Lewis Hamilton clinched his first pole position in Mexico while Nico Rosberg found some pace when it matter to join his championship rival on the front row of the grid.
After mild conditions in the earlier practice session, the track temperature peaked at 54’C as the drivers took to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez for qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.
All eyes were on championship rivals Rosberg and Hamilton especially as the German seemed to be lacking the pace needed to challenge Hamilton – or even for a front row grid slot.
Hamilton claimed provisional pole with a 1:18.704 while Max Verstappen was second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Rosberg.
Hamilton was not able to improve on his second run while Rosberg jumped up to second place, 0.254s down.
Verstappen was another who did not improve but still qualified third ahead of Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Kimi Raikkonen.
Sebastian Vettel was down in seventh place while Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz completed the top ten.
Mercedes and Ferrari both used the soft tyres to get through Q2 meaning they will start the Mexican Grand Prix on the yellow-marked Pirellis.
Pascal Wehrlein was praised by Manor for his “top-notch driving” as he made it into Q2 where he qualified in 16th place.
Daniil Kvyat failed to progress out of Q1 as he pitted after one four-lap run because of he had “no power.” He was not able to get back out and finished P18.
But it was Haas who were the biggest losers with Esteban Gutierrez P17 and Romain Grosjean P21, slowest of those who set times. The Frenchman’s final flying lap was ruined when he had to take avoiding action because Gutierrez spun in front of him at Turn 12.
Only 21 drivers took to the track in Q1 as Jolyon Palmer was forced to miss the session after Renault found a “crack” in his chassis. The Brit damaged the car when he hit a “massive” bump in final practice.
1 Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.704
2 Rosberg Mercedes 1:18.958
3 Verstappen Red Bull 1:19.054
4 Ricciardo Red Bull 1:19.133
5 Hulkenberg Force India 1:19.330
6 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:19.376
7 Vettel Ferrari 1:19.381
8 Bottas Williams 1:19.551
9 Massa Williams 1:20.032
10 Sainz Toro Rosso 1:20.378
11 Alonso McLaren 1:20.282
12 Perez Force India 1:20.287
13 Button McLaren 1:20.673.
14 Magnussen Renault 1:21.131
15 Ericsson Sauber 1:21.536
16 Wehrlein Manor 1:21.785
17 Gutierrez Haas 1:21.401
18 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:21.401
19 Nasr Sauber 1:21.692
20 Ocon Manor 1:21.881
21 Grosjean Haas 1:21.916
22 Palmer Renault no time (cracked chassis)