Max Verstappen marginally beat out the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc for the pole position of the Japanese GP.
The championship leader completed his lap of the Suzuka Circuit in 1:29.304 seconds, beating Leclerc by just 0.010 seconds in the closest finish of the season. Sainz finished third 0.057 seconds off the pace in the second Ferrari.
Verstappen was made to wait for the confirmation of his pole as he was summoned by the stewards for dangerous driving after appearing to impede the path of McLaren’s Lando Norris but was let off with a reprimand after he successfully argued that his cold tyres caused an oversteer.
Verstappen leads Leclerc by 104 points in the overall standings and can wrap up the title with a win at the Japanese GP with the fastest lap tomorrow and starting from the pole increases his chances even further.
Verstappen’s rear gunner, Sergio Perez, was fourth ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
Lewis Hamilton finished sixth with Mercedes’ unbeaten run at Suzuka stretching back to 2014 seemingly coming to an end. Fernando Alonso finished seventh ahead of the other Mercedes of Geroge Russell who had a good practice session himself.
Sebastian Vettel, driving around his favourite track for the last time managed to take ninth with Norris rounding out the top ten.