Grand Prix of Mexico – Qualifying

The main news after the Grand Prix of America is still the discussions around Verstappen’s pass on Raikkonen on the final lap.

  • “Max Verstappen’s US GP penalty is defended by the FIA” [SkySports]
    “It wasn’t appropriate and we are discussing things with Max,” Whiting told Sky Sports News. “It would be nice if he was to apologise for using inappropriate language.”
  • Asked to respond to allegations that Connelly was biased against Verstappen, Whiting said: “The statistics I have seen don’t paint the correct picture. It is just coincidence that Garry happened to be there. You cannot tie the two together. I know Garry well well and a more honest and scrupulous person you could not ever come across. Any sort of idea that he may have it in for a driver is wholly unfounded.” [autosport]
  • “Max Verstappen took to social media to apologise for the language he used in criticising Formula 1’s stewards” [autosport]
    “Further to what I said during the FIA press conference earlier today, I would once again apologise for the language that I used following the US Grand Prix. My comments were made in the heat of the moment, I know that the words I used were inappropriate and they were not directed at any one person. I certainly did not mean to cause any offence and I hope we can move on and enjoy this race weekend.” [instagram]

  • There’s been a disturbing number of death threats aimed at Ocon by his teammate Perez’s “fans”! “Esteban Ocon has revealed he received death threats on social media in response to collisions between him and his team mate this year.” [f1fanatic]
  • “Drivers have been given new rules on respecting track limits at turn one at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez following the controversy during last year’s race. […] For this year’s race drivers must follow a prescribed route to rejoin the track if they run wide there. An additional part of the run-off at turns two and three has been covered with asphalt and speed bumps have been added to discourage drivers from cutting the corner.” [f1fanatic]
  • Sky Sports report “Daniil Kvyat ‘dropped from Red Bull programme and won’t return to Toro Rosso'”; “We do not believe he can make the turnaround in the long term,” says Marko. “Gasly and Hartley are finishing the season. Then we’ll see what happens.”
  • “Esteban Ocon slams ‘dangerous’ FIA speed bumps on Mexico F1 track [autosport]
    “It is dangerous. You are going to launch and I think it’s not going to stay like this. I think if someone hits that they will have to make a chassis change.”

Oh, and of course there’s lots of talk about HAM wrapping up the Drivers’ Championship today – he just needs to finish P5 or above to take the title.

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: BOT (1:17.824), HAM, VER, RIC, VET, RAI, PER, ALO, MAS, HUL
  2. FP2: RIC (1:17.801), HAM, VET, VET, RAI, BOT, ALO, PER, HUL, OCO
    “Sebastian Vettel suspects a loose screw was to blame for his Ferrari Formula 1 car’s fire extinguisher going off mid-run during second practice for the Mexican Grand Prix.” [autosport]
    “Kevin Magnussen will under a check by the medical delegate to assess his condition before final practice, the FIA has confirmed.” [f1fanatic]
  3. FP3: VER (1:17.113), HAM, VET, BOT, RIC, RAI, PER, OCO, SAI, HUL

Before Quali starts, here are the penalties:

  • 5-place grid penalty Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
  • 20-place grid penalty Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
  • 35-place grid penalty Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)

It wouldn’t be a race weekend without penalties for engine changes at McLaren!

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 18°C; track 42°C = yes, big difference between track and air temps
GAS won’t take part in Q1 as Toro Rosso are still rebuilding his car
GRO is the first to leave the pits
VAN does a practice start, presumably to check out his new Honda engine
GRO 1:21.359 on ultrasoft tyres
HAR 1:19.948 – ultras
RAI 1:18.148 – supersofts
VET 1:18.045 – supers
BOT 1:17.578 – ultras
HAM 1:17.518 – ultras
Apparently GAS has just rushed off to get changed and jump in his car
RIC only P7 and falling down the timings as even ALO goes quicker
VER P3 ahead of VET
RIC manages P8 on his second run
Looks like Toro Rosso have decided (again) they won’t have GAS’ car ready to run in Q1
3mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are GRO, ERI, MAG, VAN, GAS
MAS (P12) and down are all on track, as is ALO (P5)
Radio from ALO – problems with the turbo
MAG P16
Chequered flag
GRO P17
VAN P13, WEH P16
ERI P16
ALO P5!
WEH P17
Back of the grid: ERI, WEH, MAG, GRO, GAS*
(*penalty to be applied)

Qualifying session 2
BOT 1:17.161
HAM P2 – he backed off at Turn 6
VET 1:17.058
HAM 1:17.035
Everyone on ultrasofts so far
Radio from HAR – “no power, no power” – so that’s problems for both Toro Rosso cars
Double waved yellow flags as the marshalls remove HAR’s car
HAR did a good job of parking close to a gap in the barriers, so the car is moved quickly
VER 1:16.524 after having to abandon his previous flying lap thanks to the flags
90seconds left of Q2; bottom 5 are MAS, STR, HAR, ALO, VAN
RIC is the only one in the pits
HAM doesn’t improve on his time so he’ll have to start the race on ultras that have done 2 quick laps
VET P2
Chequered flag
Middle of the grid: MAS, STR, HAR, ALO*, VAN*
(*penalties to be applied)

Qualifying session 3
side-by-side down the pit lane
BOT locks up into the stadium section; dives into the pits
VER 1:32.517 but he’d backed off
HAM 1:16.934
HUL P2
RAI P2
SAI P2
OCO P2
VET 1:16.833
VER 1:16.574
RIC p4
After the first run, order is VER, VET, HAM, RIC, OCO, SAI, PER, RAI, HUL, BOT (no time from BOT)
VER under investigation for impeding BOT on that first run
Second runs starting; everyone’s on track
HUL P5
BOT P4
HAM puts all 4 wheels outside track limits
Chequered flag
HAM P3
OCO P6
VET 1:16.488
PER P10
VER P2
RIC P7
Front of the grid: VET, VER*, HAM, BOT, RAI, OCO, RIC, HUL, SAI, PER
*VER under investigation

VET’s 50th pole position
Interviews with the top 3:
VET: “It was quite a lap, I have to say”; “I’m very happy and tomorrow should be good”
VER: “Second is good”; “I really wanted pole but just not enough”
HAM: “The last lap could have been quicker”

Provisional grid: VET, VER*, HAM, BOT, RAI, OCO, RIC, HUL, SAI, PER, MAS, STR, HAR, ALO*, VAN*, ERI, WEH, MAG, GRO, GAS*
(*penalties to be applied; *VER under investigation)

3 Replies to “Grand Prix of Mexico – Qualifying”

  1. “Max Verstappen will retain second on the grid in Mexico after race stewards cleared him of impeding Valtteri Bottas during Saturday’s final qualifying segment.” [FIA]

  2. Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he, the FIA and rival teams would often “help” Ferrari to be more successful in formula one. “F1 is Ferrari, and Ferrari is F1,” the Briton, who turns 87 on Saturday, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. [grandprix]
    No surprise there! 🙁

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