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Verstappen outperforms Piastri and Norris to claim pole position at Japanese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has claimed his ninth pole position of the season at the Japanese GP, after a dominant display over his rivals. With no chance of McLaren to beat him, Oscar Piastri beat Lando Norris to get on the front row next to the world champion, a success for the Australian rookie in F1. Leclerc was fourth and Checo fifth, a long way behind his teammate.

Carlos Sainz will start in sixth place, beaten this weekend by Leclerc in all three sectors. Ferrari's chances of getting on the podium are really limited, as the degradation in a race in which two stops are foreseen may hinder the Maranello team too much.

Alonso finishes tenth

Exploiting all the possibilities of an Aston Martin in free fall, Fernando Alonso gets into Q3 for the 16th time in 16 qualifications, the only driver to have done so. He struggled with his car in sectors 2 and 3, where he could not match the pace of the two Mercedes. In the race it could be slightly different due to the good degradation of the Aston Martin, but points seem to be his main objective, as well as being as close as possible to Hamilton, only 10 points ahead in the drivers' championship.

His form is the best of the year, with two impressive first sectors in Q1 and Q2, but his car is limiting him in recent times, making the days when podiums came almost every day seem very distant.

"Small miracles like the lap in Singapore and today's lap in Q2 keep us in the top 10. I didn't suffer, I enjoyed it," said a smiling Alonso on DAZN F1 after qualifying.

Japan GP qualifying standings

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