Vettel denies Verstappen maiden pole in Mexico

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has snatched a dramatic pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix after knocking Red Bull’s Max Verstappen off top spot in the dying seconds of the session.

Verstappen was quickest on the first runs in Q3 with a 1:16.574s, but lapped three-tenths slower on his final attempt.

This allowed Ferrari driver Vettel to snatch pole with a lap of 1:16.488s, having been just over a quarter-of-a-second slower on the first runs.

Lewis Hamilton was third fastest for Mercedes after a moment in the Turn 12 right-hander cost him time in the final sector, meaning he had to rely on his first-run time.

This put him ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who posted a lap good enough for fourth having had to abandon his first run without setting a time.

This was because of a lockup at Turn 13 after passing the slow Verstappen, who is being investigated by stewards for impeding.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth ahead of Esteban Ocon, with Daniel Ricciardo failing to improve on his final lap and ending up seventh.

Renault duo Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr were eighth and ninth ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez.

Williams team-mates Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were the only drivers among the five eliminated in Q2 to post a time.

Massa ended up 11th, missing out on a place in Q3 thanks to lapping 0.231s slower than Perez.

Stroll was over a second behind his team-mate in 12th, with much of the time lost with a scruffy run through the stadium section late in the lap.

Brendon Hartley, on his second F1 appearance for Toro Rosso, reached Q2 for the first time but ended up 13th thanks to stopping with a loss of power exiting Turn 3 on his first flying lap.

With Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne carrying grid penalties of 35 and 20 places respectively, McLaren opted not to mount a serious assault on Q2 with both drivers completing a token run without attempting a flying lap – leaving them 14th and 15th.

Sauber duo Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein were fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in 16th and 17th place respectively.

Both did three runs in Q1, but Wehrlein was bumped into the dropzone by Vandoorne late on, moments before Ericsson jumped ahead of him.

Wehrlein did not improve on his final lap but still ended up ahead of Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, who also both squeezed three runs into Q1.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly did not run in qualifying on his return to Formula 1 action after engine problems struck in final practice.

The 21-year-old already carries at least a 15-place grid penalty thanks to power unit component changes made on Friday, and completed only 12 practice laps on his first appearance at Mexico City.

Results: Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix Qualifying 

Position Driver Car Time Gap
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:16.488s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1:16.574s 0.086s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.934s 0.446s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:16.958s 0.470s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:17.238s 0.750s
6 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1:17.437s 0.949s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1:17.447s 0.959s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:17.466s 0.978s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:17.794s 1.306s
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1:17.807s 1.319s
11 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1:18.099s 1.611s
12 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1:19.159s 2.671s
13 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Renault
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:19.176s 2.688s
15 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1:19.333s 2.845s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:19.443s 2.955s
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:19.473s 2.985s
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda
20 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Renault

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