F1 Live 08:00 | Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying 2024

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F1 Live 08:00 |  Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying 2024

After the free practice sessions it is time to qualify. The drivers were able to do some long runs and a qualifying run to gather some data after the first two training sessions were a bit chaotic. Max Verstappen showed excellent qualifying simulations, which gave him the fastest time in the third free practice sessions. Ferrari looked good in the long runs, but still seems to be short of the qualifying pace.

In FP3 the finishing touches were put into place after VT1 was interrupted by a red flag and VT2 literally and figuratively fell into the water. On Saturday morning the sun did not shine and it remained cloudy, but at least it remained dry. The teams therefore had little time to fine-tune the car on Friday after data was collected on track, as hardly any laps were completed. This made the third free practice session a busy and important session.

Verstappen is not worried despite ‘smaller differences’

The Suzuka Circuit usually suits Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. In the past two editions, the three-time world champion left no stone unturned in the competition. The Dutchman got off to a good start again this weekend, as evidenced by his fastest performance in the first practice session. It is widely expected that Verstappen will also take pole position on Saturday. However, the differences between them are not particularly great, as the reigning world champion himself noted after both training sessions. Although Verstappen, who was able to fine-tune the RB20 in FP3, is confident that Red Bull’s car will do well at the Suzuka Circuit.

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Verstappen during FP3 at the Suzuka Circuit. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool/Getty Images)

However, in one lap, Verstappen looked very fast again in FP1 and FP3, but in the long runs, as far as that can be said, Red Bull seems to fall short of Ferrari. Normally it would be a waste of money, but now that the only race simulations on Friday took place in the Japanese morning, it is even more difficult to compare the data. The race will be held at a later time on Sunday. However, Ferrari made a strong impression again in the long runs, as Helmut Marko also concluded. Yet Red Bull is not worried for the time being.

VT3 showed strong qualifying runs from Red Bull

After the third free practice, there still seems to be no reason for Red Bull to worry, as they were able to do some qualifying runs on Saturday morning and Verstappen topped the time table, with PĂ©rez in P2. Ferrari seemed very strong in the long runs, but seemed to fall slightly short in the qualifying runs. Regarding the pace over one lap, Mercedes was also in a reasonably good position, just like with the long runs, while it was initially expected that Suzuka would not be a good track for the W15.

McLaren took a break during the third free practice session, but also showed good runs for qualifying later on Saturday, although Norris made a few mistakes that forced him to abandon his laps. Mercedes was about four tenths behind Verstappen, McLaren was six tenths short of the three-time world champion. It seems quite realistic that Verstappen will take pole position after FP3. We will know whether that will happen around 9:00 am Dutch time.

F1 Live 08:00 | Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying 2024

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