respectively. Max Verstappen, starting from pole position, took an early lead in the first corner. As the McLarens battled for position, Lando Norris managed to overtake his teammate Oscar Piastri, securing second place.
However, chaos ensued further back in the pack as a result of a collision involving Valtteri Bottas and another car, causing extensive damage to Bottas’ front wing and scattering debris across the track. This incident led to the deployment of the safety car and subsequent retirements for several drivers, including Bottas, Alexander Albon, Joe Ganyu, and Esteban Ocon. Even Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, was caught up in the chaos, necessitating a front wing replacement.
The race resumed on lap five, with Verstappen skillfully maintaining his lead ahead of both McLarens. He quickly established a considerable gap between himself and the pursuing pack. On lap 13, Perez, who had fallen down the order earlier, collided with Kevin Magnussen, resulting in further damage to the front wing of the Red Bull car. Perez was forced to pit once again, effectively ending his chances of a podium finish. He ultimately retired from the race.
While the frontrunners completed their first tire changes, Verstappen continued to dominate the race. Piastri benefited greatly from a tire change under Virtual Safety Car conditions, securing second place, and Norris in third battled it out with McLaren.
Verstappen and the McLarens made their final pit stops, with Verstappen opting for medium tires while the McLarens switched to hard tires. Although Norris closed the gap to Piastri, he struggled to overtake and appealed to his team to intervene, stating that a positional change was necessary to challenge for the lead. Ultimately, Piastri reluctantly yielded and allowed Norris to pass, following team orders.
At the end of the race, Verstappen, Norris, and Piastri completed their final tire changes before crossing the finish line in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively. Charles Leclerc secured fourth place for Ferrari, while Lewis Hamilton managed to overtake Carlos Sainz, finishing in fifth place. Sainz settled for 6th place.
With the conclusion of the race at Suzuka, Red Bull-Honda RBPT clinched the Constructors’ Championship title, securing a substantial lead over Mercedes in 2nd place and Ferrari in 3rd place. Red Bull Honda RBPT celebrated their second consecutive championship victory at Suzuka Circuit, which holds special significance as Honda’s home base.
On the other hand, promising Japanese driver Hiroki Tsunoda faced a challenging race, ultimately finishing in 12th place due to poor race pace. Tsunoda was initially overtaken by his teammate, Liam Lawson, at the start, but managed to move up the order after an early pit stop. Despite this, the AlphaTauri cars struggled to keep up with their competitors, gradually losing ground to Fernando Alonso and the two Alpine cars. In the end, Lawson made his final pit stop and comfortably secured 11th place, leaving Tsunoda behind in 12th.
During the race, the team made the decision to bring Tsunoda into the pits, allowing Lawson to reclaim his position. However, towards the end of the race, Tsunoda, armed with fresh tires, made valiant attempts to overtake Lawson but was unable to make a successful pass.
As the final lap unfolded, Tsunoda conceded to the race leader, Verstappen, widening the gap. Consequently, they were unable to make any further advancements during the last lap, resulting in Lawson finishing in 11th place and Tsunoda in 12th.
Max Verstappen won the F1 Japanese Grand Prix (Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT No.1 car)
Round 17 of the FIA F1 World Championship 17 2023 Lenovo F1 Japan Grand Prix was held at Suzuka Circuit from September 22nd to 24th. The 2023 Japanese Grand Prix will be held on September 22nd (Friday) with 42,000 people, September 23rd (Saturday) with 79,000 people, and September 24th (Sunday) with 101,000 people. Over the three day weekend, 222,000 people attended, an increase of 111% since last year.
The winner of the final race, which started at 14:00, was Max Verstappen (No. 1 Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT) who started from pole. 2nd was Lando Norris (No. 4 McLaren Mercedes), and 3rd place was Oscar Piastri (No. 81 McLaren Mercedes).
Red Bull Honda RBPT won the constructors’ championship despite the retirement of Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez (No. 11 Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT).
Yuki Tsunoda (No. 22 AlphaTauri Honda RBPT), who started from 9th place on the single grid, was undercut by his teammate at the last stop and ended up in 12th place. Points earning in local races has been delayed until 2024.
The contact happened immediately after the start
The weather in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, where the Suzuka Circuit is located, is sunny. The temperature at the start was around 27℃, and the road surface temperature was a bit hot at around 45℃. For this reason, the influence of tire deterioration (degradation) was thought to be great. According to tire supplier Pirelli’s pre-race predictions, there will be one or two stops, but three stops are also possible, and it is likely that whether they can use their tires effectively or not will be the key to the this race (in the end, every car that completed the race to 2 stops).
At 1:45 pm, the national anthem was sung individually by the singer and pianist of the Self-Defense Air Force Central Air Band, Saki Morita, together with the Self-Defense Air Force Central Air Band. A flyby was also performed by Blue Impulse, and the excitement of the spectators at Suzuka, including those in the grandstand, reached its peak. After that, a formation lap was held from 2:00 pm, and the start of the final race was made.
In terms of tire choice, the top 8 players chose medium tires, followed by Hiroki Tsunoda (No. 22 AlphaTauri Honda RBPT) in 9th place and Fernando Alonso (No. 14 Aston Martin Aramco) in 10th place.・Mercedes) and 11th place Liam Lawson (No. 40 AlphaTauri Honda RBPT) started with soft tyres.
Max Verstappen (No. 1 Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT) started from pole position and took the lead in the first corner. During the attention-grabbing battle between the McLarens, Lando Norris (No. 4 McLaren Mercedes) started from 3rd place, overtaking Oscar Piastri (No. 81 McLaren Mercedes) before the first corner and moving up to 2nd site.
However, confusion began at the back. The safety car was brought in after Valtteri Bottas (No. 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari) collided with another car and damaged his front wing, causing parts to spread across the track.
The confusion caused Bottas, Alexander Albon (No. 23 Williams Mercedes), Joe Ganyu (No. 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari), Esteban Ocon (No. 31 Alpine Renault), and even Sergio Perez (The race was rough from the start, with car No. 11 (Red Bull Racing/Honda RBPT) also having to have a front wing replaced.
Verstappen wins the race from pole position
The race restarted on lap five. Verstappen restarted safely and began to lead both McLarens. Verstappen quickly pulled away from those in second place and below.
In the hairpin on lap 13, Red Bull’s Perez, who had fallen down the order due to confusion after the start, collided with Kevin Magnussen (No. 20 Haas Ferrari). He had to puncture again to replace the front wing, and fell out of contention for the top spot. Perez then put his car in the garage and retired.
After the main racers finished their first tire change, Verstappen remained in the lead. Second place went to Piastri, who benefited greatly from the timing of the VSC (Virtual Safety Car) for a tire change, and 3rd place was exchanged between Norris and McLaren.
Verstappen changed from medium to medium, but the McLarens changed from medium to hard. Norris gradually caught up with Piastri, but could not overtake him, and Norris appealed to his team, saying, “In order to aim for the top position, we need to change positions.” However, Piastri refused to rebound. , and Norris repeatedly appealed to the team to “do something.” In the end, Piastri accepted the team’s order to change his position and make room for Norris.
At the end of the race, Piastri, Norris, and Verstappen finished changing their tires for the last time, and then they crossed the finish line with Verstappen in 1st, Norris in 2nd, and Piastri in 3rd. Fourth place went to Charles Leclerc (No. 16 Ferrari), and fifth place to Lewis Hamilton (No. 44 Mercedes), who overtook Carlos Sainz (No. 55 Ferrari). 6th place went to Sainz.
As a result of Suzuka, the Red Bull-Honda RBPT has been confirmed as the Constructors’ Championship champion, with a margin over Mercedes in 2nd place and Ferrari in 3rd place, which is more than the points they can gain in future races. Red Bull Honda RBPT won the championship at Suzuka Circuit, Honda’s home base, for the second year in a row.
Up-and-coming Japanese rider Tsunoda had a poor race pace and finished 12th.
Up-and-coming Japanese driver Hiroki Tsunoda was passed by teammate Liam Lawson at the start and was in 10th place, but made an early stop on lap 10 and switched to medium tyres. At that moment, he undercut Lawson, moved up the order, and began to chase the lead.
Both AlphaTauri cars had a quiet race, with both cars running around 10th place. However, the AlphaTauri’s race pace today was not very good, and they were gradually being pulled away from Alonso and the two Alpine cars. In the end, Lawson was the first to make his final pit stop and overtook Tsunoda, leaving Lawson in 11th place and Tsunoda in 12th.
The team forced Tsunoda to make a pit stop, during which time Lawson was allowed to come back. However, towards the end of the race, Tsunoda, who had fresh tyres, caught up with Lawson and tried to overtake him many times, but could not pass him.
On the last lap, he had to make way for the leading Verstappen, and the gap widened. As a result, they were unable to pass the final lap, and Lawson finished in 11th place and Tsunoda in 12th.
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