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Verstappen overjoyed by victory comeback at Suzuka as he says race ‘couldn’t have been better’

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen expressed his satisfaction after he and Red Bull bounced back in style from their retirement in Australia last time out to claim a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez converted P1 and P2 on the grid at the Suzuka circuit to give Red Bull a third one-two finish from four races in 2024 – the only blip being the team’s troubled Melbourne weekend.

READ MORE: Verstappen leads home Perez for Red Bull one-two at Japanese GP after early drama

With an early red flag, warm weather conditions after a lack of representative practice running and various tyre strategies all providing potential obstacles, Verstappen ultimately came home some 12 seconds clear of Perez, who was a further eight seconds up on Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

2024 Japanese Grand Prix: Verstappen crosses the line to take his third victory of the season

Speaking after the race, Verstappen reflected: “It was very nice. I think the critical bit was of course 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, but yeah, [it was] very nice. Everything just went really well, the pit stops went well, the strategy I think worked out well, so it couldn’t have been any better.”

RACE START: Watch the getaway in Japan as Albon and Ricciardo crash brings out the red flags

As for how pleased he was to get back in the flow after his DNF, Verstappen added: “It was a little hiccup of course, the last race, but [I’m] very happy that we are here back on the top. Great fans, in front of [Red Bull engine provider] Honda as well, [so] it’s fantastic to win here.”

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing,

Verstappen added to their one-two finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia at the start of the season

Verstappen now leads the drivers’ standings on 77 points, followed by team mate Perez on 64 and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc on 59, as F1 prepares to visit China’s Shanghai International Circuit for the first time since 2019 – with the Sprint format also in play.

“It’s going to be quite hectic anyway with the Sprint weekend,” said the Dutchman. “Of course we haven’t been there for a while, [there’s] only one practice session to really get into it again, so I think it will be quite interesting.”

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix

In addition to Verstappen extending his championship advantage, Red Bull now sit 21 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ battle – with driver and team looking to do the double for the third successive campaign.

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