F1, Mexico GP: The Finn was positioned on track to give championship contender and teammate Lewis Hamilton a tow on both runs in qualifying, but it was the Alfa Romeo-bound driver who was the fastest Silver Arrows car on Saturday.
Bottas pumped in the quickest time on the first runs, with Hamilton 0.145s adrift and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez struggling with the rears and unable to mount the challenge their practice pace had suggested.
Verstappen wasn’t far behind and had to back off slightly as a result of the Mexican’s off, but the reality is he was unlikely to have had the pace to challenge for pole anyway.
It meant Mercedes secured an unlikely front-row lockout, the first time they have achieved the feat in Mexico since 2016, while Bottas took his third pole of the season and second in three races.
Verstappen ended up third – in what is only the sixth time this season that he has not been on the front row in 2021 – alongside Perez, with Pierre Gasly continuing his fine run of form in qualifying with a superb fifth, as Carlos Sainz recovered from an engine issue early on to take sixth.
Daniel Ricciardo was the leading McLaren in seventh, ahead of Charles Leclerc, with Yuki Tsunoda and Lando Norris closing out the top 10, however, the latter duo will drop to the back of the grid because of engine penalties.
Q1 was full of trouble as the session was stopped in the beginning because Lance Stroll had hit, and the session interfered with a red flag. After the session restarted Kimi nearly missed a penalty. Also, Carlos Sainz lost power.
The session once started was a very competitive one with all cars trying to go at the top and everybody setting a time faster than others.
The initial runs for Mercedes were not sparkling, the silver cars struggling to get their soft tyres to work on the first attempt. Red Bull had no such problem, with Verstappen topping the times by 0.6s from Perez. Mercedes recharged their respective batteries and went again, with Bottas closing to 0.171s but Hamilton still 0.4s off.
It was a traffic paradise as the session was in its closing stages. All the cars were on the road. The second rounds were pretty impressive with Bottas topping the time followed by Leclerc on the board. George Russell made it through despite of being in the bottom 5 at the start.
Fernando Alonso, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin, Lance Stroll were to leave the qualifying after the Forst session.
Mexico GP, Qualifying 2:
Medium tyres were the order of the day for the frontrunners, with Mercedes appearing to be much more competitive on this rubber to heap the pressure on Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in the Q2 session just 0.009s ahead of Max. Yuki Tsunoda, the only driver on the softs, went third, 0.218s off the pace, with the Japanese driver – who will start from the back courtesy of engine penalties – then turning his attention to focusing on towing AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly to ensure he eased through.
Sebastian Vettel has previously always qualified in the top 10 in Mexico but he couldn’t continue that run, ending up 11th, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Russell.
Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, George Russell, Antonio Giovinazzi, Estaban Ocon couldn’t continue to Q3 due to the lack of pace and finished in the bottom five.
F1, Qualifying 3:
Q3 was all about the first round itself. All the top 4 drivers couldn’t improve their timings in the second round. Bottas was flying with 2 purple and 1 green sector in the first round and got the provisional pole for himself. Lewis Hamilton followed his teammate and finished second fastest.
Max Verstappen having a bit of lockout in sector 2 couldn’t be faster than Lewis in the first round. It was a nightmare for both the red bulls. Ad the finished 3 and 4 in the first round and also couldn’t improve their timings in the second.
In the second round, Bottas finished with a purple in sector 1 but could not be better in the other two to improve his timings. Max Verstappen also lost pace in the second round with some slips and lockup. He also couldn’t improve his timings remaining the third fastest driver.
Lewis Hamilton also couldn’t improve his timings in the second round. With Perez having a lockup lost his pace and finished pole.
Mercedes enjoyed their first lock-out of the season. Both the Mercedes will start the race in the front row of the grid. Followed by both the red bulls. It was very disappointing for the Redbull to not finish at the top because it was a matter of championship as max leads with a very minor gap.