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What the teams said – Race day in Japan

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari, Lance

Red Bull

Verstappen nailed both his starts today, and that was enough for the Dutchman. From there he was able to manage his tyres, control the race and cross the line for his third straight win in Japan. Three race wins from four Grands Prix in 2024, it was the perfect retort to his retirement in Melbourne. Perez had to work harder for his P2, after being undercut by Norris. He had to fight his way back past the McLaren on track, but in clear air was able to build a comfortable gap to the chasing pack.

Max Verstappen, 1st

“Today was simply lovely and I really enjoyed the race. We stayed out of trouble in the first lap and from there, we tried to look after the tyres as much as possible. We made the right calls before we went into qualifying, which definitely helped today and it is very nice to come back and win after Australia. The car just got better throughout the race and, although it took a few laps before I got a nice rhythm as we didn’t have many practices on the long runs, on the second stint the car really came alive. I could push where I needed to and I could look after my tyres well, so the race went really nicely. It was a great Team result the whole weekend and brilliant to score a one two here: our third of the season. Suzuka is always a great track to go racing at and overall I am really happy about the performance today.”

Sergio Perez, 2nd

“It was a good day for the Team. We had good pace today, we just struggled with the degradation initially and didn’t get enough out of the medium due to the balance and track temperature. We suffered a little on the first stint, it compromised our race a little too much and with Lando pitting early. The second stint was better, but we had to get through a lot of traffic and that made our life a lot harder. On the hard we were back to our best, but things were a little out of sync by then. What is positive and an improvement is that when we have issues like on the first stint, we are able to solve them during the race, which is something we lacked last year. We are in a good place and performing at a very nice level, we just need to keep progressing. My confidence is coming back and the momentum should be with me for the coming races, if I am able to have such a consistent weekend in Suzuka it can only be positive moving forward.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“It was a great Team performance today; fastest lap, a one-two finish, fastest pit stop and leading first and second in The Championship. So yeah, it's an amazing performance here, and one we are very proud of, particularly in Japan at the home of our engine partner, Honda. Max managed to control the race beautifully. He was away from the beginning and really looked after the tyres. But Checo has had a very strong agenda here. His qualifying yesterday was good. Better than he has managed in his career. And then his racing was fantastic. He came through the field and was very strong and maintained his pace. A brilliant race across the board, from all the Team. It is great to see.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Ferrari

Ferrari were the only top team to split their strategies after the red flag, leaving Leclerc on an effective one-stop and Sainz on the more traditional two-stop. Leclerc had to work really hard to extend his first stint on the mediums, while Sainz had to do likewise in his middle stint to ensure he had fresh tyres late on to fight back through the field. Both drivers made the most of the strategies they had, Sainz climbing back up to the podium late on, while Leclerc had more than enough pace to hold Norris at bay for fourth in a good response to his disappointing qualifying yesterday.

READ MORE: Sainz thrilled with third place in Japan after making multiple overtakes during ‘tough’ race

Charles Leclerc, 4th

"Looking just at today’s race, I’m quite happy, because there is nothing that we could have done better. Our pace, tyre management, communication and strategy were all really good. However, what prevented us from getting a better overall result mostly comes down to our qualifying yesterday. Since Australia, we’ve had some difficulties putting the tyres in the right window on the out laps in qualifying, which is something we never struggled with before, so we really have to focus on that in the next few days to make sure we can put it all together in China."

Carlos Sainz, 3rd

"It was a good day for the whole team. We executed a very solid race and brought home a lot of points, maximising the potential of our package. A strong couple of starts kept me in a good position and from there onwards we managed it perfectly with very strong pace on both compounds and good overtakes to make the strategy work. We obviously want to fight a bit further up, but if we keep pushing like this, I’m sure we will have more opportunities. Now it’s back to the factory with the team and from tomorrow we’ll start preparing for China."

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"Today, our team worked in a calm and focused manner to achieve its goals. We made a real step forward over the winter and the results of that can be seen on track. We had a very solid Sunday, securing the best result possible after a difficult qualifying yesterday and that’s something we definitely have to work on.

"The team did everything perfectly in the race, from strategy to tyre management. Both drivers did an excellent job in managing their respective strategies. With Carlos starting nearer the front we could be more aggressive so that he finished on a charge, pulling off several great passing moves. We were a bit more limited with Charles, as he was down in eighth on the grid, but he drove an excellent first stint and so we were able to execute a one-stop strategy that meant he made up a lot of places. Looking at the result, it’s clear there is still room for improvement if we want to put Red Bull under pressure and that’s what we’d like to do as from the next round in China."

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

McLaren

Norris was holding onto third early on, but will want some answers from his team as to why he was pitted much earlier than his Ferrari rivals. Although he briefly undercut Perez for a de facto P2, he was soon overtaken by both the Red Bull and later the Ferrari of Sainz. Having lost out to Leclerc thanks to the Ferrari man’s one-stop strategy, he cut a disappointed figure at the flag. As for Piastri, a couple of small mistakes proved costly, especially one on the penultimate lap that gave Russell a run on the McLaren, and cost the Australian seventh place.

Lando Norris, 5th

"Tough race! We gave it a good try, but we just didn't have enough pace today, so trying to cover and stay ahead of the Ferraris was challenging. I think we still did a good job and maximised the points but starting third and finishing fifth is never the nicest thing to happen. It’s the maximum of what we could achieve today though, so I think we have to be happy with it as much as it doesn’t feel like a great result."

Oscar Piastri, 8th

"It was a difficult afternoon. Things didn’t quite click into place and we weren't fighting for the positions we wanted to. However, it's four points finishes on the bounce this year and there’s plenty to take away and try to learn from. We’ll go back to the factory and turn our attention to China where we’ll look to secure more valuable points for the team."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

"Overall, it’s a positive outcome to the race here in Suzuka in terms of scoring valuable points with both cars. Obviously after a strong qualifying, we could have hoped for trying to consolidate a podium finish, but it wasn’t on the cards, in terms of car performance today. I think, if we look at the classification, at least for the first five, it’s in competitiveness order. We tried to go for a podium with Lando, stopping early, making sure we stayed ahead of Carlos, but ultimately, we didn’t have the pace. It also meant that we found ourselves on a slightly slower strategy and we finished behind Leclerc. But we are happy that we are pushing for podium finishes even if today it was out of our grasp.

"On Oscar’s side, it was a busy race for him, always in direct competition with some cars around him. It was a little bit of a shame with the final lock-up at the chicane, which cost him the position to Russell, but it was important points for the team today, which consolidates the third position in the Championship. Now we refocus and we look ahead to China."

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Alonso started on the softs and seemed racy in the early stages. He swapped to the mediums then the hards and wound up defending hard from Piastri late on, with Russell joining that fight. The wily Spaniard kept giving Piastri DRS so that he could defend from the Mercedes and that tactic worked wonders, with Alonso holding on to sixth at the flag. As for Stroll, he fought back well from the lower grid slots, but struggled on the straights with his higher downforce package. He three-stopped and was chasing back to the points on fresh softs late on, only to lose out to Hulkenberg in the final moments.

Fernando Alonso, 6th

“It was a great weekend for me with fifth position in Qualifying yesterday and sixth place in the race. It was one of my best for a while. I think we slightly outperformed our true position here this weekend, but we are executing our races very well this season and scoring good points for the team. Our plan for today worked well and a special thanks for the pitstops which were very impressive, so credit to all of the team for that. We still need to analyse our update package, so we’ll have a look at all our data from this weekend in Japan ahead of our return to Shanghai.”

Lance Stroll, 12th

“It was a difficult race today. Starting from P16 meant we had a compromised strategy and struggled to find any clean air. We also lacked the straight-line speed we needed. I did make some good overtakes at Turn 6 though, so that made for some fun racing. We were hoping to catch Yuki [Tsunoda] for P10, but the soft tyres just didn’t have the grip towards the end of the race, so it was disappointing not to finish in the points. We’ll take these learnings into China in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal

“P6 was the best available to us today and a solid result. The updates we have brought seem to be a positive step and we have been able to finish ahead of our nearest competitor Mercedes and come home with eight points. Fernando drove really well today and the team executed flawless and consistent pitstops. With Lance he was fighting with Tsunoda who started six places ahead of him on the grid after Qualifying. He battled well and made some impressive overtakes in the Esses but unfortunately, we couldn’t take the fight to him today. We have a short turnaround now back at the Campus and we look forward to returning to Shanghai and the first Sprint weekend of the season."

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Mercedes

With two fresh sets of hards, Mercedes had a choice to make at the restart and they gambled, putting both cars on the C1 rubber and bringing different strategy options into the reckoning. They seemed to be trying for a one-stop race, but neither car was quick enough and both were forced to swap to a two-stop after being passed by their rivals. Hamilton had track position but gave that up to Russell early on, with the former world champion just not a match for Russell on race pace. On fresher tyres late on, Russell closed in on Piastri and Alonso and did manage to get the McLaren, but only after a moment where he seemed to push him wide. The stewards had a look, but no further action was taken.

Lewis Hamilton, 9th

"It was a difficult day today. I did my best, but the result wasn’t a good one. Unfortunately, that is where our car is at the moment. I didn’t feel great on the Hard tyre and picked up a little bit of damage on the restart. I had lots of understeer, particularly during that first stint, which was why I decided to let George past. Once we put on the Medium compound, it started to feel a little better. The final stint was the first time in the race that I felt like I had good grip.

"We need to keep working hard as today, our pace was likely only good enough for P6. If we want to move up the grid, then we will need to add more performance to the car."

George Russell, 7th

"We moved forward today and that was positive. The plan to start on the Hard tyre after the red flag was to give us the flexibility to attempt either a one-stop or a two-stop. It was good to have this freedom and ultimately, we ended up on the two-stop strategy as the one stop wasn’t working. We had a challenging opening stint but after that first stop, our pace looked competitive to those ahead.

It was an exciting race towards the end. It’s always nice to be attacking rather than defending, and it was good, hard racing. There was some contact with Oscar, which was a racing incident, but I was glad to get the position in the end. It’s close between the four teams behind Red Bull and qualifying is going to be critical at each race. Whoever starts ahead will likely finish at the front of that pack. We know we’ve got work to do and we will keep pushing. Hopefully a track like the one in China will suit us better."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"It was a difficult race today. Our second and third stints were quick and were similar to those ahead who were fighting for the podium. A poor first stint cost us today though and we need to find out why that was. Our decision to take the restart on the Hard tyres was the right one I feel, and, in the beginning, our pace was stable with our direct competitors. We suddenly dropped one to two seconds a lap though and at the moment, it was clear that the tyres wouldn’t make the one-stop viable for us.

"Overall, this weekend has been better than the final results suggest. We have lots to learn and there is no track relevant excuse we will use; we need to be quick at all circuits. But from what we’ve seen here, we can say that the car is becoming quicker. We will continue to work hard, and I am excited to head back to China in a few weeks after such a long absence from the calendar."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"It wasn't an easy race today. We weren't quick enough in qualifying so were starting too far back to challenge for the podium. Early in the race, our pace was simply not good enough too. We'd decided to go to the Hard tyre at the red flag as we felt there wasn't much threat from behind, and it was our best way to offset and try something different. Towards the end of that stint we were really struggling with low grip. We couldn't stop early as there was too much traffic in the window, so we stayed out until we had cleared it. Unfortunately by then, we had lost a chunk of time.

"The second and third stints were more encouraging, but we'd lost too much time by that point to get back into the mix. We know that we are not quick enough at the moment, so we will continue work hard to improve that. Despite the challenging result, it has been a useful weekend to learn more about our car and develop our understanding of the W15."

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 leads Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

RB

Ricciardo was the one to move across into Turn 3 on the opening lap, clipping the front wing of Albon’s Williams. Replays showed the Aussie was looking to his left in what seemed an unfortunate racing incident, but it was enough to cost Ricciardo his race as he spun off into the barriers to bring out the red flags on a day he really needed a strong result. His team mate did deliver one, Tsunoda scoring a point on home soil as he nailed his strategy to top the midfield, helped by an absolutely brilliant pit stop from his team.

READ MORE: ‘Relieved’ Tsunoda hails 'insane' RB pit stop as he nets a point on home soil

Daniel Ricciardo, DNF

“After yesterday, where we made some steps in the right direction, I was really excited to come racing today to have a good day. In these cases, a Lap 1 incident is one of the worst things that could happen to a driver, especially as you don’t really have the chance to do anything after the massive build-up and energy used to be prepared for the race. It was a shame and an unfortunate one for all of us involved. It was a racing incident, and luckily, after some checks, both Alex and I are okay.

"The start of the race was really poor as Yuki and I were on medium tyres, and we were struggling so much compared to the other cars behind on the soft compound. In Turn 2, it settled a little bit, but I still felt like I was sliding and then saw an Aston on the outside of me. I was watching him but when I was preparing to enter Turn 3, without using all the track as it was the first lap, Albon got alongside me and had a better exit from Turn 2. I didn’t see him and we touched. This is racing sometimes and is part of it; not really anyone to blame, there was just a huge difference in terms of grip out of there. I’m sorry for the team, but China is soon, so we’ll focus on that.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 10th

“I’m feeling relieved. After I lost some positions on the first start, I felt a little disappointment for sure, but at the same time, I just focused on the second start. I had a good one and was able to make up a few positions. One of the big highlights was the pitstop. Our mechanics did a fantastic job, it was such a fast pitstop that allowed us to overtake two cars, and that’s insane! Without that, it would’ve been a lot more difficult to score points today, so the team deserves big credit. So do the Japanese fans, they are great! Obviously, finally being able to score points in front of my home fans, here and those who couldn’t make it to the track and watched it on TV, makes me a very happy guy.

"I felt confident today. I knew our straight-line speed isn’t that competitive compared to other cars but at the same time, we know we had a lot of downforce, and the only chance we had was through the esses, normally affected by downforce. It allowed me a couple good overtakes and I definitely enjoyed that. In terms of tyre management, I feel like my driving in today’s race was probably my best. I started my career here and to be able to score points here is extremely special. A big thank you to everyone at Honda, Red Bull and Visa Cash App RB who have been involved and supported me throughout my journey. I don’t feel like I scored P10 today but P1 – it’s a great feeling.”

Jody Egginton, Technical Director

“Today’s race has been a very close battle from start to finish for the final point, but we came out of it at the front of the group, thanks to what can only be described as a real team effort. Yuki drove superbly, managing his tyres well in the phases of the race when he needed, but also showing good pace when required to maintain the gap. The pitwall adapted the strategy very well following the restart and the pit crew produced a fantastic second pit stop under pressure, to give Yuki track position back in what was a very intense battle with Stroll, Bottas, Hulkenburg and Magnussen. Unfortunately, Daniel’s race never got going with his first lap incident putting him out of the race. However, even with no dry running on Friday, he has put together a solid Saturday qualifying, and we are confident we can continue to build on this in the coming events. Everybody trackside and back in Faenza and Bicester has and continues to work very hard, and today’s result provides further energy to keep pushing and developing the package and the team. As such, we are all looking forward to the next races.”

Laurent Mekies, Team Principal

“Great result for the team today. Yuki drove a fantastic, well-controlled race in front of his home crowd, managing his tyres and pushing hard when it mattered. Some great overtaking too, and not a foot wrong all weekend. He deserves the superb result of today. Daniel’s incident in the first lap was unfortunate. We were quite exposed against our competitors behind us who were mainly on soft tyres, and these things can happen. What is important is that both our drivers had great pace here, as demonstrated yesterday in qualifying. The team performed very well at extracting everything we could from our package this weekend, including a decisive high-pressure pit stop in the race, and many difficult calls. It’s only one point for the championship but it is a very important one, especially on a day where the top five teams had both their cars finishing the race. A big well done to everyone in Faenza, in Bicester, and to our partner Honda. We know we need to keep pushing very hard in all areas to be able to keep topping the midfield, and it will be another completely new challenge for the sprint race in China in two weeks’ time.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Yuki Tsunoda of Scuderia Visa Cash App RB celebrates finishing in 10th position with the team during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Haas

Hulkenberg had an awful restart, wheelspin off the line dropping him down the field. As such the team brought him in super early for some hard tyres, and from there he seemed to be trying for a one-stop race. But falling back down the order as his tyres aged, he came back in and managed to recover back to 11th late on. As for Magnussen, he was really in the thick of it, racing Sargeant, the Alpines and Bottas – who thought the Dane was moving under braking at one point. But his much older hard tyres faded late on, and he couldn’t keep some fresher shod cars at bay.

Nico Hulkenberg, 11th

“I don’t think we could’ve got any higher than P10 probably, and Tsunoda was 50 seconds behind Hamilton, so I didn’t have that kind of pace. I had one good start and one really bad start – the car went into anti-stall. After that, I got my head down as I think the pace was pretty good for the midfield. I did a long stint on the hard at first, and a ‘splash and dash’ on the second set so that I could really show some pace. I take our race pace as a positive, it was better than what I expected before the race so that’s a relief and promising for China and going forwards.”

Kevin Magnussen, 13th

“At one point I was running inside the top 10 – I didn’t know what those around me were doing so I wasn’t sure if it was realistic or not – but I was trying. With the tires we had, the red flag effectively helped a few people and they were able to do a one-stop from hard to hard, where I had to do two stops from medium to hard, so that was tough. I had to pit quite early for the second stint on the hard tires, so it was a bit tricky. We’re there or thereabouts in the races again, so that’s encouraging and gives some hope for coming races that we can be in the hunt for points.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

“There are mixed feelings because in the end, we missed out being in the top 10 by five seconds with Nico which is very frustrating. On the positive side, our race pace today was much better than what we saw earlier in the weekend, so the changes the team made after FP3 and before qualifying worked well. We just needed to get there sooner this weekend as we started off with the wrong car balance and FP2 was wet – it put us on the backfoot – so that’s something we as a team need to improve. Today with Nico, the first start was fine but on the second start he didn’t do the procedure correctly so he went into anti-stall and lost positions. From there to recover to almost scoring points was very encouraging, so that’s the positive we’re going to take.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Kick Sauber

Zhou was called in early on to retire with an apparent gearbox issue. That left Bottas flying the flag for Kick Sauber, and he had an eventful race. He was briefly on the cusp of the top 10, but was embroiled in a tight fight with the cars around. Plenty of wheel to wheel action for the Finn, who wasn’t too impressed with some of the driving from Magnussen midway through. In the end, Kick Sauber must be buoyed by the lack of major pit stop losses, but they did ship some time to their rivals which isn’t ideal when the gaps are so tight.

Valtteri Bottas, 14th

“Our pace overall looked quite strong today, this is the positive we can definitely take out of this race: it should have allowed us to finish higher than we did today – which confirms the step forward we have made in terms of performance thanks to the upgrades we have been bringing recently and the work done to refine our understanding of our package. Unfortunately, our potential for points was scuppered when we suffered the traffic at our second stop: we stopped with a group of other cars, it was not the easiest stop and, once I made it back out on track, I ended up being stuck behind Kevin [Magnussen] for most of the final laps.

"I am definitely disappointed, as we could have easily achieved more today, and scored our first points of the season. Still, our race pace looked promising, and there is progress made both on and off the track. We can hope for a stronger performance in Shanghai: our priority remains getting more consistent execution across the whole board, and fight for points in what is an extremely tight pack. I am excited to be going back to China after a few years, and it’ll of course be a big one for us as a team and for Zhou – hopefully, we’ll be able to be back in the fight and put up a decent show and some points.”

Zhou Guanyu, DNF

“It has been a difficult weekend for me: unfortunately, we encountered some smaller issues over the weekend, from the reduced run time in FP3, that ultimately impacted my qualifying, to a DNF in a race where I had the pace to make up some positions. I had a good start and first laps of the race, before we noticed that we might have some technical problems and being informed to retire the car. While this is definitely not the start of the year that I hoped for, we keep working hard as we know things will improve: our overall pace looked good, and my focus now is on the preparation for my first home Grand Prix. With the team trackside and back at the factory, we’ll investigate our issues and work on them to be in a better position, so I’ll be fighting for points at home in China – in Saturday’s Sprint Race as well as the Race on Sunday.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

“After three races in which we were affected by issues at the pit stops, we can see some positive developments there, having four stops with no issues. Of course, right now we are not looking at maximising speed, but rather the consistency and reliability of our stops, which is what happened today. We had to retire Zhou’s car due to a problem with the drivetrain, which the team is now investigating; it’s unfortunate as he had a strong start and good first laps, and even though he wasn’t directly in the fight for points at that stage, with his strong pace he would have been helpful for the team in terms of maximising the outcomes of our strategy. Valtteri had a really solid race, with two good starts and a serious shot at scoring: he was ahead of Tsunoda before the second stop, and Yuki went on to score points. Of course, we know our current limitations and we knew we would get back on track behind them, but we can take heart by the fact that our race pace was matching him, if not better, even if eventually Valtteri ended up stuck behind Magnussen for the remainder for the race, and wasn’t in a position to attack him on the straights.

"As a team, we need to analyse all the data from this weekend: we keep finding better performance with each upgrade that comes from Hinwil, and we know we are going in the right direction. Development is going well and the upgrades are working, our pit stops are improving: we know that to score points this year we’ll need to put everything together, and that no details can be missed in terms of execution, performance, and reliability, so we keep working hard. We now focus on two days of testing with Pirelli ahead of coming back stronger in Shanghai. We must retain our confidence: we are getting closer every race, and we see that our pace can be right there with our direct competitors.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Kick Sauber C44 Ferrari leads Logan Sargeant of United States driving the (2) Williams FW46 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Williams

Albon was fighting his way forward and going for a gap on the outside into Turn 3 when he made contact with Ricciardo, which sent him skewing straight off into the barriers. It was a heavy hit, but Albon was able to walk away unscathed – but his team will be hoping the chassis is okay given all their recent dramas with repairs. As for Sargeant, he was having a strong race until a lock up late on sent him off into the gravel. He did well to get back onto the track, but couldn’t recover back through the field after pitting to get rid of those flat-spotted tyres.

READ MORE: Ricciardo and Albon give their views on first-lap clash at Suzuka as stewards opt against further action

Alex Albon, DNF

"I didn’t have a great start but being on the Hard tyres, I had good traction coming up into Turn 2, but I don’t think Daniel [Ricciardo] saw me and it was a bit of a pinching moment… I tried to back out of it but I couldn’t quite get out of the way quick enough. It’s a tough one to take, so all in all a very frustrating and disappointing weekend. It wasn’t a big crash but the way I hit the tyre wall, the car gripped and went under it, and I came to a hard stop really fast and aggressively, so that won’t help with the damage to the car. Looking ahead, we’ll assess the damage and get the car ready in time for China."

Logan Sargeant, 17th

"After that second stop, I was pushing as hard as I could to catch the group ahead and make something happen. I bottomed on the exit kerb, locked up and went straight. That moment was disappointing but leading up to it there were some positives. We had a bold strategy trying to do the Hard, Hard race which I think would’ve worked. Of course, the lap we try to pit everyone pits and instead of jumping four cars, we got jumped by four cars which can make or break a race. Had that gone to plan, the race would’ve played out very differently.

"Nonetheless, we tried to adapt to the situation by boxing again. We still could’ve had a decent result, but I made that little mistake."

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Williams climbs out of his car after crashing during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Alpine

Alpine gambled and started both cars on the softs, only to roll the dice again and switch to the hards for the restart. Their drivers managed to touch at that restart, which was far from ideal but at least both could continue. But from there they just didn’t have the pace to compete, both falling down the order to finish ahead only of Sargeant’s Williams.

Esteban Ocon, 15th

“It was not an easy race today. We picked up some damage at the start, and after that we tried some different strategy options to give us a fighting chance. But, ultimately, we were not quick enough today to compete with those around us and keep them behind after the restart. It was unfortunate to pick up damage, however, I do not think it made a huge difference to the overall picture of the race. We struggled with race pace compared to Qualifying, so we have a lot to review and hopefully we can come back stronger at the next race in Shanghai.”

Pierre Gasly, 16th

“Unfortunately, it’s been a long afternoon for us in Suzuka. There are some positives, including having two very strong standing starts. At the second one, after the red flag, I overtook the Haas, then Esteban and then got myself alongside Yuki [Tsunoda]. At that point, I was sandwiched between both in an unfortunate racing incident. It meant I had significant damage to the floor – costing around 30 points of downforce – and therefore lap time as a result of the damage. From then, it was a very difficult race, there was not much we could do other than push as hard as possible. It’s not where we want to be, but it’s good that we brought the first upgrades to the car this weekend. We have to keep developing the concept, keep bringing parts as soon as possible as we need it in order to improve our current position.”

Bruno Famin, Team Principal

“Our race was compromised by the damage sustained to both cars at the second standing start in a racing incident. Both cars suffered significant losses in downforce, which cost us performance and lap time. Even so, we are lacking pace and we must keep improving in all areas and bringing upgrades to the car.”

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Pierre Gasly of France and Alpine F1 waves to the crowd on the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 07, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Pirelli

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director

“I think once again today, Formula 1 proved to be a very spectacular form of racing. On one of the most demanding tracks for drivers and cars, we witnessed a race with plenty of overtaking, where a variety of strategies were brought into play, thanks in part to all three of the compounds we chose for this round being up to the job in hand. This allowed drivers to choose from different options, both in terms of switching compounds and in when to make the pit stops. “While it’s true that, once again, Red Bull and Max Verstappen had the edge which allowed them to secure the win with relative ease, behind them there were some great battles, not just on track but also between the teams on the pit wall.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the Japanese Grand Prix as Verstappen wins following early red flag

“Today, was the hottest day of the weekend, with a track temperature at the start of 40 °C which then dropped to 32 °C and so thermal degradation was significant and those who did the best job of managing it were able to make up various places from where they started: here I’m thinking chiefly of Leclerc who drove an exceptional race in this respect, because his one and only stop saw him go from eighth to fourth. The undercut proved to be very effective, but it’s a fact that those who stopped too early were then at a disadvantage in the closing stages of each stint. All these variables created performance differences that facilitated overtaking, which was great for the spectators. Indeed, the fans that packed out Suzuka all weekend-long really added to the show and it was great to see them able to celebrate a tenth place finish for local hero Yuki Tsunoda.”

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