Verstappen takes pole in Mexico ahead of Russell and Hamilton

Perez 4th, Sainz 5th

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By Franck Drui

29 October 2022 - 23:16
Verstappen takes pole in Mexico (...)

Max Verstappen powered to his 20th career pole position in qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula Mexico City Grand Prix beating Mercedes pair George Russell and Lewis Hamilton by three tenths of a second as hom hero Sergo Pérez finished fourth ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.

In Q1, Pérez, accompanied by a thunderous roar from the crowd at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, set the early pace with a lao of 1:20.408. Charles Leclerc was close behind the Mexican driver, however, and the Ferrari driver took P1 with a lap of 1:19.505. Verstappen, meanwhile, wasn’t happy on his first flyer and after complaining about low-grip conditions he aborted the lap prepared for a second attempt. This time the lap was good and he took P1 on a time of 1:19.222.

After his early run to P1, Pérez returned to the pit lane, telling his team that his DRS had not worked on his lap and with seven minutes left in the segment the Mexican found himself down in 10th place. He rejoined the action and jumped to sixth place thanks to a lap of 1:19.706.

That was deemed good enough and as the final runs began he and Verstappen stayed in the Red Bull garage. That allowed Hamilton to steal P1 with a final attempt of 1:19.169. Verstappen eased through in P2 ahead of surprise package Valtteri Bottas in the lead Alfa Romeo and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Towards the bottom of the order, Haas’ Mick Schumacher was eliminated in P16 ahead of the Aston Martin cars of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll and the Williams pairing of Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi.

In the first runs of Q2, Hamilton took P1 ahead of Russell, while Bottas impressed again with an early third place ahead of Verstappen who was on used tyres. Pérez, also on used softs, put in a time that ahead of the final runs saw him fall into the drop zone. He then went out for his final run ahead of the rest of the field and with the track to himself the Mexican posted a lap of 1:18.615 to take third place behind Hamilton and Russell.

Verstappen, with new softs on board delivered a lap 1:18.566 to sit 0.014s off Hamilton, but he was ultimately dropped to fourth place as Sainz jumped to second ahead of Russell. The top five were covered by just 0.063s.

Ruled out at the end of Q2 were McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in P11 followed by Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen who is facing a five-place grid drop tomorrow due to PU changes.

At the start of the battle for pole, Pérez, again out on a clear track, took P1 with a lap of 1:18.153 but he was soon beaten by Verstappen who put in a lap of 1:17.947. Russell then split the Red Bulls, seven hundredths of a second ahead of Pérez who dropped to third ahead of Sainz and Bottas. Hamilton, though, had his opening time deleted for a track limits violation in Turn 3.

In the final runs it was Verstappen who made the most of the track conditions and the Dutchman powered to a time of 1:19.775, 0.304s ahead of Russell who had his final lap deleted for a track limits violation and 0.309 ahead of Hamilton. Checo improved on his final lap to 1:18.128 but it only took him to fourth place, just four hundredths of a second behind Hamilton.

Fifth place in qualifying went to Sainz with Bottas set to start alongside the Spaniard in sixth. Leclerc ended the session in seventh, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and the Spanish drivers’ 10th-placed team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Pos.DriverTeamQ1 timeQ2 timeQ3 time
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:19.222 1:18.566 1:17.775
02 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:19.583 1:18.565 1:18.079
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:19.169 1:18.552 1:18.084
04 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:19.706 1:18.615 1:18.128
05 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:19.566 1:18.560 1:18.351
06 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:19.523 1:18.762 1:18.401
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:19.505 1:19.109 1:18.555
08 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:19.857 1:19.119 1:18.721
09 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:20.006 1:19.272 1:18.939
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:19.945 1:19.081 1:19.010
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:20.279 1:19.325
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:20.283 1:19.476
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:19.907 1:19.589
14 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:20.256 1:19.672
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:20.293 1:19.833
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
16 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:20.419
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:20.419
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:20.520
19 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:20.859
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:21.167

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