Verstappen scores Mexican Grand Prix pole as Bottas crashes

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

5 thoughts to “Verstappen scores Mexican Grand Prix pole as Bottas crashes”

  1. Mexican Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    Red Bull’s Max Verstappen upset the formbook with a blistering lap in Mexican Grand Prix qualifying to snatch pole position – though the final segment of qualifying was ultimately disrupted by a big crash for title contender Valtteri Bottas.

    Ferrari appeared to have the legs on the field in terms of one-lap pace based on Friday practice data, the Scuderia making the most of their power advantage on the long straight in the first sector – but Verstappen was hanging onto their coattails, even if he rated his qualifying chances as very poor.

    But when it really mattered, Verstappen turned it on with a brilliant opening lap and then went even quicker on his final run, as he flashed past Bottas’ crashed car on the exit of the final corner.

    Charles Leclerc joined Verstappen on the front row – the Monegasque making a series of mistakes on his last run in the final sequence of corners as he failed to improve. His Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel looked on course to usurp Leclerc, but like many of his rivals, he was forced to abort the lap with Bottas in the barriers.

    Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who must finish 14 points clear of Bottas to seal his sixth title, crossed the line fourth, a fraction ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon, with Bottas – who walked away from the crash unscathed, if a little shaken – was sixth.

    Carlos Sainz was best of the rest, the Spaniard finishing three-tenths of a second clear of McLaren team mate Lando Norris in seventh, with the Toro Rosso duo of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly completing the top 10.

    Bottas now faces an anxious wait to see how much damage was caused as a result of his crash and whether it will require any changes that will result in grid penalties that may ultimately end his title hopes and hand the crown to Hamilton.

    The day belonged to Verstappen, though, who secured his second career pole position, leaving him perfectly poised to score a third successive victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez…

    Q1 – Red Bull shine as Haas struggle

    The drivers were greeted by packed grandstands at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with the sun finally breaking through just before qualifying got under way.

    Red Bull bolted out of the blocks, with Verstappen setting the early pace, a couple of tenths clear of team mate Albon, who impressively got on the pace quickly having lost most of FP2 following a crash.

    Ferrari were their closest challengers, but Leclerc was still four tenths adrift on the same soft compound tyres. Kvyat was the most impressive of the midfield teams with the Russian confirming Toro Rosso’s early weekend pace with sixth.

    Despite some tummy trouble, Kvyat’s team mate Gasly impressed with the ninth quickest time, kust 0.003s adrift of Mercedes’ Bottas in eighth.

    Renault failed to set a lap time in final practice after they detected a pollution of one of the cooling systems on both cars but they managed to get both cars out in time for Q1 with Ricciardo and Hulkenberg comfortably making it through

    There was less good news for Lance Stroll, who was booted out of qualifying for the 13th time this year, along with both Haas – who fail to make it into Q2 for the fourth successive year – and the two Williams.

    Knocked out: Stroll, Magnussen, Grosjean, Russell, Kubica

    Q2 – Mercedes turn on the pace with home hero Perez knocked out

    Mediums were the tyres of choice for Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren’s Sainz, the seven drivers keen to see if they could get through to Q3 on that rubber to avoid them having to start on the soft, which is predicted to only last around 10 laps in the race.

    Vettel vaulted to the top of the times after the first runs, the Ferrari driver edging out Verstappen, with Leclerc third. Bottas made an error on his first lap, so had to go again and subsequently popped into fourth, ahead of team mate Hamilton, who used some fruity language to describe his mediums after going off briefly.

    Sainz could only manage 11th on the mediums, so he swapped to softs and promptly leapt into fourth. Mercedes sent both drivers out on mediums again, while Ferrari and Red Bull opted for softs. Hamilton and Bottas found a burst of pace to move into first and second, while the Ferraris and Red Bulls backed out of it, so they could start the race on the mediums.

    The Toro Rosso duo made it four Honda-powered cars in the top 10, with Lando Norris joining team mate Sainz in Q3. Sergio Perez just missed out on Q3 in 11th, but he will get a free tyre choice in front of his home fans. Both Renaults failed to improve, so also got knocked out, along with the two Alfa Romeos.

    Knocked out: Perez, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi.

    Q3 – Verstappen turns on the style

    It was Verstappen who got the job done in the first runs, the Red Bull driver the first to dip down into the 1m14s. Leclerc got close, just a tenth adrift, with Vettel slotting into third. Hamilton was the best-placed Mercedes, 0.380s off the pace.

    There were personal bests all over the place in the second runs, with Leclerc the first to cross the line but failing to improve. Bottas then brought out the double waved yellow flags when he crashed heavily at the final corner.

    That prevented anyone else improving, meaning Leclerc held onto second, his sixth consecutive front row start, with Vettel slotting into third. He’ll have his work cut out to win from there as no drive as won in Mexico from outside the front row since Alain Prost reached the top step from 13th on the grid.

    Hamilton’s fourth place is his worst ever start in Mexico, and you have to go back to the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix – a gap of more than 10 years – since he last won from that position.

    Fifth for Albon is a career-best start while Botta – who went to the medical centre following his crash and given the all-clear – was sixth. Sainz’s P7 means this will be the fifth race in a row he will start in the top seven on the grid. By outqualifying team mate Norris, the Spaniard has levelled the qualifying head-to-head at nine a piece.

    Kvyat outqualified Gasly for only the second time in six races as team mates, as both Toro Rossos made Q3 for the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix.

  2. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen admitted that he didn’t lift for Valtteri Bottas crash. has the news story.

    Mexican Grand Prix pole winner Max Verstappen has admitted he did not back off for Valtteri Bottas’s crashed Mercedes in qualifying, but he is not currently under an FIA investigation.

    Verstappen was already on provisional pole position after the initial runs in Q3 when Bottas shunted heavily at the final corner on his final lap at the end of the session.

    That prompted a single yellow flag to be waved at the marshal post on the outside of the entry to the final corner, which Verstappen encountered while on an even faster lap.

    He completed the lap with a new fastest final sector that was 0.001s quicker than on his first run, and said afterwards: “I was aware that Valtteri crashed.”

    When asked if he backed off, Verstappen said: “It didn’t really look like it did it? No.”

    F1 drivers are told explicitly in the pre-event notes every weekend that they must slow down in qualifying for yellow flags.

    Verstappen’s onboard clearly shows a single waved yellow flag on the exit of the corner.

    According to the FIA, in that situation “drivers should reduce their speed and be prepared to change direction”.

    The notes add: “It must be clear that a driver has reduced speed and, in order for this to be clear, a driver would be expected to have braked earlier and/or discernibly reduced speed in the relevant marshalling sector.”

    Despite Verstappen’s admission that he did not slow down, there was no immediate investigation into the incident and the FIA says he is not “currently” facing formal scrutiny from the stewards.

    It is unclear what punishment Verstappen may face if he is investigated and deemed to have broken the rules regarding single-waved yellow flags.

    The FIA’s International Sporting Code stipulates that failing to follow the instructions of the relevant officials “for the safe and orderly conduct of the event” is a breach of the rules.

    It lists a wide-ranging scale of penalties available to the stewards for such offences, including a reprimand, deletion of qualifying laps or grid penalties.

    Last year, when Marcus Ericsson failed to slow for yellow flags in qualifying he was hit with a five-place grid penalty, however his offence was committed under double-waved yellows.

    Verstappen said “we all know what a yellow flag means” but argued against the validity of questioning his decision not to back off when he saw the crash from a safety perspective.

    “I think we know what we are doing, otherwise we wouldn’t be driving an F1 car,” he said. “It’s qualifying and you go for it. If they want to delete the lap, then delete the lap.”

    Sebastian Vettel claimed he came across double-waved yellow flags when he arrived at the final corner although this is unclear from his onboard camera.

    His teammate Charles Leclerc, who was further ahead on the road and finished his own lap before Bottas crashed, said: “It’s clear for everyone that when there is a yellow flag you need to slow down.

    “On my side the crash behind so I cannot judge that situation. But I think it’s clear for every driver, it’s the basics.”

  3. Max Verstappen has been summoned to see the stewards at the Mexican Grand Prix for not slowing down for yellow flags in the closing seconds of qualifying.

    The Red Bull driver, who claimed pole position with his first lap of Q3, was the last man through the final corner after Valtteri Bottas had crashed in to the barriers.

    With a single yellow flag on display on the outside of the corner, Verstappen set a quicker sector time than he had on his ultimate pole position lap.

    However, there were suggestions that the mini-sector times – which are used by the FIA to judge in more detail how a driver has reacted – did show he slowed.

    But after Verstappen declared in the post-qualifying press conference that he had not slowed for Bottas’ crash and the stewards have further evaluated the matter, the FIA has now summoned him for investigation.

    Asked after qualifying about the incident, Verstappen said: “I was aware that Valtteri crashed.”

    When pushed further on if he backed off, Verstappen said: “It didn’t really look like it did it? No.”

    He was also defiant about keeping his foot in for the incident.

    Formula 1 drivers are told explicitly in the FIA’s pre-event notes every weekend that they must slow down in qualifying for yellow flags.

    If there is a single-waved yellow, the FIA states: “Drivers should reduce their speed and be prepared to change direction. It must be clear that a driver has reduced speed and, in order for this to be clear, a driver would be expected to have braked earlier and/or discernibly reduced speed in the relevant marshalling sector.”


  4. Valtteri Bottas had knee pain after hitting “nasty” barrier in the final stages of qualifying. has the details.

    Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas says he initially felt pain in his right knee following his “nasty” second impact in his Mexican Grand Prix qualifying crash.

    Bottas crashed at the final corner on his last run in Q3 after running wide and sliding into the concrete wall, where he sustained relatively little damage until his car hit the end of a TecPro barrier hard, which brought him to a sudden stop and caused considerable damage.

    Despite the initial pain, Bottas was otherwise unhurt in the heavy impact and he was later given the all clear at the track’s medical centre.

    When asked about the crash by, Bottas said: “Last run in quali three, just in the last corner, I went a bit deep and got a bit more understeer in the mid-corner. So I went a bit wider than I wanted, but everything was still OK on traction.

    “Being a bit too wide – it was dirty, there was already some pick-up on the front left, then just lost the traction and hit the wall.

    “I was following along the wall, and obviously at the end there was the TecPro barrier, which was a bit nasty actually, how it was at the end.

    “Just [on] the initial hit, I hit my knees together. I think it like was a nerve thing, so the first five minutes I did feel my right knee a little bit, but now it’s normal, so it’s OK.”

    Bottas’s team radio captured him breathing heavily in the aftermath of the crash, about which he said “the last hit into the TecPro it just took my breath out a bit – I noticed I forgot the radio was on”.

    Bottas suggested the barrier could have started earlier or later in the corner, and not have been open to the sort of impact he experienced.

    “Definitely, we should try and avoid those kind of TecPro [placement] things,” he said. “It’s a good thing, but how it starts – maybe it should start earlier or much later – but it’s not ideal.

    “It would have been all fine, and no pain at all if we had continued along the wall like it was. For sure we’ll bring it up [with the FIA].”

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is optimistic that Bottas’s car can be rebuilt without a change of chassis or gearbox, and he will still start from sixth with no penalties.

    “The car is pretty damaged,” said Wolff. “But we are 90 percent confident that we can fix it without any penalties. It was an unusual angle of impact, so probably we got away with that.

    “At the moment we are putting the car back together – that needs to be looked into the detail, but we haven’t seen any damage to the gearbox as of now.

    “But you never know whether it’s leaking at a latter stage.”

  5. UPDATE: Max Verstappen stripped of Mexican Grand Prix pole for ignoring yellow flag, Charles Leclerc promoted to P1.

    Max Verstappen has been stripped of his Mexican Grand Prix pole position after the stewards handed him a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow for Valtteri Bottas’ Q3 crash…

    Verstappen was running behind Bottas when the Finn crashed heavily at Turn 17. The Red Bull driver passed one yellow flag en route to bettering his initial leading lap time in qualifying.

    After speaking to Verstappen and reviewing video, audio and telemetry evidence, the stewards ruled the Red Bull driver “attempted to set a meaningful lap time and failed to reduce his speed in the relevant marshalling sector.”

    They added: “[Verstappen] admitted that he was aware that car 77 (Valtteri Bottas) crashed and did see the car on the left hand side of the track, but was not aware of the waved yellow flag. He also admitted not reducing his speed on the yellow sector.

    “The Stewards noted from the on board images of Car 33, that the waved yellow flag was clearly visible and was shown with enough notice.

    “The previous driver (Vettel) reduced the speed significantly as per the regulations.”

    As a result, they handed him a three-place grid penalty and two penalty points. It means he will start P4 on the grid, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc promoted to pole and Ferrari team mate Vettel joining him on the front row.

    Lewis Hamilton, who can clinch a sixth world title by finishing 14 points clear of Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, will start in P3.

    Following the penalty, Verstappen said: “It is very disappointing to be handed a grid penalty for the race and Ferrari will be very quick tomorrow so tyre life will be important but we have a really good race car so it should be a close fight.”


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