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Max Verstappen returns to his victories in Japan and takes the lead in Formula 1 – Motors

Max Verstappen returns to his victories in Japan and takes the lead in Formula 1 – Motors

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) returned to winning ways in the Formula 1 World Championship today by winning the Japanese Grand Prix, the fourth race of the season, which was marred by a first-lap crash that brought the car to a 32-minute stop.

Verstappen, who started from first place, crossed the finish line after 1:54.23.566 hours, leaving him in second place, his teammate Sergio Perez (Red Bull) with a time of 12.535 seconds, and Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) in third place with a time of 20.866 seconds.

The Japanese race, which was held in good weather, witnessed an accident between Thai Alexander Albon (Williams) and Australian Daniel Ricciardo (RB) at the third turn, which led to the race being stopped for more than half an hour.

After the start, Ricciardo did not notice Albon approaching from his right and the two ended up in contact, ending up at the guardrails.

The stewards had to stop the race to safely remove the cars from the site.

The race resumed with new starting procedures, with Max Verstappen giving his rivals no chance once again.

The three-time world champion lost the lead only momentarily after two tire change stops, first to Monaco's Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and then to Carlos Sainz.

However, after managing tire degradation and speed, Verstappen quickly returned to driving, also setting the fastest lap of the race.

Carlos Sainz benefited from Ferrari's strategy, which made Leclerc a barrier for Briton Lando Norris (McLaren), to climb to the podium for the third time in four races (he only missed the one race in Saudi Arabia, where he underwent emergency surgery due to acute appendicitis). ).

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Leclerc finished fourth and found himself defeated again by his colleague, followed by Norris, who ranked fifth, and Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), sixth.

The simulator indicated that the Aston Martin driver would not be able to perform better than ninth place, but the Astori’s experience earned him points, as he was able to manage the tire deterioration perfectly, and even allowed the Australian Oscar Piastri (McLaren) to advance in the final part. Run less than a second behind him in order to get DRS and help defend the attacking Briton George Russell (Mercedes) who was recovering.

Russell was able to get rid of Piastri, but he was unable to overcome Alonso, who fought back during the last seven laps.

This is the third victory for Max Verstappen in the four races that have already been held, and the thirty-seventh victory in his career. This was also the third consecutive victory in Japan.

“It was good. “At first I managed to stay in front, and since then, the car has gotten better and better,” the three-time champion commented at the end.

Verstappen strengthened his lead in the championship with 77 points, 13 points behind Sergio Perez, who now occupies second place, after surpassing Leclerc, who is in third place, with 59 points.

Among the manufacturers, Red Bull leads with 141 points, 21 points behind Ferrari.

The next round is the Chinese Grand Prix, in two weeks, which marks Shanghai's return to the calendar for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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It will also be the first of six races this season with a sprint race on Saturday.