Max Verstappen said his Red Bull was “beautiful” to drive around the high-speed corner Suzuka circuit as he hit back from disappointment in Singapore to claim pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Verstappen finished a massive 0.581 seconds clear of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri a week on from seeing his record 10-race winning run ended around the streets of Singapore.
The 25-year-old, who is closing in a hat-trick of world titles, admitted he was keen to be back on top in Japan.
“From my side I was just very fired up to have a good weekend here and make sure that we were strong,” Verstappen said.
“We were on the limit but felt in control and it is just very nice when the car does what you want it to do.
“Really, really enjoyable. Here, what makes it special is that there is no run-off so if you have a problem you are going off.
“That’s why I think this track is really beautiful to drive once you have the car planted.”
The McLaren pair of Piastri and Lando Norris, who qualified third, had closed the gap in final practice but were no match for Verstappen in the race for pole.
Norris joked that Piastri could emulate Alain Prost, who famously crashed into Ayrton Senna at Suzuka in 1989, into turn one.
“That would be lovely for me,” Norris said.
“If he (Verstappen) is leading by turn two then there is not a lot we can really do.”
Red Bull are likely to clinch the Constructors’ Championship on Sunday at the home race for their engine supplier Honda.
Verstappen said that was the focus of the team, after their struggles last week caused some to suggest that a technical directive from the FIA had limited their performance.
“Singapore didn’t happen for us!” Verstappen added.
“The aim (was to win the championship here) especially after coming from Singapore. We know that this is the first proper opportunity to win it so we want to do that.
“We had a bad weekend and then people start talking about technical directives. I think they can go suck on it.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub