Verstappen wins Suzuka pole ahead of McLaren's Piastri, Norris
Championship leader Max Verstappen is back on top, clinching pole position for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix by posting Saturday's fastest qualifying time at Suzuka International Racing Course.
It's a return to pole position for Verstappen, who had an uncharacteristically rough weekend at Singapore. He failed to make it into Q3 and finished the race fifth.
The Red Bull driver led both McLarens, with rookie Oscar Piastri slated to start alongside Verstappen in the front row. Lando Norris will start third alongside Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the second row.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:28.877|
|5||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+0.773|
|10||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+1.683|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||Q1|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||Q1|
|19||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||Q1|
This is Verstappen's first pole position in three races, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz claiming the top starting spot in both Italy and Singapore. Prior to that, Verstappen had claimed the front of the grid in six of eight races. He also posted the fastest time during qualifying at Spa but was hit with a five-place grid penalty and Leclerc was awarded pole.