SUZUKA, Japan — Max Verstappen survived a dramatic first lap then coasted to victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday to move a step closer to securing his third consecutive Formula One championship.
The Red Bull driver, who missed out on the podium a week ago in Singapore, started from pole and held on for his 13th win of the season.
With Verstappen’s victory, Red Bull secured the constructors’ title, their sixth overall and second in a row. They did it with six races remaining.
“What an unbelievable season we are having,” Verstappen said. “You can all be very proud here at the track and back at the factory. You guys built a rocket ship of a car, well done.”
McLaren driver Lando Norris was second, 19.4 seconds back of Verstappen, while his teammate Australian rookie Oscar Piastri was third for his first F1 podium.
Verstappen, who also secured a point for the fastest lap, increased his lead over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to 177 points. He could wrap up his third consecutive title at the Oct. 6-8 Qatar Grand Prix. / AP