Qualifying F1 Japanese GP

Harish Samtani Updated: September 25, 2023, 11:21 AM IST

The Japanese GP began in 1963 and other than the Covid years that didn't allow for the event, its passion and commitment ever since been unflinching. The fact that no Japanese driver has ever won this event hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of this mega automotive producing nation. The Honda F1 circuit at Suzuka has placed host since eons to a plethora of motor racing activities including that of 2 wheelers, the category which is the first love of the Japanese folk. With 2,00,000 spectators flocking the circuit in the orderly fashion that is second to nature to them, this GP is here to stay forever. The figure 8 circuit covering a distance of 5.8 km has 18 corners (almost even numbers of left and right bends). It has a long 1.2 km straight in addition to the fastest corner where the f1 monsters cruise thru at 295 kph approx. Hamilton has triumphed here five times, but the pace of the hapless Mercedes may not let him dream of a 6th win this time around. But miracles do happen.

Team McLaren is back on the charge with two young and hungry drivers, Aussie Oscar Piastri 22 years young and his senior at 23 the Brit Lando Norris, a Scorpio by nature and attitude! Added up they almost total Alonso's age who, however, doesn't reveal it whilst on the track .

The qualifying was interesting with the crowd waiting for Ferrari to unleash its Singapore sling, but alas, they had flattered to deceive indeed. While Q1 and Q2 kept the largely Japanese F1 fans guessing and vociferously rooting for the local hero Yuri Tsunoda who responded with a respectable 9th position for the start of the race ahead of Alonso. Sergio Perez had another bad day at the office and placed 5th just short of a second from his teammate Max who brought his pole setting RedBull with a stunning 1.28.877 secs miles ahead of 2nd placed Piastri who in turn finished ahead of his teammate Norris by a tiniest fraction (1.29.458 versus 1.29.493) . Now let's wait and watch for strategies to unravel with Max joking that he may go in for 4 pit stops! With the pace this guy sets, he always has enough time for an extra stop and one never knows. At the press conference, when asked who was he a fan in F1 in his early days, his blunt reply was 'I am not fan of anyone. I appreciate a few but not a fan.'