Verstappen wins Japanese GP, Red Bull clinches constructors' title
Red Bull has clinched the 2023 Formula 1 constructors' championship after Max Verstappen handily won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.
This is the second consecutive constructors' championship for Red Bull and the sixth overall in team history.
"It's very fitting to win the championship here in front of Honda," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said, according to Autosport. Honda is the manufacturer of Red Bull's power unit.
Verstappen, who led every lap at Suzuka and put up a 19-second gap to second place, is also honing in on his third consecutive drivers' title but has yet to officially secure it despite dominating the season thus far. He now has 400 points on the season and a 177-point gap to second-place Sergio Perez.
The Japanese GP was the 16th race completed on the calendar and there are six remaining. The Qatar GP is next Oct. 8.
The two McLarens rounded out the podium, with Lando Norris crossing the line second and rookie Oscar Piastri placing third.
Piastri became the first rookie to finish on the podium of a race since Lance Stroll accomplished the feat with Williams as a freshman in 2017.
"I'll remember this for a very very long time," Piastri said. "I can't thank the team enough. There's not many people in the world who get this opportunity in their whole life, and I've managed to have it in my first season."
Perez, Verstappen's Red Bull teammate, retired to the pits on Lap 15 but returned to the track on the 40th lap for three trips around the circuit before being summoned back to the garage and ending his race.
Checo dealt with front-wing damage twice during his race due to collisions and was handed a five-second penalty by the stewards for safety car infringement.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc finished just off the podium in fourth with teammate Carlos Sainz placing sixth. Sainz is the only non-Red Bull driver this season to win a race.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell placed fifth and seventh for Mercedes, respectively. Prior to Red Bull's current run, the Silver Arrows won eight straight constructors' titles from 2014-21.
Two-time champion Fernando Alonso finished eighth.
Rounding out the points were the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, with the French duo in ninth and 10th.