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Max Verstappen Returns to Winning Form at the Japanese Grand Prix

The Dutchman led a Red Bull 1-2 finish in the Japanese Grand Prix while Yuki Tsunoda finished in points for the first time at his home track.



Japanese Grand Prix
Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates with the trophy on the podium after winning the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix on April 7 at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. (Androniki Christodoulou/REUTERS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Max Verstappen Returns to Winning Form at the Japanese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen bounced back from his forced retirement in Australia to win the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, April 7 while Yuki Tsunoda finished 10th and in the points for the first time at the Suzuka Circuit.

Verstappen, who started from pole position, cruised to victory to lead a Red Bull 1-2 finish with the Dutchman taking the checkered flag 12.535 seconds ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.

"I think the critical bit was of course the start, to stay ahead," Verstappen said. "After that the car got better and better for me throughout the race."

Carlos Sainz of Ferrari, the winner of the March 24 race in Australia, was third, with teammate Charles Leclerc finishing fourth.

Japanese Grand Prix
The start of the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix. (KYODO)

The race got off to a rocky start on the first lap when the front left wheel of Alexander Albon's Williams Mercedes clipped Daniel Ricciardo's car, sending the RB driver into a tire wall.

Both drivers were unhurt but couldn't continue and the race resumed after a 30-minute delay.

Japanese Grand Prix
RB's Yuki Tsunoda (right) finishes 10th in the Japanese Grand Prix. (KYODO)

Solid Race for RB's Yuki Tsunoda

RB driver Tsunoda, who started 10th on the grid dropped down to 12th after the restart but worked his way back up after a series of fine overtakes.

His biggest moment came when he passed Nico Hulkenberg of Haas Ferrari on the 34th lap to jump into 10th place.

With five laps to go, Tsunoda fended off a challenge from Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and Hulkenberg to secure the final point with his best finish at Suzuka.

Another big moment for Tsunoda came with a brilliant pit stop by the RB team on Lap 23 of the 53-lap race that saw the Japanese driver leapfrog Sauber's Valtteri Bottas and Williams' Logan Sergeant.

"One of the big highlights was the pit stop," Tsunoda said. "Our mechanics did a fantastic job, it was such a fast pit stop that it allowed us to overtake two cars and that's insane. Without that, it would have been a lot more difficult to score points today."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.