Mexico City GP: Max Verstappen sends Mercedes strong challenge to win pole

Max Verstappen wins pole for Red Bull at Mexico City GP; Lewis Hamilton topped the grid for Mercedes in Q1 and Q2 but could only finish third behind team-mate George Russell; watch the race live on Sky Sports F1 at 8pm on Sunday, with a build-up from 6.30pm.

Last update: 29/10/22 22:49

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start at the front of the grid ahead of Mercedes pair George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start at the front of the grid ahead of Mercedes pair George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen overcame a strong challenge from Mercedes to beat George Russell to pole position for Red Bull at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton topped the standings in Q1 and Q2 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to continue the strong form Mercedes showed over the weekend, but it was the 2022 world champion who managed to find an extra performance when it mattered most.

Verstappen’s 1:17.775 put him 0.3s ahead of Russell, with Hamilton just a fraction off his team-mate in third, while Sergio Perez’s fellow Red Bull finished fourth at his home track.

A disappointing session for Ferrari saw Carlos Sainz fifth, with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas spectacularly ahead of Charles Leclerc into sixth.

It is just the sixth pole of the season for Verstappen, who is aiming for a record 14th win of the campaign after sealing his second successive drivers’ title two rounds ago in Japan.

Max Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton took the top three qualifying spots for the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Max Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton took the top three qualifying spots for the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton took the top three qualifying spots for the Mexico City Grand Prix.

With Verstappen and his team’s best performances during their brilliant season usually reserved for Sunday, Mercedes face a major challenge to deny the Dutchman in Sunday’s race.

However, Mercedes undoubtedly enjoyed their best Friday and Saturday of the season and having two cars behind Red Bull will give them hope of sealing a first win of the year.

Mexico City GP Qualifying Results
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) George Russell, Mercedes
3) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
7) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
8) Lando Norris, McLaren
9) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
10) Esteban Ocon, Alpine

How Verstappen broke Mers’ hearts for pole in Mexico

Mercedes looked well-placed to challenge for what would be only their second pole of the season after doing a one-two in final practice earlier on Saturday, but Verstappen promptly laid down a marker at the start of qualifying.

The Dutchman’s more cautious approach in the early stages of the tour paid off as his stronger performance in the final sector put him ahead of the Silver Arrows after their opening heats.

Lewis Hamilton was pleased with the performance of his Mercedes after qualifying third for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lewis Hamilton was pleased with the performance of his Mercedes after qualifying third for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was pleased with the performance of his Mercedes after qualifying third for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen and Leclerc, who was second at the time, were the only cars to opt not to return to the track for the second stint on an improving track, allowing Hamilton to set the fastest time in the dying moments.

The seven-time world champion also finished Q2 at the top of the grid, but had used new soft tires while Verstappen did his flying laps on used sets.

However, the fact that just 0.014 seconds separated the top four of Hamilton, Sainz, Russell and Verstappen at the end of the second quarter foreshadowed a dramatic final part of the session.

However, finally unleashing his car’s full potential, Verstappen was able to outscore Russell by more than a tenth in their opening heats, while Hamilton lost his first lap for exceeding the track limits at Turn 3.

Sky F1's David Croft joked that George Russell's team radio announcement sounded like a traffic report on the M25 on Monday morning!

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky F1’s David Croft joked that George Russell’s team radio announcement sounded like a traffic report on the M25 on Monday morning!

Sky F1’s David Croft joked that George Russell’s team radio announcement sounded like a traffic report on the M25 on Monday morning!

This meant that Hamilton would have to exercise some caution in his second and final race, damaging his hopes of a first pole of the season.

Those hopes were further dashed when Verstappen improved and despite coming into contact after two sectors, Hamilton faded again to finish three-tenths back of the leading time in third.

Russell, free to attack, looked set for a strong lap but went wide at Turn 12 to end his hopes of unseating Verstappen, who has turned four of his five pole positions this season into wins.

More to follow…

Mexico City GP qualifying schedule schedule

Driver A team time
1) Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:17.775
2) George Russell Mercedes +0.304
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.309
4) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.353
5) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.576
6) Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +0.626
7) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.780
8) Lando Norris McLaren +0.946
9) Fernando Alonso alpine +1,164
10) Esteban Ocon alpine +1,235
Coming out in Q2
11) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:19.325
12) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:19.476
13) Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri 1:19.589
14) Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri 1:19.672
15) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:19.833
Coming out in Q1
16) Mick Schumacher Haas 1:20.419
17) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:20.419
18) Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:20.520
19) Alex Alban Williams 1:20.859
20) Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:21.167

Leave a Comment