Ricciardo denied Verstappen pole in Mexico

Daniel Ricciardo denied Max Verstappen his first P1 in Formula 1 by snatching pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix as title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel completed the second row.

Ricciardo beat his Red Bull team-mate Verstappen on the final runs in qualifying to take his second pole of the 2018 season.

Hamilton was quickest on hypersofts in the opening phase of qualifying but Verstappen had the edge on ultrasofts in Q2 and took that momentum into Q3 to hold provisional pole after the first runs.

His one minute, 14.785 seconds was almost two tenths of a second clear of Vettel, while Hamilton lost time in the middle sector but snuck ahead of the second Red Bull of Ricciardo to hold third spot.

Vettel, Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas all failed to improve on their second runs, but Ricciardo vaulted to top spot on a one minute, 14.759 seconds.

That only put him 0.026 seconds clear of Verstappen but was enough for pole given that Mad Max failed to improve despite setting a fastest first sector and Hamilton only managed a one minute, 14.894 seconds.

Bottas will line up fifth with Austin race winner Raikkonen sixth on an all-Finish third row.

Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari were all able to progress to Q3 without using the softest compound.

That means they will all start the race on the more preferable ultrasoft tyre and can avoid the problematic hypersofts.

Renault continued to hold an advantage in the best-of-the-rest fight through qualifying but it was Charles Leclerc who hauled his Sauber to seventh on the first runs.

Leclerc outpaced Nico Hulkenberg by less than a tenth before the Renaults hit back on their second laps, with Hulkenberg leading Carlos Sainz Jr as Leclerc was shuffled to ninth.

His Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson completed the top ten and was fortunate to make it through to the shootout having failed to improve on his second run in Q2.

With the hypersoft tyres degrading so rapidly in Friday practice Esteban Ocon has arguably the most favourable position of the midfield teams as the first of those who did not make Q3.

Ocon was P11 after Racing Point Force India opted to use supersofts and then ultrasofts in the second part of qualifying.

It means he and Sergio Perez, who qualified P13, will have freedom of choice over the tyres they start the race on.

Fernando Alonso split the Force Indias in his McLaren, while the under-pressure Brendon Hartley was limited to P14 after a mistake on his final lap – Toro Rosso suggested he was on course for a lap time that would have been good enough to progress.

Hartley’s team-mate Pierre Gasly did not complete a timed lap in Q2 because Honda’s engine strategy and a gearbox change meant he went into the session consigned to a back-of-the-grid start, so Toro Rosso opted to save tyres and mileage.

Romain Grosjean was first of the drivers to be eliminated in the opening part of the session, missing out on progressing by just half a tenth.

He and Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen used three sets of hypersofts in their bid to make Q2 but still fell short.

Magnussen was 18th-fastest after failing to improve on his final run, with the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne in between the Haas pair.

Williams duo Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin were slowest but will not fill out the last row of the grid as Gasly will drop back because of his penalty.

So congratulations to Daniel Ricciardo in achieving that second pole position this season. Leading a Red Bull 1-2 with Max Verstappen. It was unfortunate that Max missed out on his first pole after setting the pace in all practice sessions. Maybe Verstappen can have the last laugh by winning the Mexican Grand Prix.

Qualifying positions, Mexican Grand Prix:
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m14.759s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m14.785s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m14.894s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m14.970s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m15.160s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m15.330s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m15.827s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m16.084s
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.189s
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.513s
11 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m16.844s
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m16.871s
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m17.167s
14 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m17.184s
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m16.966s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m17.599s
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m17.689s
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m16.911s
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m17.886s
20 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda –

6 thoughts to “Ricciardo denied Verstappen pole in Mexico”

  1. Mexican Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Ahead of the final segment of qualifying in Mexico, all the talk was of whether Max Verstappen would become Formula 1’s youngest ever pole-sitter, after the Dutchman had set a scorching pace all weekend around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. But in the event, it was his team mate Daniel Ricciardo who claimed P1, securing Red Bull’s first ever front-row lock-out in the post-2014 hybrid era with a scintillating final effort that seemed to come from nowhere.

    History wasn’t made, but it was hard for anyone watching to be disappointed, after a thrilling pole position shoot-out which saw six drivers genuinely gunning for pole position. “Thanks legends,” was Ricciardo’s succinct message to his team after securing the third pole of his career, and the first at a track that wasn’t Monaco.

    In the end, Verstappen lost out on the youngest pole-sitter mantle by just 0.026s, heading off the title contenders of Lewis Hamilton in third and Sebastian Vettel in fourth as Red Bull capitalised on the searing pace that they’ve demonstrated in Mexico so far to make the front-row theirs and theirs alone for the first time since the 2013 United States Grand Prix.

    The second Mercedes and Ferrari of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen were fifth and sixth, while Renault also backed up the impressive speed they showed in Friday practice, Nico Hulkenberg taking ‘best of the rest’ in P7 ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz, while the Saubers of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson will be paired up on the fifth row of the grid after claiming ninth and tenth.

    The drivers headed out on onto an Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track that, for the sensitive hypersoft rubber that all the runners set their best laps on in the first segment, was blissfully dry and cool.

    With the track evolving dramatically throughout Q1, Mercedes finally found themselves at the top of the timesheets, knocking Red Bull off for the first time this weekend, Bottas heading Hamilton by just 0.093s, while Verstappen was P3, 0.176s adrift, Ricciardo P4 and Sebastian Vettel fifth. To the delight of the Mexican crowd, Sergio Perez was best of the rest in sixth, ahead of his own Force India team mate Esteban Ocon in P7 and the second Ferrari of Raikkonen in P8.

    Despite going an impressive P10, Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley was not a happy racing driver, taking to team radio to accuse team mate Pierre Gasly of backing him up, as intra-team tensions looked to be escalating. Meanwhile, after going an impressive sixth in Free Practice 3, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc found himself right on the cusp of the drop-out zone in P15. The reason? A lairy moment through Turn 11 and a magnificent save from the Monegasque. Ay caramba indeed…

    At the bottom of the pile, Haas lost both cars for the second year in succession in Mexico, Romain Grosjean P16 while Kevin Magnussen was P18. In between them was the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne, outqualified by Fernando Alonso for the 23rd consecutive race, while the two Williams of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin were P19 and P20 – although Stroll will benefit once he’s pushed up by Grosjean’s three-place penalty carried over from Austin, while both will move forward following Gasly’s 15-place drop for changing power unit elements and his gearbox.

    With ‘bubblegum’ the most commonly used adjective to describe the pink hypersoft tyres so far this weekend, all three top teams of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari elected to try and get through Q2 on the slower but more durable purple ultrasofts.

    They all managed it too, which rather negated any of the six drivers’ advantage, but means that they’ll all be able to lock-in a more optimised strategy when they start the race on those tyres on Sunday afternoon. Max Verstappen led the way with a 1m 15.640s, just 0.004s ahead of Hamilton, Vettel a further 0.071s further back.

    With those sort of tactics not an option for the midfield teams, it seemed that there was a split between drivers trying to go for Q3 glory and those aiming for P11, knocking them out of Q2 but allowing them the best possible position whilst having a free tyre choice for tomorrow.

    The man who managed that was Esteban Ocon, ahead of the McLaren of Fernando Alonso in P12, the second Force India of Sergio Perez – in his worst ever home-race qualifying – in P13. The two Toro Rossos of Hartley and the yet-to-be-penalised Gasly were the final two runners in P14 and P15, Gasly not bothering to run, while Hartley made a mistake heading into the Foro Sol stadium section on his final lap, meaning he wasn’t able to capitalise on his impressive Q1 pace.

    The Renaults were the two fastest ‘best of the rest’ runners, Hulkenberg ahead of Sainz, the Spaniard making it into Q3 for the first time in five races, while the two Saubers of Leclerc and Ericsson rounded out the top 10.

    He’d been out-paced by his team mate all weekend in Mexico. But when it came to crunch time in Q3, it was Ricciardo who got the job done, outqualifying Verstappen for the second time in two races on a day when the Dutchman – who was fastest after the first Q3 runs, with Ricciardo only fourth behind Vettel and Hamilton – had looked likely to poach the ‘youngest-ever pole-sitter’ title that Vettel claimed for Toro Rosso a decade ago.

    It was a sweet result for the Australian, who’s endured a miserable second-half of the season that’s been blighted by mechanical failures – his most recent coming at the United States Grand Prix just a week ago. Yet while the blue cars with the yellow noses will have the front row covered at the start of Sunday’s race, all eyes will likely be on the row just behind, as title contenders Hamilton and Vettel line up alongside one another, the former having jumped his rival on the second runs in Q3. Each will have their Finnish stable mate ready to back them up (or not, as the case may be…) directly behind them on the grid. And with Mexico having witnessed its fair share of first-lap action in recent years, it could make for quite the opening-lap fiesta.

    Renault know that Mexico represents their best chance in the last three races to take a strong finish as they seek to fend off Haas for fourth place in the constructors’ championship. And the Anglo-French team’s qualifying couldn’t have gone much better, as their drivers locked out the fourth row of the grid, on a day when neither Haas could pull themselves out of Q1.

    A decent qualifying too for Sauber, who continued to use their ever-improving C37 to good effect, taking ninth and 10th.

    So no massive records broken today – apart from the lap record, that is, which fell by a whopping 1.729s. But a real treat for the fans, a boost for Ricciardo’s morale and a scintillating race scenario well and truly established for tomorrow.

  2. This was a shocking pole position from Daniel Ricciardo considering that Max Verstappen has been setting the pace in all the practice sessions. Ricciardo pole lap “came out of nowhere” according to Red Bull’s Christian Horner. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo’s pole position lap for the Mexican Grand Prix “came out of nowhere”.

    Max Verstappen had set the pace for most of the weekend, but lost out to his teammate in Q3 as Red Bull claimed its first qualifying 1-2 of the hybrid era that started in 2014.

    “It was mighty, it’s our first front row lockout since Austin 2013,” Horner told Motorsport.com.

    “A great performance by both drivers, but wow, what a lap by Daniel to come from nowhere, really.

    “To unleash that on his last run was absolutely outstanding.

    “It’s come right for Daniel big time today, and you could hear his enthusiasm and enjoyment on the radio on the slow down lap, and it was great to hear.”

    Ricciardo said his jubilant reaction after crossing the line didn’t do justice to how he was feeling to get his first F1 pole position anywhere other than Monaco.

    “I’m holding a lot in,” he said. “I let a bit out once I heard I got pole, but I’ve got to save some energy for tomorrow.

    “It’s been a while since getting a pole, but it’s been a while since we’ve had a good weekend in general. Super happy.

    “We’ve been quick all weekend from the start, and from the team’s point of view to get a one-two in qualifying is awesome.

    “We’ve got to finish the job tomorrow, but to confirm our pace in qualifying is really good.

    “Max led the way through the practices, I knew there was a bit more in it and I just squeezed it out at the very end.”

    Ricciardo said the pole position didn’t come as a shock, although he feared he had blown his chance with an average first sector on his final run.

    “I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, I knew the pace was there, it was just a matter of putting it together,” he added.

    “The first sector wasn’t that good so I was surprised I got the pole after that, but I saw the second and third sectors were strong and that’s where I made the difference.

    “I wasn’t convinced after the first sector, but I knew the previous lap wasn’t particularly clean and I was able to get a bit more out of it.

    “I knew the fast stuff, from Turn 7 to 11, I felt I nailed that, so that gave me a good impression.

    “I knew I was putting myself in with a shot, but I really wasn’t sure if it was good enough.”

  3. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen blames braking problem for losing out on pole position. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Max Verstappen says an ongoing problem with his Red Bull Formula 1 car under braking cost him any chance of pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix.

    Verstappen held provisional pole after the first runs in Q3 but failed to improve on his second lap and was pipped to pole by teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

    After dominating practice, Verstappen revealed he has been battling a peculiar rear-locking problem since Friday afternoon and said “the whole qualifying was crap” as a result.

    “It was just not good,” he said. “I was struggling the whole qualifying with the same problems I had in FP2, where I had a lot of rear locking on the downshifting and when I come off-throttle.

    “The behaviour was not correct, we couldn’t do anything in qualifying so I had to go forward on the brake balance to try to stabilise the whole car.

    “It’s not how you want to do qualifying, normally you go more aggressive with all the tools.”

    Verstappen held onto a front-row start despite an improvement from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

    When asked by Motorsport.com if he felt his pole position was vulnerable after the first runs because of his problems, Verstappen said: “Let’s say it like this: I was surprised I was [provisionally] first in Q3, because I didn’t feel good at all.

    “It’s just really difficult to anticipate those things. I was driving around the issues and in qualifying that’s not what you want.”

    Missing out on pole position stopped Verstappen from becoming F1’s youngest-ever polesitter, which means he needs to top qualifying in either Brazil or Abu Dhabi to break Sebastian Vettel’s record.

    He cut a glum figure after the session but Red Bull team boss Christian Horner backed Verstappen to bounce back in Sunday’s race.

    “He’ll reflect on it tonight,” Horner told Motorsport.com. “In reality it was the last sensible opportunity for him to claim that youngest ever pole position winner, it’s the last thing missing from his record.

    “We’ll discuss the race before the race in the relevant briefings. But I’m sure he’ll race well tomorrow, and it’s important that we convert these grid positions into good points.”

  4. The Red Bulls are “in a league of their own” in Mexico according to Lewis Hamilton, who could only manage P3. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Formula 1 world championship leader Lewis Hamilton believes the Red Bull cars are “in a league of their own” at the Mexican Grand Prix.

    Though Red Bull filled the Mexico City front row with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, the substantial advantage it held in Friday practice was reduced on Saturday – with third-placed Hamilton within 0.135 seconds of the top spot and Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari a further 0.076s back.

    But Hamilton insisted the Austrian team’s cars had still been out of reach in the pole shoot-out.

    “Congratulations to Daniel. These guys were just too quick, in a league of their own in general up to qualifying and even in qualifying, his middle sector, there was no way I could get that,” he said.

    “To be as close as I am, I’m really quite happy with that. To be third is not a bad start.”

    Asked whether he thought he would have the pace to beat the Red Bulls on Sunday, he replied: “I don’t think so.”

    Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas had ended Friday only seventh and ninth, and over a second off the pace.

    “This is a great day for us, considering how bad yesterday was for us,” said Hamilton after qualifying.

    “It’s a night and day difference. Yesterday we were really struggling. FP1 was OK. But then once we got to FP2, it was not fun to drive that’s for sure.

    “There were several different problems on the whole car. On the technical side, on the aero side, mostly on the mechanical side but a little bit aero and on the engine side.

    “Big changes were made overnight and to come back here today and put ourselves in contention – we didn’t think yesterday with that performance we’d be able to qualify on an ultra[soft].

    “That would have been a massive disadvantage for us if we hadn’t been able to start on the purple tomorrow and had started on the hyper for example.

    “As soon as we got into qualifying, we knew straight away with the way the car was feeling, I was like ‘OK we’re in a much stronger position to fight for positions’.

    “I’m just glad that I was able to do the job on my second run. It was pretty good.”

    Hamilton leads title rival Vettel by 70 points, and will be crowned 2018 world champion in Mexico unless the Ferrari driver wins and he finishes lower than seventh.

    Last year Verstappen, Hamilton and Vettel made contact through Mexico City’s tight first corner complex, but despite the championship position and qualifying outcome Hamilton said he would try to race normally at this season’s start.

    “Does it mean I have to play safe at the beginning of the race? Not really,” he said.

    “The thing is, everyone’s going to be barrelling into Turn 1 to gain places.

    “So it’s a very, very fine line. If you go easy, you can get hit. If you go too aggressive, you can get hit. You’ve got to race it like normal.”

  5. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel believes Red Bull may end up “beating themselves” in Mexico. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel says Red Bull’s ongoing reliability issues gives him reason to believe he can still be a factor in the fight for victory in the Mexican Grand Prix.

    Red Bull has been the class of the field in Mexico this weekend, topping every session and locking out the front row of the grid as Daniel Ricciardo edged out Max Verstappen.

    But with the Milton Keynes-based team having endured a run of race ending failures this season – and Verstappen being stopped by an hydraulics issue on Friday – Vettel thinks that the result is far from certain.

    “We have probably the best reliability so far,” said Vettel. “With the Red Bulls, they are very fast and hard to beat, but maybe they beat themselves. We see.

    “It is a long race. It will be decided over strategy and tyres, and how confident you are at end of stint and how much you can push.”

    Ferrari has been quickest of all in a straightline in Mexico but has lost out to the opposition in corners, something that Vettel believes comes from his car’s lack of ultimate downforce.

    “I think it is aero,” he said. “We are quite fast in the straight but mostly because we have less downforce than the others, so we are fast on the straights and slow in the corners.

    “This is probably not the track where efficiency counts for much, so you need all the downforce you can get. It was expected that Red Bull would be quick. Also with the huge turbo that the Renault has, they lose less power up here.”

    The straightline speed advantage against Renault could be critical in allowing Vettel to leapfrog the Red Bulls at the start, but he is not expecting anything to be easy.

    “Well, from fourth it’s a bit difficult to grab the lead but who knows what happens. We will focus on our start and then go from there.

    “If there’s an opportunity I think we go for it. But it’s a long race, I think it will be more important to manage the tyres later on than making up ground at the start, but sure, if you can, you have to go for it. “

  6. Fernando Alonso says he was “not too proud” of his lap in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, but conceded the result was still great for his McLaren team.

    Alonso qualified in 12th position, his best qualifying result since the Singapore Grand Prix, splitting the Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.

    Although delighted with the result, the Spaniard admitted he was left with a “bittersweet taste” about his lap.

    “It was one of those days when I finished the lap and thought it was a shame because it wasn’t a good lap,” said Alonso.

    “I had a lot of understeer with the last set of tyres and I crossed the finish line with a bittersweet taste.

    “When they told me I was P12 I was very happy because it’s a very good result for us and with the Force Indias having used the tyres that in theory are for tomorrow today.

    “So overall a good result, but as I said, when I crossed the finish line it was not one of those laps you are not too proud of.”

    The McLaren driver believes his team could have a strong race tomorrow, as he felt the car was working better on a heavy fuel load during Friday practice.

    “We thought we had much better race pace, especially yesterday we saw every lap we did without traffic we were pretty fast so we are more confident for the race than for qualy,” he said.

    “But we are starting in a good position to score points tomorrow so hopefully we can finish the job.”

    Ocon and Perez attempted to make Q3 without using the hypersoft tyres in the second qualifying segment, a decision that Alonso believes cost them.

    But the two-time champion is still expecting the Force Indias to be a threat in the race.

    “They took a risk with the tyre choice,” said Alonso. “They tried to make Q3 avoiding the pink ones and it went wrong.

    “But the race is tomorrow, they have pace to spare and will be strong rivals.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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