Unexpected: Finnish Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) surprised by taking pole position at the Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday, ahead of title rivals, his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull).
Leader of the world championship with twelve points ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen was the favorite given his previous results in Mexico (victory in 2017 and 2018, pole narrowly missed in 2018 and 2019) and free practice dominated by the his.
But “our qualifying was terrible, so it’s nothing surprising,” said the Dutchman. “The balance of the car was not so good and, on my last attempt, two guys (Yuki Tsunoda and Sergio Pérez, editor’s note) came out in front of me, so I slowed down, thinking there would be a yellow flag. “
For poleman Bottas, the exact opposite happened. “It was one of my best laps,” commented the Finn. “The warmer afternoon temperatures helped us and we were able to optimize everything. It was a pleasure to drive.”
The third row of the Mexican GP, on the circuit of the Rodríguez Brothers, goes to the Frenchman Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and to the Spanish from Ferrari, Carlos Sainz Jr. Follow the Australian Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and the Monegasque Charles Leclerc. , in the other red Scuderia car.
Ninth and tenth in qualifying, Japanese Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) will start from the back of the grid, 17th and 18th, penalized for having changed parts of their engine beyond the quota authorized per season. .
This will also be the case for French Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 19th and 20th.
The Briton George Russell (Williams), 16th, is subject to a penalty of five places for premature change of gearbox.
Also to be remembered from these qualifications is Stroll’s impressive crash at the start of the session. He recalls that the Mexican track, which had not been used by F1 since 2019 (2020 edition canceled due to the pandemic), is very slippery.
The Mexican GP is back at sold-out, as before the Covid-19, with more than 250,000 spectators expected over three days, including 130,000 on Sunday.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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