YouAnd what is the lesson of the Japanese Grand Prix? That Max VerstappenIf he stays in the race, he does not seem to be defeated. Two weeks after the breakdown in Melbourne Nothing stopped the Red Bull world champion on his way to his third victory in the fourth race of the season. He won ahead of his teammate Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).

His third victory on the “fast” Suzuka track, highly appreciated by the drivers, gives him 25 points after the clean round in Australia and a bonus for the fastest lap on the tour of Japan. In the drivers' classification he occupies first place with 77 points, ahead of Pérez (64) and Charles Leclerc (ferrari/59). “The car got better and better during the race,” Verstappen said with a smile, “and it can continue like that.”

The accident stops the field early

Pérez had two opportunities on Sunday to overtake the world champion in the first meters. Because twenty seconds after the first exit there were Alex Albon With the Williams on the outside, Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Racing Bull) did not have enough space in a left-hand corner. A moment later, both cars were hanging by their tires. The drivers emerged from their mangled cars unscathed, but saw no reason to call it a blessing in disguise.

After the cleaning job, they were quite upset and almost half an hour later they watched the second descent from a standing position, as spectators. And he watched as Verstappen successfully defended his pole for the second time ahead of his teammate. Poor Perez. So close to Red Bull's chief driver in Saturday's qualifying, 66 thousandths of a second. The Mexican saw Saturday's marginal delay as the last call: “all-out attack.”

It's about his future, so early in the season. The contract expires at the end of the year. Regardless of Verstappen's path, Red Bull will look for a better solution if Perez lacks consistency at a high level like last year. In the fight for the constructors' championship, the second man should come second as many times as the first.

It is not an easy match for Verstappen's teammates. But in Japan It was enough for the third double success. Pérez is on the right track. “My starts were not enough to catch up with Max,” he regretfully told Sky television, “I had to push from time to time during the race, sometimes I lacked balance, but I am satisfied. “I have good momentum.”

A small driving error by Pérez

On the second start, the order of the lineup remained the same: Verstappen in front of his co-driver, Lando Norris in the McLaren and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), followed by Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin and Oscar Piastri (McLaren). An illustrious group of dedicated and highly talented people, five of whom had one thing in common on Sunday: not being able to keep up with the man above.

After 14 of 53 laps, Verstappen led by a good five seconds over his first pursuer in the same car. A small driving error by Pérez in the second Denger corner contributed to this, but above all the Dutchman's ability to complete the laps faster under the same conditions. Technology or not, in the world champion's racing team, the champion once again demonstrated, step by step, that this person on the machine makes the difference.