Grand Prix of Mexico – Qualifying

After the US Grand Prix, ROS has a 26 point lead over HAM. Theoretically ROS can seal the Drivers’ Championship this weekend, but it’s never that simple. It’s interesting to see HAM faster than ROS in all three Free Practice sessions, but they were both beaten in FP2 and FP3 – could make for an interesting Qualifying session!

Free practice:

  1. FP1: HAM (1:20.914), VET, RAI, PER, HUL
  2. FP2: VET (1:19.790), HAM, ROS, RAI, RIC
  3. FP3: VES (1:19.137), HAM, RIC, ROS, BOT

PAL damaged the Renault’s chassis in FP3, so there’s a risk it won’t be fixed in time for Q1.

Air temperature 17°C; track 50°C; not a cloud in the sky.

Renault have confirmed PAL’s chassis was cracked near the seat belt mounting after he hit a kerb, so there’s no way he’ll be able to run in Q1. That means he’ll start the race from the pit lane.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
GRO and OCO peel out of the pit lane as soon as the light turns green
A lot of other drivers heading for the track – traffic could be an issue on this tight circuit
Big slide for GUT as he starts his quick lap
GRO 1:27.544
Radio from GUT – tyres are not ready, so he’ll do another warm up lap before going for a really quick one
ERI 1:21.690
KVY 1:21.454
SAI 1:21.100 – just under 2secs slower than VES’ FP3 fastest time
Apparently GRO’s radio message to his engineer is not repeatable on TV!
HUL 1:20.861
HAM 1:19.970
VET 1:19.865
VES P2
RAI 1:19.554
ROS P7
6mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are ERI, NAS, OCO, GUT, GRO and PAL
RIC P2
Toro Rosso mechanics are having a close look at KVY’s engine
HAM 1:19.447
Big lock up from BOT – that’s probably destroyed his front right tyre
3mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are ERI, GRO, NAS, OCO, GUT, PAL
GUT P15, pushing WEH to P17
ERI P12, so KVY is now P17
GUT has spun the Haas, causing a local yellow flag and making his teammate (GRO) take avoiding action
Chequered flag
WEH P16, bumping GUT to P17
Back of the grid: GUT, KVY, NAS, OCO, GRO, PAL*
*PAL will start from the pit lane after a complete chassis change

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Q2 session has started but everyone remains in the garages
HAM leaves the pits on a set of soft tyres
ROS also on softs… and it looks like a lot of others are following suit
RIC is on supersofts
Radio from HAM – small vibration
HAM 1:27.526 but that was really just another warm up lap
WEH 1:26.121
HAM 1:19.137 despite having to go around VET
Radio from HAM – blocked by VET
ROS P2 by 0.2 sec
VET P2
VES 1:18.972
5mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are BOT, MAS, BUT, WEH, MAG, ERI
ROS going for another run on soft tyres again
Only the top 4 (VES, HAM, VET, RIC) remain in the pits
ROS is down in sector 1, but he’s currently P5 so he should be safe
Chequered flag
BUT to P10
BOT P7
MAS P8
ALO P10
SAI P9
HUL P6
Middle of the grid: ALO, PER, BUT, MAG, ERI, WEH

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
The top 10 shootout is between VES, HAM, VET, RIC, ROS, HUL, RAI, BOT, MAS & SAI
SAI on used supersoft tyres; everyone else on new supersofts
HUL 1:30.850 but that’s a warm up lap
RIC 1:19.210
VES 1:19.092
HUL P3
BOT P4
HAM 1:18.704
ROS P4
VET P8
After one proper quick lap, order is HAM, VES, RIC, ROS, HUL, RAI, BOT, VET, MAS, SAI
HAM is first out of the garage again
Track is up to 55°C as we approach the end of Quali.
No-one seems to be improving their sector times, so has the track passed its peak?
Chequered flag
VES P2
HAM doesn’t improve
MAS P8
ROS P2
VET P7
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, VES, RIC, HUL, RAI, VET, BOT, MAS, SAI

No mention of an investigation of VET blocking HAM in Q2

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, VES, RIC, HUL, RAI, VET, BOT, MAS, SAI; ALO, PER, BUT, MAG, ERI, WEH; GUT, KVY, NAS, OCO, GRO, PAL*
*PAL will start from the pit lane after a complete chassis change

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