Max Verstappen scored an important pole position for Red Bull Racing as the Mexican Grand Prix qualifying session was red-flagged after Valtteri Bottas crashed hard at the final corner.
Verstappen set the fastest time on the first runs in Q3, 0.114 seconds quicker than Charles Leclerc.
He then improved to a one minute, 14.758 seconds on his final attempt to land pole position – although his first lap would have been good enough to secure P1 – completing his lap after Valtteri Bottas had a big crash and brought out double waved yellow flags.
Leclerc held onto second position despite not improving, with teammate Sebastian Vettel also using his first-run time to take third on the starting grid after having to back off for yellow flags.
Lewis Hamilton made a small improvement on his second Q3 run to make sure of fourth position, 0.504 seconds off the pace.
Alex Albon was fifth fastest and 0.580 seconds slower than his Red Bull teammate.
This put him just 0.002 seconds quicker than Bottas, who was on course to improve on his time when he hit the outside wall in the final left hander on his final attempt.
The rear stepped out on Bottas and sent him into the wall, which he slid along before coming to rest against the leading edge of the Tecpro barrier closer to the exit of the corner.
Although the medical car was deployed due to the size of impact, Bottas reported he was okay.
McLaren dominated the battle for ‘best of the rest’, with Carlos Sainz Jr outpacing Lando Norris by three-tenths in the battle for seventh position.
Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly claimed ninth and tenth for Toro Rosso, separated by just over a tenth-of-a-second.
The Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes drivers will all start the race using medium-compound Pirellis having used that tyre to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top ten are on softs.
Kvyat will be investigated after the qualifyingsession for an unsafe release when the Scuderia Toro Rosso sent him out of the garage as Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault was driving past in Q1.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez ensured he was the best-placed driver with free tyre choice for the race by grabbing P11 at the end of Q2, missing out on Q3 by just 0.008 seconds.
That put him two-tenths ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, with Daniel Ricciardo behind in P13.
Kimi Raikkonen won the battle of the Alfa Romeo drivers for P14 position, outpacing Antonio Giovinazzi by three-tenths.
Lance Stroll was the quickest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 after only making a small improvement on the time set on his first run – complaining over the team radio of “no grip”.
A slow run through the middle sector cost him and left him 0.271 seconds away from Giovinazzi, the slowest of those to escape Q1.
The Haas drivers both squeezed in three runs during the session, with Kevin Magnussen the faster of the duo in P17, 0.163 seconds quicker than Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean’s first attempt was ruined by the rear stepping out at the entry to Turn 1, as although he caught the moment it flicked the car into a spin in the other direction as he took to the grass.
Williams driver George Russell was just 0.224 seconds off Grosjean’s pace as he took P19, again winning the intra-Williams battle with teammate Robert Kubica 1.356 seconds slower.
So congratulations to Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen with this Mexican Grand Prix qualifying form. This result has halted Ferrari’s run on pole positions. Can Max score a hat-trick of victories on race day? Well, starting on pole will be advantage and he is looking good for the race. Best of luck Max.
Mexican Grand Prix, qualifying result:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 01:14.758
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 01:15.024
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 01:15.170
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 01:15.262
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 01:15.336
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 01:15.338
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 01:16.014
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 01:16.322
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 01:16.469
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 01:16.586
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 01:16.687
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 01:16.885
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 01:16.933
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 01:16.967
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 01:17.794
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 01:18.065
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 01:18.436
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 01:18.599
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 01:18.823
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 01:20.179