F1 Mexican Grand Prix qualifying results: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen stuns the field, taking top spot
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas crashes on final turn; Lewis Hamilton starts fourth
Red Bull F1 driver Max Verstappen took pole for the Mexican Grand Prix Saturday, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only manage fourth.
It can now safely be said that Honda has a power unit to rival those of Mercedes and Ferrari. On a track where pure power output contributes to a significant proportion of lap time, Verstappen successfully stole the show from Ferrari. It is a circuit where he has topped the podium on the past two visits.
Those past successes came with Renault units in the back of the Red Bull, and although clearly benefiting from the improvements made by Honda this year, Verstappen knows it will be difficult to repeat the performances of 2017 and 2018.
“It’s been quite an interesting day, but of course to come out on top was incredible,” said Verstappen. “The last few races we knew that Ferrari would be really quick on the straights, but for us to come back like this and take pole position here is … a big thank you to the team for that.
“They always kept pushing very hard. We kept bringing new parts to the car and it showed today that we are very quick.”
Asked whether he had believed throughout practice that the car was good enough to overthrow Ferrari for pole, Verstappen commented, “Secretly you always hope, and you always keep pushing. You try to find the right balance in the car and in Q3 that all came together.”
Starting alongside Verstappen on the front row is the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Setting a strong time on his first attempt, Leclerc was visibly overdriving his car throughout his final run and was saved from dropping down the order by a heavy crash for Valtteri Bottas at the final corner. The yellow flags were waved, and drivers were all but prevented from improving their times, protecting the second grid slot.
“The first lap was quite good,” said Leclerc. “The second one we tried to put a bit more balance in the car to have a bit more from which helped the first sector, but then the last sector was too tricky and I lost the rear, so I lost all the time I made up in the first sector, but Red Bull were very quick.
“Max especially was very quick and the race is still long tomorrow.”
One position behind his Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel starts from third and will be looking to make the most of a double slipstream from Verstappen and Leclerc, down the long straight and into turn one.
“I had a mistake on my first run, so obviously I was quite confident that in the second run I could make up for it, but unfortunately there was a double-yellow, so I had to slow down,” said Vettel.
“Would I like to be a bit further up? I think it was possible but let’s see tomorrow. It’s a long race and I think we have the speed, so the weekend has been quite good.”
Bottas was scored sixth despite his heavy contact with the wall in the final turn. His Mercedes teammate Hamilton will take a sixth title if he can outscore Bottas by 14 points on Sunday.
|1||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||01:15.9||01:16.1||01:14.8|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||01:16.4||01:16.2||01:15.0|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||01:16.7||01:15.9||01:15.2|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||01:16.4||01:15.7||01:15.3|
|5||Alexander Albon||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||01:16.2||01:16.6||01:15.3|
|6||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||01:17.1||01:15.9||01:15.3|
|7||Carlos Sainz||McLaren F1 Team||01:17.0||01:16.3||01:16.0|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||01:17.1||01:16.4||01:16.3|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||01:17.0||01:16.7||01:16.5|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||01:17.1||01:16.7||01:16.6|
|11||Sergio Perez||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||01:17.5||01:16.7|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault F1 Team||01:17.6||01:16.9|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team||01:17.3||01:16.9|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing||01:17.2||01:17.0|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||01:17.8||01:17.3|
|16||Lance Stroll||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||01:18.1|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||01:18.4|
|18||Romain Grosjean||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||01:18.6|
|19||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing||01:18.8|
|20||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing||01:20.2|