Dutch driver Max Verstappen has secured a GP pole position in the Formula 1 Mexico Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack.
The two-time world champion Verstappen on Saturday curved a smile on the Red Bull team after he maneuvered a certified last lap to claim the pole position for Sunday’s Mexico City Grand Prix.
This becomes a sweet comeback victory for Red Bull after being slapped with a $145 million cost cap as a penalty for breaching Formula One last year, and also Verstappen’s sixth pole this year and the 17th of his career.
The 25-year-old Dutchman registered a successful lap of 1min 17.775sec with a 0.304 seconds gap between him and George Russell and his Mercedes’ team-mate, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen did his trick in the third qualifying Period, thinning his time to remain dominant against his close competitor Mercedes team driver Russel who had shown potential. Verstappen will be looking into securing a 14th-record win in a single season this Sunday.
“That was a good qualifying, It was a close one, but we made a few adjustments to the car and got into a better rhythm so to be on pole here of course is amazing,” the Dutchman noted.
“It’s a very long run down to Turn One here, so we need a good start, but I think we have a quick car and that’s what is most important.
The passion of the fans here is incredible and, in the stadium, it is just amazing to drive there.”
Sergio Perez, a Red Bull team-mate and a local Champion, came fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and a rising Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo.
Verstappen claimed his assurance of having Suarez in the race this Sunday.
Charles Leclerc came in Seventh despite a heavy crash on Friday, the second Ferrari ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the Alpines of two-time champion Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
Russell, however, expressed disappointment after being disappointed after running wide on his final lap and apologises to the team on Radio.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry,”
“The team deserved more today,
They’ve produced a great car this weekend and it felt like our pole to have and I did a terrible lap at the end.” Russel expressed his disappointment.
Hamilton, on the other hand, praised the race saying it was the best of the entire year, as he hoped to do better.
“This is the best qualifying we’ve had all year,”
It just shows that perseverance and never giving up can pay off. I’m quite happy with that position – it’s an along the way to Turn One.”Hamilton remarked.
The session unfolded after a negative reaction to Red Bull’s $7 million fine and 10 percent reduction in the authorized aerodynamic research for overspending last year.
Ferrari expressed their disappointment as Mercedes said Christian Horner’s description of the team’s punishment as ‘draconian’ was overstated while McLaren described it as mild.
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The conditions at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez were close to perfect for the qualifying, with a temp temperature was 25 degrees Celsius and a track of 49.
The Q1 opening period saw Hamilton maintain Mercedes’ much-improved form in the rarefied atmosphere, at 2,200 meters altitude, by topping the times ahead of Verstappen and Leclerc.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was among those eliminated.