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FACTS AND STATS: Piastri becomes first rookie to start on the front row since Stroll in 2017

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Sean Kelly
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SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 22: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes on

Max Verstappen grabbed an emphatic pole position in Japan, beating the field by over half a second as he looks set to start P1 here for the second straight year. But what other facts and stats did qualifying throw up?

  • Max Verstappen has led every practice session this weekend, before beating the field in Q3. He grabbed pole by 0.581s, which is the largest margin at Suzuka since Rubens Barrichello beat Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003 by 0.699s.

  • Oscar Piastri is the fifth Australian to qualify on the front row, and the first rookie to start on the front row since Lance Stroll at Monza in 2017.

  • Piastri is also the 157th driver to start on the front row in a world championship event, as he out-qualified Lando Norris for just the fourth time this season.

READ MORE: Verstappen and Red Bull return to form as they charge to pole ahead of the McLarens at Suzuka

  • The last time McLaren started this high at Suzuka – with second and third – was in 2011 when Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton started P2 and P3, and Button went on to win the race.

  • Norris scored his fifth top three start of the year.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 23: Pole position qualifier qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands

Verstappen grabbed pole in Japan by a huge margin

  • Charles Leclerc out-qualified his team mate for the first time in four races.

  • Sergio Perez was 0.773s slower than his team mate, but he did manage to grab only his third top five start in the last 11 races.

  • Carlos Sainz was sixth, for his fifth top six start in a row.

  • Hamilton qualified P7, his worst starting position at Suzuka since starting ninth in 2012, while George Russell starts eighth here for the second year in a row.

READ MORE: Verstappen hails ‘fantastic’ run to pole at Suzuka as Red Bull bounce back in style

  • Yuki Tsunoda made his first Q3 appearance since Monaco ten races ago, which was the longest wait of anyone on the grid.

  • Fernando Alonso remains the only driver to reach Q3 at every race this season.

  • Liam Lawson was P11, the first time this year that both AlphaTauri cars are in the top-11 on the grid.

  • Pierre Gasly failed to reach Q3 for the sixth consecutive race, while Esteban Ocon has failed to reach Q3 seven times out of the last eight races.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 23: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes

Alonso managed to maintain his Q3 run

  • Alex Albon qualified P13, which is the highest start for Williams here since Felipe Massa was eighth in 2017.

  • Kevin Magnussen out-qualified Nico Hulkenberg for the second straight race, but still trails 5-11 in the head to head over one lap.

  • Valtteri Bottas was eliminated in Q1 for the first time in his career, and the third time in the last four races.

  • Stroll was knocked out in Q1 for the third straight race, and the second year running in Suzuka.

MUST SEE: Watch as Sargeant crashes out in qualifying at Suzuka with Q1 red-flagged

  • Hulkenberg was knocked out in Q1, after making it to Q3 last weekend. It’s also only the second time he’s been out in Q1 in 10 visits to Suzuka, the previous time being back in 2018.

  • Both Alfa Romeo cars were eliminated in Q1 for the second straight week.

  • Logan Sargeant crashed out of qualifying for the second time in four races.

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