Daniel Ricciardo to start from third at Japan Grand Prix

Suzuka: Red Bull Formula One pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will start from third and fourth on the grid at Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton seized pole position with a dominant display in qualifying.

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Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. Photo: AP

The Briton lapped the Suzuka circuit on Saturday in one minute, 27.319 seconds in his Mercedes, the outright fastest at the 5.8-kilometre track, to finish well clear of his rivals for his first pole in Japan. It is Hamilton's 10th pole of the season, extending his record career tally to 71.

Teammate Valtteri Bottas set the second-fastest time but will drop five places to seventh after collecting a penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

That will elevate Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel, third quickest but almost half a second off the pace, to the front row of the grid alongside Hamilton.

Ricciardo and Verstappen also benefit, each moving up one spot to start from the second row.


Vettel trails Hamilton by 34 points in the overall standings with just five of the season's 20races left. McLaren's Fernando Alonso will start from the back of the grid. The Spaniard picked up a 35-place penalty when the team's mechanics fitted his car with a fresh power unit on Friday night.

The team broke curfew – during which members associated with the operation of the car must leave the track – after the engine the double world champion used on the opening day of practice suffered a hydraulic issue.

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Rules restrict drivers to no more than four power units and its constituent components for the duration of a season, and Alonso has long exceeded his allocation as McLaren continue to struggle with a lack of reliability from their Honda engines.


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