Oscar Piastri won Formula 1’s Driver of the Day for the Japanese Grand Prix as he recorded his first career podium in a third-placed finish for McLaren.
The Australian produced a superb qualifying to get ahead of Lando Norris on the starting grid and briefly looked like he could have challenged Max Verstappen for the lead
However, the world champion pulled away and Piastri was later caught and passed by Norris through team orders, but he did not have the pace of his teammate to keep in touch and fell to 17 seconds behind and 36 seconds off the lead.
With the podium, the rookie moved up to ninth in the Driver’s Championship ahead of Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly as his strong rookie season continues.
“I’ll remember this for a very very long time,” Piastri said to F1 media after the race. “I can’t thank the team enough. There’s not many people in the world who get this opportunity in their whole life and I’ve managed to have it in my first season”.
Red Bull win sixth Constructor’s Championship
Out front, Verstappen won the Japanese GP at a canter, commandingly demonstrating that Singapore was a one-off as Red Bull won the 2023 Formula 1 Constructor’s Championship.
His lead was contested for just two corners before he began to pull away from the McLarens, opening up a large lead as he checked out from the chasing pack behind.
From there on, he managed his race and slowly extended the gap as he had no risks to take and returned back to the top step of the podium for the 14th win of the season for the reigning world champion.
The Japanese GP summed up the contrasting seasons between the camps at Milton Keynes, as Perez had a scruffy race that saw him crash with Lewis Hamilton, one of the Haas cars, and collect a time penalty for overtaking under the safety car.
That prompted him to finally retire from the race, before briefly re-emerging to serve the outstanding time penalty.
It was rather fitting that Verstappen was the only Red Bull car on track to bring home the constructor’s title, with the Dutchman accumulating enough points this season to have won the title on his own.
Elsewhere in the race
Behind the runaway race winner, McLaren recorded a double podium and they themselves didn’t come under much threat other than George Russell‘s failed one-stop strategy.
There was one moment of tension as Oscar Piastri held up Lando Norris ,who was more expressed annoyance on the radio, but that was swiftly resolved and the Brit went on the finish 15 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Charles Leclerc finished fourth, six seconds ahead of Hamilton in fifth as the Mercedes driver just managed to fend off Carlos Sainz to the line.
Russell finished seventh after gambling on a one-stop strategy, while Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly closed out the points places.