Formula 1 2024 Japan

Verstappen back on top in Red Bull 1-2

April 9, 2024

motorsport journalist

Neal Venter

Motorsport Journalist

Max Verstappen got back to his winning ways in Japan. The reigning World Champion won from pole position, with his teammate Sergio Perez holding on for second place and yet another Red Bull 1-2 finish. Carlos Sainz drove another brilliant race and brought his Ferrari home in third place for his third podium in four races.

Is Ricciardo on the Chopping Block?

One of the biggest stories of the season so far is Daniel Ricciardo. The Honey Badger has been struggling all season long, and his time at RB could be cut short very soon. Ricciardo has consistently been underperforming this season, finishing behind his teammate Yuki Tsuonda in multiple qualifying sessions and Grands Prix.

In the Japanese Grand Prix, the Australian again failed to beat Tsunoda as his teammate knocked him out of Q2 by just 0.055 seconds. Ricciardo was determined to fight back in the race, but he collided with Alex Albon going into turn three, ending both of their races.

To make things worse, his potential replacement - Liam Lawson - was in the RB garage all weekend. The Kiwi was shown on the official broadcast multiple times during Ricciardo’s nightmare weekend. Will we see Lawson take over the reins of the car later this season?

Was Axing Carlos a Mistake?

Carlos Sainz entered the 2024 season without a race seat for next year. It’s a gutting feeling for a driver when they go into the year knowing they’re being replaced at the end of the season. But Sainz has not given up - he’s fighting to prove his worth and get a seat at another team.

So far, Sainz has been the best Ferrari driver of the season. The Spaniard has consistently outperformed his teammate Charles Leclerc. Sainz has scored three podiums (one win) so far this season. The only race where he didn’t stand on the podium was the race he had to sit out because of appendicitis. Who knows if he couldn’t been on the podium in Saudi Arabia?

So, did Ferrari make a mistake in dropping Carlos Sainz for 2025? He’s in fine form at the moment and could continue to perform well over the rest of the season. Lewis Hamilton is a blockbuster signing, but the 7-time World Champion will need time to settle into his new team and understand the car before he gets up to speed.

Williams in Trouble

Another team that’s having serious issues is Williams. Not only have their performances been below average this season, but they also have a problem with their drivers putting their cars in the wall! 

Alex Albon crashed during Free Practice at the Australian Grand Prix, completely wrecking his chassis. The team gave him Logan Sargeant’s chassis, which meant that the American had to sit out of the Grand Prix entirely. 

The team decided not to bring a new chassis for Albon to the Japanese Grand Prix - instead, they would fix the one that Albon broke. However, the team gave Albon’s repaired chassis to Sargeant for the Japanese Grand Prix, leaivng Albon with the “good”chassis. 

During Free Practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, Logan Saregeant crashed. Luckily the team was able to salvage the car and there was no further damage to the already broken chassis. In the race, Albon collided with Ricciardo in a huge impact, so there could be some damage to the “good” chassis now.

Surely Williams will being a new chassis to the next race?

Finally Headed to China!

Formula 1 is finally heading to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix. It’s been five years since F1 last raced in China, and the event has been on and off the calendar since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here’s what F1 looked like the last time we raced in China:

  • Verstappen had 5 race wins.
  • Gasly drove for Red Bull.
  • Vettel and Raikkonen were at Ferrari.
  • Rich Energy sponsored Haas.

The Shanghai International Circuit is spectacular. It’s high-speed and excellent for racing. If you haven’t seen the Chinese Grand Prix live yet, make sure to tune in!

motorsports illustrated

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