The Red Bull driver crushed his rivals with a devastating performance in qualifying as he claimed a dominant pole position at Suzuka. 

Having already set a lap time good enough for pole, Verstappen went even quicker on his final run of Q3, posting a 1m28.877s which put him a massive 0.581s clear of Oscar Piastri’s McLaren. 

“There you go, 28,” the reigning world champion told Lambiase over team radio during his cool down lap back to the pits. 

Asked about the radio exchange in the post-qualifying press conference, Verstappen confirmed he had been egged on by his race engineer. 

“Yeah, he told me like 1:28 would be nice,” Verstappen said.

“I said ‘Don’t worry, I’m gonna send it’ and then he was like, ‘Yeah, but like don’t shunt the car, right?’

“I was like, ‘Yeah, obviously, that’s not what I want to do’.”

Verstappen added: “I knew that there was still a little bit left in a few places. 

“That’s what I tried to tidy up, which worked out quite well.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Lambiase was “winding” Verstappen up ahead of his final qualifying lap. 

“GP [Lambiase] started winding him up for the last run, to say ‘Let’s see a 28 today’,” Horner told Sky.  

“I said to GP ‘Look, I’d like to see four wheels on the car at the end of it!’

“That first run looked good enough to get the job done, but then he just went quicker again.

“All his laps have been stunning today. He’s done three laps on new tyres, and the lap on scrubbed tyres in Q2 to go second fastest… it has been an absolutely mind-blowing performance.”