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Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix 2024

Winners and Losers from 2024 F1 Japanese Grand Prix

Who has made the list of Winners and Losers from the 2024 F1 Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

Race start Japan
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

The next Formula 1 race after the Japanese Grand Prix will be in China on April 21st, and the one after that will be in Miami on May 5th.

Of the 26 races since the start of the 2023 season, Max Verstappen has now won 22 of them following his dominant (what else would it be?) victory at Suzuka.

Providing he wins on F1's return to Shanghai, (and it would take a brave person to bet against it at this point), it would mean he's only been defeated twice in a calendar year, stretching back to Sergio Perez's victory on April 30th 2023 in Azerbaijan.

That is a run only bettered by Alberto Ascari between June 1952 and June 1953 when he won all nine Grands Prix he entered - the 1953 Indianapolis 500 being discounted for the fact F1 drivers tended not to bother with the expense and bother of a month-long trip to the Brickyard.

It is domination on a scale seen once in a blue moon, and the Verstappen-Red Bull dynasty will soon rival the great partnerships like Clark-Lotus, Senna-McLaren, Schumacher-Ferrari or Hamilton-Mercedes.

But as long-time readers of this piece will note, a crushing victory with no trouble is sometimes not enough to warrant a place amongst the Winners. If Verstappen had suffered a botched pit-stop for example and lost 45 seconds in the pits before storming back to win by the 12.5s he did, then that is different.

So we start our round-up with the driver who did not put a foot wrong all weekend.

Winner - Sergio Perez

Four races in, Sergio Perez has three-second places to his name to the three Verstappen wins.

He is nicely up to second place in the Drivers' as the team already looks to have the Constructors' wrapped up on 141 points, almost double that of third-placed McLaren.

All things being equal, Perez being 0.066s down on Verstappen in qualifying and 12.5s down in the race is about as good as he can hope for when up against the quadruple world champion-in-waiting.

He has come into 2024 with a refreshed mindset, perhaps accepting that he cannot and will not beat Verstappen and prepared for the glut of podiums and maybe the odd win here and there that comes his way.

His up-tick in form has been noticed by Red Bull boss Christian Horner and must be considered as favourite to retain the seat for 2025.

From the horror of Suzuka six months ago, this was about as strong a return as possible.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Williams

Williams is a team in survival mode right now.

Delays in the chassis build meant they only have two for the opening races - and both of them heavily crashed over the weekend.

That comes after the Australian mess where Logan Sargeant was benched after Alex Albon wrote his car off for the weekend.

It is a team that can do with a break, which fortunately team boss James Vowles feels came when he revealed the damage to Albon's chassis following the Daniel Ricciardo accident could be repaired and didn't seem too serious and was more cosmetic.

To compound Williams' misery, RB scored another point (more on that below), to take its tally to seven with Williams still on 0.

That new chassis is set for Miami, and Williams and Vowles will be keeping everything cross a change of luck comes with it.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Carlos Sainz

The unemployed man for 2025 is currently the stand-out driver of 2024.

Three races, and three podiums for Carlos Sainz, including a win, represents his best start to an F1 season - just when he needs to put himself in the biggest shop window he can find.

His move around the outside of an out-of-sorts eam-mate Charles Leclerc to steal away a podium was pinpoint excellence at Turn 1 as Sainz continued to tap into the rich vein of form he finds himself in.

Perhaps released by the lifting of pressure at Ferrari, Sainz is thriving and decidedly pummelled Leclerc into riding shotgun as he dragged the Prancing Horse to a first Suzuka podium.

If he keeps this up, that choice of 2025 seat will become ever-so harder.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Daniel Ricciardo

Much like the team whose car he took out of the race, Daniel Ricciardo is a driver in need of a break.

Although he was out-qualified once again by Yuki Tsunoda, this time he was 11th to the home hero's 10th, but both bogged down at the start on their medium tyres.

The two were swamped, or "gobbled" up as Ricciardo put it, which led to the collision at Turn 3 with Albon.

The stewards determined that it was a racing incident, of the kind found on the first lap, but after reviewing multiple replays from various angles, it was clumsy at best from Ricciardo to wander across the track, especially on the first lap.

This was something the stewards highlighted, that had Lance Stroll not been there and it not been the first lap, he would have been penalised.

He will receive a new chassis for China, more a coincidence as RB introduces a new one to the pool, but at the scene of his 2018 win, Ricciardo could do with a boost.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Yuki Tsunoda

Which is not something his team-mate Tsunoda needs.

For the second straight race, Tsunoda was the highest-placed of the drivers not from the big five teams, and picked up another well-earned point.

Of the 11 points scored so far between RB, Haas, Williams, Stake and Alpine, Tsunoda has seven of them and is 11th in the standings - the best these five teams can realistically hope for.

Home events can sometimes be a struggle for drivers as they deal with media and fan attention, and this was something Tsunoda highlighted heading into the weekend, but he delivered a fine performance.

He once again squeezed into Q3 as Stroll freed up a berth and, despite his slow original start, was able to comfortably see of Nico Hulkenberg for the final point.

Tsunoda spoke after qualifying at his growing confidence and ever-increasing maturity behind the wheel, which was enabling him to unlock more performance with his engineers.

For a driver now into his fourth season, it is about time, and whilst it may not be enough for a Red Bull seat, he would not be short of potential suitors.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - McLaren

Six months ago, McLaren finished two-three at Suzuka at a track where its strengths were probably at their strongest.

Lando Norris was 19.387s behind Verstappen in second, but today, he was fifth some 29.700s behind.

That is not the sort of progress McLaren was hoping for season-on-season and it was an up-and-down weekend for the team, and Norris in particular.

After Friday, he was generally upbeat with how the MCL38 looked in the limited running, and stuck it third on the grid - or pole in the non-Red Bull class - for the race.

But post-race, he reflected the team found itself in a spiral and deserved to be beaten by Ferrari.

That's not progress and a backward step for the team, although it does find itself in third place in the Constructors' as Mercedes faltered yet again and Aston Martin finds itself in a position where only one driver is bringing home big, regular points.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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