Sebastian Vettel was fastest in qualifying at Mexico and hence secured pole position for Sunday's race. The German Ferrari driver put in an impressive lap at the very end of the session to take pole away from Verstappen who ended up second fastest. Lewis Hamilton will start from third.
Romain Grosjean was the first to head out on track, predictably on the ultrasoft Pirelli tyres. Lots of drivers followed quickly, and less than a minute later, both Ferraris joined the party as well, even though they chose to use new supersofts.
Once Mercedes completed their first qualifying laps however, the pace was set, with Hamilton topping Bottas. They stayed at the top of the timesheet during Q1 as they opted for the ultrasofts on their runs. Verstappen and Vettel were closest and less than 2 tenths behind, despite using the supersofts.
Fernando Alonso was 5th fastest, also just 2 tenths down on Hamilton. The Spaniard happily noted "Yeah, feels great. The car feels great as well". Perez, Raikkonen and Ricciardo were up next in the ranking in Q1.
Vandoorne and Stroll only just managed to get into Q2 thanks to very late improvements. It came at the cost of both Saubers, both Haas cars and Pierre Gasly. The latter didn't complete a single lap as Toro Rosso were not ready yet after that STR12 suffered another mechanical issue early on in FP3.
Q2 initially appeared to go in the same direction as both Mercedes shot atop the timesheet early on in the session. Vettel though snuck in between them with Raikkonen and Ricciardo going 4th and 5th fastest.
After those times, the session was somewhat interrupted with double waved yellows as he parked his car past Turn 6 due to his engine failing.
Verstappen, who was on a flying lap before that moment, aborted his lap and was first to start another flyer, this time without yellow sections. The Dutchman was very much on the pace and went fastest, half a second quicker than Hamilton.
The closing stages still saw most drivers out on track, even though positions for the top 6 looked firmly set. Vettel did improve somewhat to move up into second, but other than that not much changed. In fact, 20 seconds from the end, positions 11 to 15 were already set. Both Williams went to the pits early, Hartley parked his Toro Rosso earlier on and neither McLaren recorded a timed lap due to the hefty grid penalties they both faced anyway.
Q3 became an interesting affair as Verstappen aborted his first flying lap. He decided to continue slowly and go onto a flyer on the same set of tyres. That slow movement surprised Bottas when he arrived at the stadium. Avoiding action and a subsequent miss of braking point forced Bottas to return to the pits, as he felt the lap wasn't going to bring anything useful anyway. The incident was set to be investigated by the stewards after qualifying.
Hamilton completed his first attempt just behind Verstappen and went fastest until Vettel improved that by another tenth. Verstappen however shaved off another 3 tenths as he completed his flying lap. Ricciardo, who similarly did a slow first timed lap before his real attempt ended up 4th fastest, half a second down on Hamilton and more than 8 tenths down on his pace setting team mate.
Bottas's lap proved a near match for Hamiton, therefore slotting into fourth place. Hamilton and Verstappen failed to improve, but Vettel still found another few tenths to take pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix. It means that if Hamilton wants to seal his World Championship title here tomorrow, he's got some work on his hands.
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:17.630||1:16.524||1:16.574||19|
|3||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:17.518||1:17.035||1:16.934||21|
|4||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:17.578||1:17.161||1:16.958||17|
|6||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||1:18.336||1:17.827||1:17.437||19|
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:18.208||1:17.631||1:17.447||15|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:18.020||1:17.868||1:17.807||19|
|11||19||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:18.570||1:18.099||-||10|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||1:18.902||1:19.159||-||11|
|13||28||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1:18.683||DNF||-||12|
|14||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||1:17.710||DNS||-||9|
|15||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Honda||1:18.578||DNS||-||13|
|16||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:19.176||-||-||9|
|17||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber Ferrari||1:19.333||-||-||9|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:19.443||-||-||10|
|19||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:19.473||-||-||11|
* Q1 107% Time - 1:22.944 Note - Gasly failed to set a time within the Q1 107% requirement, races at stewards' discretion.