Max Verstappen returns to the top in Japanese GP first practice

Red Bull's winning streak was finally broken by Ferrari at the Singapore GP, but the champions are looking to bounce back in style at Suzuka.


Max Verstappen resumed normal service in first practice at the Japanese GP as the Red Bull driver set an ominously fast time on the back of a disappointing outing last time out in Singapore.

Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez both struggled at the Singapore GP as Red Bull were outmuscled on the Marina Bay street circuit for the first time this season, with Carlos Sainz securing a dramatic late victory for Ferrari.

However, the champions were expected to return to form at the more traditional Suzuka circuit, and the Dutchman set down an early marker with a fastest time of 1:31.647, over six tenths faster than Sainz in second.

Lando Norris managed to put McLaren on third with one of the final flying laps of the session, a tenth behind Sainz, whie Charles Leclerc was fourth, just under a second behind Verstappen.

Yuki Tsunoda managed to go fifth in front of his home crowd, ahead of the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and the other McLaren of Oscar Piastri as the Australian makes his debut at Suzuka, with Alex Albon and Liam Lawson in eighth and ninth.

Lance Stroll rounded out the top 10, edging out the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez in 11th, while the Mercedes pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were back in 13th and 16th respectively on the medium tyres.

Where can I watch the 2023 Japanese GP?

For viewers in the UK, every session of the 2023 Japanese GP will be shown live on Sky Sports F1, with highlights on Channel 4.

Meanwhile, if you are in the USA, every session will be shown across ESPN

F1 fans in Australia will be able to catch all the action on Fox Sports, while those in Canada can watch on TSN.


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