F1 Japanese Grand Prix 2024 Highlights – Verstappen dominates eventful race

Follow the Total Motorsport live blog for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix as we bring you all the action direct from Suzuka


Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com blog for the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, as we continue coverage directly from the paddock at the Suzuka Circuit

As the Formula 1 season continues it’s race day in the Land of the Rising Sun, so join us for real-time updates, expert commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights into every thrilling moment of the action from Suzuka, as the fight for victory begins.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has dominated the weekend, from being fastest in FP1 to producing a stunning lap to confidently take pole position for the 2024 Japanese GP. He starts alongside teammate Sergio Perez on the grid

Whether you’re a die-hard F1 enthusiast or a casual fan eager to experience the adrenaline-pumping world of Formula 1, refresh this page for comprehensive coverage of every lap, turn, and triumph at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

F1 2024 Japanese GP race updates

What a drive by Yuki Tsunoda!

Tsunoda improves his qualifying head-to-head and race head-to-head to 4-0 and 3-1 against Daniel Ricciardo in 2024 with a great performance at his home race!

How does Verstappen feel about winning the Japanese GP?

“It was very nice. The critical bit was the start to stay ahead and after that the car got better and better for me throughout the race, I don’t know if it had to do with the clouds coming in.

“Everything went well – pit stops, strategy. It couldn’t have been any better.

“The last race was a little hiccup the last race but very happy we are here back on top. Great fans and in front of Honda as well, it’s fantastic to win here.”

Sergio Perez reacts to his best race of 2024

“I think we paid the price a little bit because we were a little bit off balance during that first stint, which meant we couldn’t keep it alive. We had to box and we were undercut by Lando and then I had to push too much on that medium stint.

“But then on the hard stint I was a lot more comfortable. The pace came back. But I think I suffered a bit from that first stint a bit on balance.

“I think we are in a good momentum. If you remember here last year was probably my worst weekend. So I think if we are strong in places like this with a lot of high and medium-speed corners, I think we can be strong anywhere else.” 

Carlos Sainz reacts to his latest podium

“I had a good race. I’m very happy because it was quite tough out there with the degradation but then the clouds came and the degradation went a lot lower and I thought one-stop was quicker and we were on the two.

“I had to overtake a lot of cars out there. Overtaking was tricky, like always at Suzuka, you need to nail the last chicane to get a good run into Turn One. I could finish my moves but it was tough out there.”


Max Verstappen might have worried about the race pace of Red Bull but he had nothing to fear as both cars cruised through the race to earn their third 1-2 finish of the season.

Verstappen extends his lead in the championship over Sergio Perez as he looks for his fourth-straight drivers’ championship.

Russell gets Piastri on the final lap!

Piastri makes a small but costly mistake into the final corner and that lets George Russell finally take the place off him on the final lap!

Heartbreak for the Australian!

Lap 52/53: Alonso copies Sainz

Fernando Alonso must’ve been watching the 2023 Singapore GP as he intentionally gives Oscar Piastri DRS to ensure that the Mercedes can’t pass the McLaren and, in turn, attack his Aston Martin.

Clever defending. No time penalty for that one this week.

Lap 50/53: Russell sends it and hits Piastri!

Russell went for a move into the hairpin in a sensational lunge on Oscar Piastri and the pair bang wheels.

Piastri cut the corner and Russell has now been noted for forcing a driver off track by Race Control. We will see what happens after.

Lap 49/53: Piastri vs. Alonso. vs Russell

The Mercedes-powered cars are all duelling it out on track as the race begins to come to a close as Piastri and Russell hunt Fernando Alonso, who is running in 6th.

Hamilton could soon be on the scene if Alonso keeps this up for much longer, he’s very slow.

Lap 47/53: Sainz celebrates his “win”

Finishing third, behind both Red Bulls, might as well be a win as far as anyone else on the grid is concerned and Carlos Sainz celebrates his move into the podium spots by setting a 1:33.841 for the extra bonus championship point.

Lap 45/53: No team orders at Ferrari!

Carlos Sainz, racing for his F1 future, has a great chance to stick a move on Charles Leclerc and the team will not stop him from doing so.

Sainz uses DRS down the main straight and uses DRS to go around the outside of the Monegasque at Turn 1. Astonishingly, that’s now 3-0 to Sainz in race head-to-head.

Lap 44/53: Sainz passes Norris

Norris makes a huge lock-up into Turn 11 and by doing so, he bottles his chance of a podium at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix as Sainz gets past him using DRS into Turn 1.

Norris’ race had looked quite promising earlier on too, he will be very disappointed.

Lap 42/53: Yellows for Logan Sargeant

Sargeant had a pretty good race until that moment. He hit the kerb at Degner 1 and couldn’t get off the exit kerb before he spun off into the gravel after the car bottomed out.

He carried on and has pitted dropping him to last place, it’s a shame on a solid weekend for the American that’s just had two memorable mistakes.

Lap 41/53: No team orders at Ferrari

Carlos Sainz has been cleared to race Charles Leclerc if he catches him in the dying stages of the race.

Bold call by Ferrari, great for the fans. Not so great for Leclerc.

Lap 40/53: Hamilton pits

Hamilton pits and has a slightly slower stop but he chooses the mediums and comes out onto the track in 9th behind Russell, the Mercedes pair look to catch Alonso and Piastri.

Lap 38/53: Huge moment for Norris

Norris almost loses his car into the barriers by running too far wide at Degner 2 as Leclerc and Perez did earlier in the race.

The car was almost horizontal at one stage, a good catch in a scary moment for the McLaren running in 4th.

Lap 37/53: Russell pits for mediums

Mercedes ran an opposite strategy to the rest of their rivals and now Russell finally gets to use a quicker tyre for the first time in the race.

So far there is no sign of Lewis Hamilton looking to do the same just yet.

Lap 36/53: Perez passes Leclerc

Sergio Perez has got the slower cars out of the way and he will finish second if he can keep it calm and stay on track.

He’s too far away from Max Verstappen to push for the win and nobody else has a car quick enough to fight a Red Bull.

Lap 35/53: Verstappen pits amidst FIA investigations

Verstappen pits from the lead and comes out five seconds behind Carlos Sainz, who needs to stop again. His afternoon has been nice and easy and he will get back to winning ways.

Valtteri Bottas reports Kevin Magnussen for dangerous driving as the Haas is weaving on the straights, they’re squabbling over 11th place.

The FIA decides there is no further action on Stroll’s pit lane incident.

Lap 34/53: Perez and Alonso pit

Sergio Perez pits from second with another great 2.1 stop but it’s not enough to keep him ahead of Lando Norris, although he has much younger tyres.

Alonso comes out in 8th, nine seconds behind Hamilton.

Lap 33/53: Piastri pits

Oscar Piastri in the second McLaren chooses a set of fresh hards to go to the end of the race in the final 20 laps and he comes out in 9th place, 12 seconds behind Hamilton.

Lap 30/53: Race update

Max Verstappen leads his teammate, Sergio Perez, by 11 seconds and the gap is 16 seconds to Carlos Sainz in third meaning his worries of poor race pace were… misguided.

Then comes Fernando Alonso, Oscar Piastri, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg in the Top 10.

Hulkenberg’s tyres are 24 laps old so if he pits again there is a tight scrap with Tsunoda and Stroll for the final points spot.

Lap 28/53: Norris makes a sensational move!

Lando Norris closes in on the Mercedes of George Russell, who jumped past him just moments ago, and makes a very brave, bold move around the outside of Turn 1.

He snatches back 7th place on track. Russell is 3.7 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Lap 26/53: Leclerc makes a huge mistake!

The Ferrari of Charles Leclerc hasn’t had a great weekend but he looked to be doing a lot better when he was holding up Sergio Perez.

But then he made a huge mistake in the double right-hander and that allowed Perez to scamper away.

Leclerc boxes at the end of the lap under pressure from Lando Norris and now he’s defending from George Russell who managed to undercut Lando Norris!

Lap 24/53: Pit stop chaos, Stroll noted

Tsunoda, Stroll, Magnussen, Bottas and Sargeant all pit at the same time and Tsunoda emerges at the head of the queue thanks to an exceptional RB spot.

That was fun viewing, but maybe not for Lance Stroll who has been noticed by Race Control for a “pit stop infringement” as he appeared to be in the slow lane as he left his box.

Lap 24/53: Hamilton finally pits

After some complaining about the tyres and strategy, Lewis Hamilton finally gets to change his tyres and can try to one-stop until the end of the race.

Hamilton comes out into 9th place, 6.7 seconds behind his teammate.

Lap 23/53: Perez passes Norris for second

Sergio Perez is back up into second to chase after is teammate after sending it into the final chicane on Lando Norris.

To be fair, Norris didn’t seem that interested either. He’s racing for a podium and not against the Red Bulls.

Lap 21/53: Max Verstappen leads once again

The defending world champion looks comfortable so far as he goes around this outside of Charles Leclerc at Turn 1, although the Ferrari driver was told not to fight him too much.

Verstappen leads Norris, who is in the true second place as Leclerc needs to pit, by 4.2 seconds.

Lap 18/53: Sergio Perez loves 130R!

The Mexican has his groove today and the Red Bull racer sticks two good moves on the Mercedes cars by diving past the pair of them into the flat right-hander at 130R!

Lando Norris also made a good move on Hamilton around the outside at Turn 1.

Lap 17/53: Verstappen pits from the lead

The Dutchman had a comfortable lead and his pit stop was easy because of that.

He comes out into third, ahead of Perez, whilst he’s in the true lead of the race too.

Lap 15 and 16/53: Alonso, Perez and Sainz pit

That’s a lot of pitstops and Red Bull service Perez in a whopping 2.1 seconds but he loses second place to Lando Norris’ undercut, whilst he keeps third place ahead of Carlos Sainz.

Alonso pitted on Lap 15 and came out behind Lando Norris on the mediums whilst Oscar Piastri’s attempted undercut wasn’t successful.

Lap 14/53: Mercedes issue team orders as Zhou DNFs

Lewis Hamilton volunteered to give up the place to George Russell who was slightly faster as the pair look to make an unlikely strategy work.

Zhou, meanwhile, comes into the pits for an undeclared issue and looks set to retire from the race after 14 laps.

Lap 13/53: Piastri also pits

The Australian will be looking to undercut Fernando Alonso, who is on the softs and running in 4th.

Piastri has a 2.9s stop, slightly slower than his colleague, and it costs him as he comes out right behind Logan Sargeant.

Lap 12/53: Norris pits

Lando Norris looks to pull off the undercut with a 2.3s stop by his McLaren crew as he bids to extend the gap to Carlos Sainz.

Sainz stayed out and will now have 4.2 seconds to attempt to defend his place unless he intends to go long to gain a tyre offset.

Norris emerges in 10th.

Lap 10/53: Bono says high deg for mediums

Mercedes are on an unconventional strategy having swapped mediums for hards under the red flag meaning that, in theory, they don’t have to make another pit stop if they don’t want to.

Bono gives Lewis Hamilton the good news by reporting the cars around them are struggling with their medium tyres. Mercedes will have an advantage in the second half of the race.

Lap 9/53: GP mocks Verstappen

Max Verstappen is asked for a front-wing update and asks for two clicks (adjustments) less at his pit-stop.

Verstappen says it started with understeer and is shifting to oversteer, which his engineer promptly says was expected before essentially saying, “I told you so.”

Verstappen leads Sergio Perez by 3.2 seconds.

Lap 7/53: Alpine’s engine is tragic

In two consecutive laps, the Alpine engine developers have had to cover their eyes in horror as the car just has no power.

Lance Stroll cruises past Esteban Ocon like it’s a separate feeder series and then, despite Ocon having DRS, Magnussen almost overtakes him too.

Lap 6/53: Perez runs VERY wide

Sergio Perez was pushing really hard to chase after Max Verstappen and to get into his teammate’s DRS but before the hairpin, he runs very wide after understeering.

Red Bull will check any floor damage but Lando Norris will like the look of that in front of him.

Verstappen now leads by 1.7 seconds.

Lap 4/53: Sainz hunting Norris

Carlos Sainz is racing for his future and anyone and everyone is an enemy as he goes after his friend and ex-teammate, Lando Norris.

For now, the McLaren has managed to hold him off.

Lap 3: We are racing again!

Max Verstappen holds the lead as Charles Leclerc overtakes Lewis Hamilton!

A cautious grid after the Lap 1 crash means nobody really took any risks and it was a clean lap from all involved.


The drivers have started the second formation lap of the day and the race is set to start in moments.

Lewis Hamilton will gamble on the hard tyres.

LAP 1 RED FLAG: Order restart confirmed

Here is how the drivers will line up for the second standing start which is due in approximately 10 minutes’ time.

Verstappen (pole), Perez,

Norris, Sainz,

Alonso, Piastri,

Hamilton, Leclerc,

Russell, Hulkenberg (10th),

Bottas, Tsunoda,

Ocon, Gasly,

Stroll, Magnussen,

Sargeant, Zhou (18th),

Albon DNF

Ricciardo DNF

Lap 1 Red Flag: How the order works

If the drivers didn’t go through the first sector before the red flag was thrown then the order will be the grid order for the start.

That means anyone who gained places will lose them, including Logan Sargeant who had made a good move around the outside of a few drivers.

But if they had, then the FIA has the data on hand to decide the restart order based on the Lap 1 carnage.

Major worry for Williams’ future

One of the big stories from Australia was the fact that Williams have no more spare chassis until May and then both of their cars have been whacked into the wall this weekend.

Will Logan Sargeant have to miss some races if Albon has damaged that car too much?

Ricciardo hits Albon

The RB of Daniel Ricciardo comes across the track and hits the Williams of Alex Albon in a usual Lap 1 melee.

Ricciardo was defending from Stroll and Albon was in his blind spot over his right shoulder for the left-hander.

That’s a racing incident. Bad luck for both drivers.


Alex Albon crashes out on Lap 1 and Daniel Ricciardo is joining him too as the pair of them go off track at Turn 3.

Race Control immediately suspends the session. Both drivers are okay.


Fernando Alonso will gamble on the softs…

STRATEGY: McLaren and Mercedes have the edge

With Pirelli expecting tyre degradation to be higher than expected, ruling out a one-stop strategy, drivers have had to save extra sets but two teams at the top have gone differently…

Mercedes and McLaren have saved two hard tyres compared to two mediums for Red Bull, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso.

Could the race come into their favour if the tyres can’t hold on? They can push them harder than their rivals can…

Is Fernando Alonso a threat to the front drivers?

Degradation is expected to be substantial and significant but that hasn’t stopped Fernando Alonso from starting on the soft tyre according to Ferrari’s team principal.

Fred Vasseur thinks it makes sense, but it’s a risk and it’s something his team and driver, Carlos Sainz, must cover off if they bid for a good race.

“It will be important to have a decent start and to also protect from Fernando who has a set of softs.”

Vasseur added: “It makes sense at the start [for Alonso] as you can make a position, but we’ll see.”

Will it rain at the 2024 Japanese GP?

Japan is famed for its unpredictable climate and weather changes, with rain being a regular feature at races in the nation.

So what will happen in 2024?

Can Sergio Perez win for the first time in over a year?

Checo Perez: “We managed to keep that consistency through the qualifying and now let’s see what we are able to do tomorrow [April 7].

“I don’t think we are looking great at the moment in our long-run pace, but we’ve made some changes and, hopefully, that will translate into a better race pace.”

Here is the starting grid for the 2024 Japanese GP

Max Verstappen starts from pole whilst George Russell can count himself lucky he didn’t catch a grid-drop penalty for a qualifying infringement.

Can anyone stop Max Verstappen?

The Dutch driver took a commanding pole position around Suzuka to begin to get back on form after a DNF in Australia.

But he’s worried about Red Bull’s race pace so can Carlos Sainz stop him again? Or perhaps even Lando Norris?

Starting grid for 2024 Japanese GP

Red Bull locked out the front row in Suzuka, with Verstappen just ahead of Perez. Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz make up the second row on the grid, with Fernando Alonso impressive in fifth for Aston Martin.

Potential 2024 Japanese GP strategies

Potential F1 race strategy for 2024 Japanese GP | Pirelli
Potential F1 race strategy for 2024 Japanese GP | Pirelli

What is the UK Start Time for 2024 Japanese GP?

For fans watching from the United Kingdom, the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix begins at 06:00 BST. This early start means UK viewers will have to set their alarms to catch the live action as the drivers battle it out on the iconic Suzuka Circuit.

What is the US Start Time for 2024 Japanese GP?

In the United States, the time difference means fans will need to tune in on Saturday evening or night, depending on their location. For viewers on the US East Coast, the 2024 Japanese GP starts at 01:00 Eastern Time (ET), while on the US West Coast, it begins at 22:00 Pacific Time (PT) on Saturday, April 6.

What is the Start Time for 2024 Japanese GP in Australia?

Australian Formula 1 enthusiasts can enjoy the 2024 Japanese GP at a more convenient hour. In Sydney, the race will start at 16:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on Sunday, April 7, making it a perfect afternoon event for fans down under.

What is 2024 Japanese GP Start Time in Canada?

Canadian viewers will share a similar viewing schedule to their neighbours in the US. In Toronto, the 2024 Japanese GP will air at 01:00 Eastern Time (ET) on Sunday, April 7. For those in Vancouver, the excitement begins at 22:00 Pacific Time (PT) on Saturday, April 6.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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