Max Verstappen survived a mistake on his final run in qualifying to take pole for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.
The Dutchman went quickest in the first phase of qualifying, before finishing third in Q2 behind Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso, setting up an exciting top 10 shootout.
Verstappen went quickest after the opening run in Q3, ahead of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
Both Ferraris improved on their second run, but neither of them were able to displace the Red Bull, with six hundredths of a second covering the top three.
That meant that Verstappen’s mistake on his final effort mattered little, as he held on to his fifth pole lap of the season.
The reigning champion broke a part of the rear of his car, when he ran wide at Turn Two, and that compromised the rest of his run.
“I lost a part of the duct in my final lap, so probably that’s why I couldn’t really improve,” explained Verstappen after the session.
“But nevertheless, the first lap was good enough.”
Verstappen’s pole position is not quite finalised yet, because of an incident with Lando Norris during the opening minutes of the final session.
The Red Bull racer was moving slowly ahead of his first run, and Norris wanted to get in front heading into the final chicane.
The McLaren driver needed to take to the grass though when Verstappen lost the back end while trying to generate heat in his tyres.
The stewards will be having a look at whether Verstappen was driving unnecessarily slowly – something they have particularly frowned upon this year.
The stewards will make their decision at 17:00 local time, and 9:00 BST.
A win with the fastest lap of the race will guarantee Verstappen his second world championship success on Sunday.