Japanese Grand Prix predictions: Verstappen to get back on track
Japanese Grand Prix predictions: Verstappen to get back on track

Japanese Grand Prix predictions: Verstappen to get back on track

Date: 24/09/2023

Venue: Suzuka

We suggested Max Verstappen may be vulnerable in Singapore but expect him to return to winning ways in our Japanese Grand Prix predictions.

Red Bull have ruled the Formula One roost all year – with 14 victories from 14 prior to the last round, while Verstappen had been unbeaten in 10 straight appearances, setting a new record of consecutive wins along the way.

But the Dutch driver and Red Bull finally met their match at the unique, low-speed, high-downforce Marina Bay Circuit, where he has never won.

Verstappen qualified 11th before driving back to fifth, taking the chequered flag 21 seconds behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – the Spaniard becoming the first non-Red Bull winner of the year.

However, Verstappen, victorious at 12 of the 15 rounds so far, expects the fast-flowing Suzuka track will see him return to winning ways and he is 3/10 in the Japanese Grand Prix odds.

“Yes, that is the target,” he said after the Singapore setback. “This track is so different to Suzuka and it doesn’t relate.

“We have learned a bit from today and have a few ideas with what we got wrong. I cannot go into details, but I feel good about Suzuka.”

Verstappen still finished three places ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez to extend his championship lead from 145 points to 151.

Red Bull dominated at Suzuka 12 months ago and are 5/4 to enjoy another one-two this year, with Perez 11/1 to prevail.

After capturing his second pole in as many races, Sainz led from the start to double his career win tally and is 18/1 to prevail again here, plus 5/2 for another podium finish.

Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc was third at Suzuka last season and can also be backed at 5/2 to achieve the same feat on Sunday.

McLaren’s Lando Norris produced a fine drive to finish second last weekend, taking the chequered flag just eight tenths of a second behind Sainz.

The British star is 14/1 to go one better in the Japanese Grand Prix odds and 6/4 to make the podium again.

A “heartbroken” George Russell struggled to hold back the tears after he believed victory slipped through his hands in Singapore.

Russell’s bid for success ended in the wall on the last lap with only nine corners left and he said: “In the moment, you want to curl up in a ball and be with nobody.

“It is the most horrendous feeling in the world when you are so physically and mentally drained and you miss out on an opportunity for victory. I made a mistake. It is truly heartbreaking.

“I don’t know how it happened, maybe a lack of concentration, frustration knowing that was the last lap and the opportunity had gone and a one centimetre mistake has clouded the whole weekend.”

Russell is 5/2 to make amends with a top-three finish at Suzuka, while Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, five times a winner here, is quoted at 7/4 for the same bet.

Past Japanese GP winners

2022 Verstappen (Red Bull), Perez (Red Bull), Leclerc (Ferrari)
2019 Bottas (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2018 Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull)
2017 Hamilton (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull), Ricciardo (Red Bull)
2016 Rosberg (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull), Hamilton (Mercedes)

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