Grand Prix of Mexico – Qualifying


After the GP of Japan there were a few updates:

  • “The classifications of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg are provisional subject to the outcome of a protest initiated by Racing Point.” – More on that in a minute.
  • “Leclerc received a 5-second and a 10-second post-race penalty for causing a collision and then driving his car in an unsafe condition.” – that dropped him to P7
  • The stewards ruled no driver was “wholly at fault” in the GAS/PER incident on the last lap…
  • …but then we heard that lap 53 wasn’t the last lap after all – the chequered flag light display panel was shown a lap early! That’s the system which was introduced in response to someone waving the flag two laps early at the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. This meant the result was declared at the end of lap 52, so PER retained P9 and the 2 points that go with it, whereas HUL dropped to P10 and STR to P11 (and therefore out of the points).
  • OK, so at the end of the 53 52 lap race, the result was BOT, VET, HAM, ALB, SAI, RIC, LEC, GAS, PER, HUL
    so now let’s return to Racing Point’s protest of Renault’s brake bias system.
    10 days have passed since the race and the stewards find that, “while Renault used ‘innovative solutions to exploit certain ambiguities’, the system was not in breach of the F1 Technical Regulations”.
    However, Renault were found to have breached F1’s Sporting Regulations relating to driver aids. F1 rules state the driver must drive the car alone and unaided, and the stewards found that the system meant the drivers were saved from making a number of adjustments during a lap, even if it wasn’t a substitute for driver skills or reflexes [FIA]
    The disqualification of RIC and HUL moves LEC back up to P6, STR back into the points (in P9) and KVY up to P10.
    Confused? You won’t be after this episode…
    So the revised result is: BOT, VET, HAM, ALB, SAI, LEC, GAS, PER, STR, KVY
    Fortunately, this doesn’t change (or delay) Mercedes winning the Constructors’ Championship.
    Oh, and Renault have said they won’t appeal this decision, so at least there won’t be any further updates to the result.

Phew! There was probably more happening after the race than during it! 🙂

Let’s move on to Mexico and the Free Practice sessions:

  1. FP1: HAM (1:17.327), LEC, VER, ALB, BOT
    Nicholas Latifi got a chance to drive KUB’s Williams for this session
    Everyone started on intermediate tyres but quickly moved to slicks, mostly mediums
    A few drivers lock-up into Turn 11; the stewards have said anyone going off at T11 must obey the route to rejoin safely or they’ll be penalised
    STR slides sideways into the barrier, causing quite a bit of damage to his Racing Point; it wasn’t a big impact but there’s no run-off there so red flags waved to suspend the session [video]
    GRO’s lap time is deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 1
    STR’s damage must have been largely cosmetic because he’s already back on track
    VER was frustrated that VET didn’t wait and open a gap like everyone else; instead, VET tries to pass them and VER’s temper led to him trying to squeeze inside MAG but instead damaging his front wing [video]
  2. FP2: VET (1:16.607), VER, LEC, BOT, HAM
    A mix of medium and hard compounds as they head out for the start of FP2
    LEC spins in Turn 1; plenty of run-off so he recovers ok
    ALB, however, loses the rear of his Red Bull and slams into the wall; red flags [video]
    They’re lining up two abreast at pit out as they wait for FP2 to resume
    BOT spins in T12 but recovers ok
    Soft tyres now making an appearance
    GAS and GIO have a moment but avoid contact
    LEC manages to spin after the chequered flag has ended the session!
  3. FP3: LEC (1:16.145), VET

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 19°C; track 34°C; 61% humidity
Radio from RUS complaining his tyres aren’t up to temperature
RUS 1:33.152
KUB 1:23.313
RUS 1:19.547
GRO spins; recovers
KVY 1:17.921
NOR 1:17.854
RAI 1:17.662
VET 1:16.859
ALB 1:16.175
(LEC P2)
(HAM P2)
VER 1:15.949
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are STR, MAG, GRO, RUS, KUB
RUS P18
Chequered flag
GRO P18
Back of the grid: STR, MAG, GRO, RUS, KUB

Qualifying session 2
Both Toro Rosso leave the pits on medium tyres
Incident involving KVY and RIC will be investigated after the session (Side-by-side in the pit lane)
KVY 1:17.712
HAM 1:16.481
VET 1:15.914
(LEC P2)
(ALB P4)
(VER P2)
(BOT P4)
5mins left; bottom 5 are SAI, GIO, RAI, GAS, KVY
Both Mercedes going for a final run on mediums; both Ferrari on softs
Everyone on track for a final run
Chequered flag
SAI P4; RIC P11
RIC P9; NOR P11
NOR P6; HUL P11
PER P11
BOT 1:15.852
HAM 1:15.721
VET and LEC back off, so they’ll start the race on mediums
Middle of the grid: PER, HUL, RIC*, RAI, GIO
*Pit lane incident under investigation

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, BOT, VET, VER, LEC, SAI, NOR, ALB, KVY, GAS
NOR 1:16.890
SAI 1:16.748
(GAS P2)
(KVY P2)
BOT 1:15.338
HAM 1.15.290
VET 1:15.170
(ALB P3)
VER 1:14.910
(LEC P2)
After first run, order is VER, LEC, VET, HAM, ALB, BOT, SAI, KVY, GAS, NOR
Radio for VER, “Good banker mate”
Chequered flag
NOR P7
KVY P8
LEC runs wide
GAS P10
LEC P2
BOT into the tyre wall
HAM P4
VER 1:14.758
Front of the grid: VER, LEC, VET, HAM, ALB, BOT, SAI, NOR, KVY*, GAS
*Pit lane incident under investigation

Disgraceful absence of marshals – no-one checking on BOT 🙁
Fortunately BOT gets himself out of the car
Oh, and now the marshals are finally reaching the Mercedes
Medical car has been deployed to pick up BOT

“Verstappen summoned to stewards over alleged failure to slow for Bottas crash” [FIA] [video]

“Max Verstappen has been stripped of his Mexican Grand Prix pole position after the stewards handed him a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow for Valtteri Bottas’ Q3 crash”; “The Stewards noted from the on board images of Car 33, that the waved yellow flag was clearly visible and was shown with enough notice.” [FIA]
Revised grid: LEC, VET, HAM, VER, ALB, BOT, SAI, NOR, KVY*, GAS, PER, HUL, RIC*, RAI, GIO, STR, MAG, GRO, RUS, KUB
*Pit lane incident under investigation