Verstappen beats Piastri to Japanese GP pole

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SUZUKA, Japan, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen put Red Bull on pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri joining the Dutch driver on the front row.

McLaren’s Lando Norris qualified third with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fourth.

Mexican Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s closest title rival and team mate but a massive 151 points adrift after 15 of 22 rounds, qualified fifth.

Red Bull, whose run of 15 wins in a row ended in Singapore last weekend, are set to retain their constructors’ title on Sunday but Verstappen will have to wait until at last the next race in Qatar to seal his third championship.

Track marshalls remove the car of US Formula One driver Logan Sargeant of Williams Racing team from the track after a crash during the Qualifying of the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix in Suzuka, Japan, 23 September 2023. The 2023 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix is held at Suzuka Circuit racetrack on 24 September. EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON

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