Max Verstappen shook off the haunting memories of Singapore to dominate the Saturday’s qualifying session for the coveted Japanese Grand Prix. His triumphant return to pole position proved to be a notable redemption story, especially after Red Bull’s winning streak was snapped at Marina Bay.
Suzuka Circuit: A Welcome Resurgence for Red Bull
The famed Suzuka circuit, known for its fast and fluid design, seemed to suit the Red Bull RB19 perfectly, allowing the car to finish Q3 as the unchallenged leader. This stellar performance was even more significant as Suzuka is owned by Honda, the long-time engine partner for Red Bull.
In an emotionally-charged post-qualifying interview, Verstappen expressed his gratitude, “I mean first I want to say a big thank you to the fans, supporting us already the whole weekend, everyone being so passionate about Formula 1, so thank you very much for coming." Highlighting the team's performance, he added, “From our side, it’s been an incredible weekend so far.
We had a bad weekend in Singapore. I already felt from the preparation we had that this was going to be a good track, but you never really know how good it’s going to be”.
A Tough Day for Sergio Perez
While Verstappen basked in the limelight, it was a different story for his teammate, Sergio Perez.
With a fifth-place finish, Perez trailed Verstappen by almost a second, a significant gap in Formula 1. The reigning double world champion's remarkable performance drew attention to Perez's struggles. Perez, candid about his experience, remarked, “It was hard.
We struggled through the weekend, we kind of were always two steps behind and we just couldn’t get the entry stability I was looking for over a single lap”. However, Perez remained hopeful about the race day, suggesting a potential one-two finish for the team.
The Japanese Grand Prix is shaping up to be a significant race for Red Bull. With Verstappen reclaiming his position at the front and Perez hopeful of a rebound, fans can expect a riveting race day filled with drama, strategy, and undeniable talent.