Max Verstappen secured pole position then lost it after talking himself into trouble with the FIA stewards in Mexico.
It initially was Verstappen’s second F1 pole position and ended Ferrari’s run of five consecutive poles but he crossed the line moments after Valtteri Bottas hit the wall coming out of the final corner before going nose first into the Techpro barrier, with footage showing yellow flags being waved in his eyeline before going faster still on his second Q3 lap.
The FIA were not initially going to investigate Verstappen and his final Q3 lap, but the Dutchman talked himself into being summoned after he admitted in the post-qualifying FIA press conference that he did not lift off after seeing yellow flags and Valtteri Bottas’ crash itself.
He was subsequently given a three-place grid drop and that promoted Charles Leclerc to pole position.
It was a disappointing qualifying for Haas as both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean failed to make it out of a rather uneventful Q1.
Grosjean’s efforts were not helped by a spin.
Change this to death, taxes, both Haas cars go out in Q1 https://t.co/yBdQ4Z7VxA
— iGP Manager (@iGPManager) October 26, 2019
They were joined on the sidelines by Lance Stroll and the two Williams drivers with Robert Kubica was 1.3s slower than George Russell.
Q2 began with Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo in hot water with the stewards.
They announced prior to the green flag that both drivers will be investigated after qualifying for their tussle in the pit lane during Q1.
The mediums were the tyre of choice for the top three teams in Q2 while the rest of the hopefuls swapped to softs for their second run.
Local lad Sergio Perez didn’t make it through, 0.008s away from P10, while Nico Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi also dropped out.
— Alfa Romeo Racing (@alfaromeoracing) October 26, 2019
The remaining 10 drivers went into Q3 with many still predicting Ferrari would be the team to beat despite not setting the pace in Q1, that was Max Verstappen, and Q2, which was Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen drew first blood with a blistering 1:14.910, putting him 0.114s up on Leclerc with Vettel third.
Max Verstappen moves into provisional pole with a 1:14.910!
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 26, 2019
The second run once again saw traffic and slow cars heading towards the line but that didn’t bother Verstappen, the last man out.
None of the drivers went purple in the first sector but Verstappen did in the second.
Leclerc made a mistake and stayed second while Verstappen went purple again in the third to secure pole position with a 1:14.758.
Bottas had a late crash, sliding into the wall at the final corner before hitting the Techpro barrier. The impact seemingly left the Finn winded and led to double waved yellows.
As a result of Verstappen’s penalty, Leclerc will line up first on the grid ahead of Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen and Alexander Albon while Bottas is sixth.
Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Kvyat and Pierre Gasly complete the top ten.
Times (before Verstappen’s penalty)
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:14.758
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.266s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.412s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.504s
5 Alex Albon Red Bull 0.578s
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.580s
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.256s
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1.564s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.711s
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.828s
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:16.687
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:16.885
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:16.933
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1:16.967
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1:17.269
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:18.065
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:18.436
18 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:18.436
19 George Russell Williams 1:18.823
20 Robert Kubica Williams 1:20.179
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