Liam Lawson will start tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix from the sixth row after qualifying 11th this evening, falling agonisingly short of progressing to Q3 in a strong showing at Suzuka.
Max Verstappen will start the race from pole, putting together an incredible lap to out-qualify the field by over half a second. McLaren’s upgrades continue to impress as Oscar Piastri secured second and Lando Norris third.
For Lawson, the result comes from another impressive showing, teasing another potential points finish may be on the cards should he put a strong race together.
Logan Sargeant’s qualifying run was over without setting a time, with the Williams driver losing control as he went to begin a flying lap and spinning hard into the wall, bringing out a red flag.
Lawson’s opening lap, prior to the red flag, was a decent 1:31.729, putting him right amongst the mid-field. On resumption, he would go nearly a second better, setting a 1:30.972 to move towards the top.
He would drop down the order as the final laps came in, only to respond with a 1:30.425 to qualify for Q2 from fourth in the session, but having used three sets of soft tyres.
Joining Sargeant in failing to progress was Guanyu Zhou, Nico Hulkenberg, Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas.
Just 0.043 seconds was the difference between Lawson progressing to Q3 for the second consecutive week, with a late lap from George Russell relegating him to 11th, just behind Fernando Alonso.
The Kiwi had sat in the knockout zone prior to his final run, provisionally improving into safety before being knocked out once the final times came in.
Also knocked out were Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Ocon, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly. Lawson’s AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda progressed from seventh.
Verstappen’s 1:28.877 on his final run in Q3 was by far the best of the day, seeing him qualify on pole by over half a second on McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who starts on the front row.
Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc lock out the second row, ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who was 0.773 seconds off the pace of his teammate, and Singapore Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz.
Mercedes fills the fourth row, with Lewis Hamilton out-qualifying Geroge Russell, while Tsunoda and Alonso round out the top ten, respectively.
Tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix begins at 5.45 pm.
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