AHEAD OF MERCEDES' RUSSELL AND HAMILTON
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
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.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:17.775
2 George Russell Mercedes 1:18.079 0.304
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.084 0.309
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:18.128 0.353
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:18.351 0.576
6 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:18.401 0.626
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.555 0.780
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1:18.721 0.946
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:18.939 1.164
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:19.010 1.235
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:19.325 1.550
12 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:19.476 1.701
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:19.589 1.814
14 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:19.672 1.897
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:19.833 2.058
16 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:20.419 2.644
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:20.419 2.644
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:20.520 2.745
19 Alex Albon Williams 1:20.859 3.084
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:21.167 3.392