Based on the form books and the results from the practice sessions, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was expected to easily secure the pole position. Things have, however, massively changed for Saturday’s important afternoon session which saw Mercedes lock out the front row for today’s Mexico City Grand Prix.
Verstappen looked in control of the happenings at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but as the temperatures started to creep even higher in qualifying, Mercedes managed to find the sweep spot with its car. In fact, the Mercedes’ shocking front-row lock-out was aided by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who went off the track directly in front of Verstappen and his team mate Sergio Perez, robbing the chance of improving their previous benchmark.
MercedesValtteri Bottas, 1st, 1:15.875
"It was an awesome lap! Especially my lap in the first run of Q3. I couldn't quite match my sectors in the second one, but I think honestly that first run in Q3 was one of my best laps. It's a good feeling! This morning actually the car was really good: we were lacking a bit of pace on lap 1 but I think with higher temperatures this afternoon than in the morning it came our way.
„We also tried to optimise everything with tyres, temps and setup and it was a joy to drive! Looking ahead to the start, it is a long, long straight and for sure, the cars behind with the tow will have good opportunities so we'll need a good start and at least, as a team, it's good that we have two cars ahead and hopefully we can try and keep the positions."Lewis Hamilton, 2nd, 1:16.020
"Valtteri did an amazing job, I'm so proud of him! I think he's been driving so well these last few races so it's great for the team - they've been working hard. We didn't think we had the pace this weekend so to lock out the front row is pretty special and obviously gives us a good fight with the others tomorrow. I'm not sure where we found the performance compared to Red Bull but once we got to qualifying we had good pace. I'm as shocked as everyone but we'll still take it!"
Red BullMax Verstappen, 3rd, 1:16.225
“P3 isn’t so bad considering we were really struggling to get the tyres to work today, we were sliding around a lot. My first lap in Q3 wasn’t great, the grip was terrible so when I saw the gap to Mercedes, I thought that was fair enough. We needed to find a better balance in the car so we tried to make a few changes to how our car was running and then I think the second lap of Q3 was looking okay.
„I don’t know what happened in front of me but I saw Checo and Yuki both go wide and I saw a lot of dust so I thought that a car had crashed. I’ve been caught out by yellow flags here before so I slowed down, as a result I lost a lot of momentum and time. It’s a shame that we both aren’t locking out the front row tomorrow after being so competitive all weekend. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully the race will be exciting, there’s a long run to the first corner so let’s see what happens.”Sergio Perez, 4th, 1:16.342
“The car was not the same as it was in FP3 after we had to change the rear wing, but we did couple of adjustments in the session and once we got on top of it, all of a sudden I found Yuki off his racing line ahead of me at turn 11, which hurt my final lap. He wasn’t a distraction it was that I was too close to him and it forced me to brake. Once I did that I lost my downforce and I think I got a lot of dirty air, lost the car unfortunately and lost my lap. We didn’t have the pace across qualifying, but I think I could have improved a bit going into that final lap, I was up already on my previous lap and think I could have improved by a couple of tenths.
„We have to analyse as a Team to make sure tomorrow we have a good race car and are able to put pressure on the Mercedes ahead of us. I think the launch we have tomorrow is more important than the grid position, there is a long race ahead and we will try to be there, I am optimistic and I hope all the fans enjoy it. The crowd have been amazing, they are giving me so much love and support. I just look forward to tomorrow now and hope I can celebrate with them on the podium, I will give my maximum.”
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, 5th, 1:16.456
“Today was so good and I’m extremely happy to be P5, what a fantastic quali. The team have done a great job with the car, it seems to work well on this track, and we’ve felt really strong this weekend. I tried to put everything together in qualifying and managed to finish three tenths ahead of sixth place. Yuki also did really well and helped in Q3 by giving me a tow. Hopefully we can finish well tomorrow, we’ll continue to focus on ourselves this weekend and try and score as many points as possible here in Mexico.”Yuki Tsunoda, 9th, 1:17.158
“I’m happy overall with today’s performance. My main goal for qualifying was to help my team mate, due to the penalty I’ll have for tomorrow’s race, and I think as a team we did a really good job as we continue our fight for fifth in the championship. I think we’ve shown that the pace is there this weekend, so I’m aiming to make my way forward tomorrow in the race and looking towards the points.”
not so smol now are we? 😏 who else is ready to jump into Quali?! 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/baOufUV0Lg— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) November 6, 2021
FerrariCharles Leclerc, 8th, 1:16.837
"I’m quite disappointed. It has been a difficult weekend all along, but good progress from the practice sessions to qualifying. I put everything together today. I was strong in Q1, Q2 and the first run of Q3. Unfortunately I made a mistake on the second run in Q3 and finished the session without improving my lap.
„I know that I had the potential to do better, but such is life. Tomorrow is what counts and I will give it everything. Our race pace is looking good, but it will be very difficult to overtake here. Reliability will play an important role, because of the unique conditions at this track, but this will be the same for everyone."Carlos Sainz, 6th, 1:16.761
"This was one of the most eventful and stressful qualifying sessions of my career. After the engine starting procedure issue, the red flag and the traffic, in the end, the result wasn’t too bad, but I’ve been fast all weekend and wanted more. With so many things going on I wasn’t able to get into the right rhythm and didn’t get a clean lap until the last attempt in Q3.
"The lap was not even a perfect one, but given how the session unfolded I cannot be too disappointed, although I would have preferred to have the same feeling with the car as in free practice. The race will be challenging as with thin air you have to manage tyres and temperatures, but it will be the same for everybody. The start will be very important. The dirty side is especially tricky here in Mexico but we’ll try our best to maximize our starting position. We’ll go for it and try to score good points!"
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo, 7th, 1:16.763
“It’s a little bittersweet because obviously Carlos [Sainz] is two-milliseconds in front, but to split the Ferraris is not too bad around here. We worked as a team well, with Lando giving me some help. I think the clean side of the grid should be OK tomorrow. I made a little mistake in Turn 13 which I think cost me sixth but the clean side of the grid isn’t a bad offset, so we’ll work with that.
“We did make improvements going into today, yesterday was tricky as we missed a lot of running. We hit the ground running and I think we have to be fairly pleased with P7. We’ll try to get a couple off the start tomorrow.”Lando Norris, 10th, 1:36.830
“A good enough day, I don’t think there was a lot more we could do. We helped Daniel to get into the best position possible, which we achieved. We struggled a little bit with the car in general, but we’re still hopeful for a positive result. I think we can have a good race, but we’ll need to work hard tonight to give ourselves a good plan going into tomorrow”
“It was a decent effort today. We tried to make it to Q3 on the Medium and I had two runs in Q2: my first was not very strong, and I think a tear-off stuck on the rear wing cost us some performance, but the second run was much better. I think we will start from ninth tomorrow, but let’s see how the grid looks when all the penalties are applied.
„That should give us a good platform to have a strong race. We have shown good pace on the long runs this weekend, so I think we can be up there fighting for good points. We also have free choice on tyres [as a result of qualifying 11th], so we will go away and look over the data to work out the best strategy for tomorrow.”Lance Stroll, 20th, 1:20.873
“I am okay. I was a little bit too wide at the final corner, it was a bit dirty out there, and I lost the car at the exit due to a lack of grip. It is a big job for the team and the mechanics [to repair], so it is a shame. I wanted to see what we could do in qualifying and see how the car felt, even though we were set to start at the back of the grid anyway. We will do our best to work our way up the field in the race and gain some places tomorrow.”
AlpineEsteban Ocon, 15th, 1:18.405
“Qualifying today was always going to be a challenge, especially knowing I have a grid penalty for the race with the engine change. We had a plan in place for qualifying, which was to help Fernando as much as possible with a tow to put him into Q3. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. Tomorrow will be a difficult race starting from the back of the grid, but we will fight as hard as we can and try to take advantage of any incidents or safety cars. It can be a tough race here, so I’m confident we can still have a good race. We will do our best as a team to make some progress and we’ll aim to sneak some points.”Fernando Alonso, 16th, 1:18.452
“It’s not a good result for us today and it’s disappointing to see both cars finish outside of the top ten. We made some changes before qualifying but ultimately, I think my laps today could have been better. Before the red flag was waved, I was looking quite strong and I was happy with my lap, so it’s a shame that we got caught out by that.
„Then I couldn’t get a clean lap together in our two attempts on the one set of softs and we dropped out of qualifying. We start 12th tomorrow so it’s a bit better than the result showed after Q1 and I think it’ll be an interesting race. Let’s see what we can do as I believe points are still very possible.”
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen, 12th, 1:17.958
“I think we can be happy with today’s result: it’s my best qualifying of the year, it was very close and it could probably have been a little better or a little worse, a place more or a place less, so overall it’s okay. It’s still only qualifying and we need to do a good job tomorrow as well if we want to bring home some points. We’ll go out and do our best and see where we end up at the flag.”Antonio Giovinazzi, 14th, 1:18.290
“Another battle for the grid in which I feel we were very close to a place in Q3. P11 would have been possible but in the end we didn’t manage it: in my final lap, I locked the rears under braking – up until that moment, the lap wasn’t too bad. We’ll see what we can do from where we start: it will be a long race, especially considering the tyre degradation we are expecting, but if we have a clean race we can have a good shout for the points.”
"The engineers and the mechanics did a great job as they have worked very hard over the last 24 hours changing two gearboxes, and a power unit between FP3 and Qualifying. At one point, it looked unlikely we would make it out for the session and here we are having qualified 13th so a big thank you to them.
"My lap in Q1 was really strong. I couldn’t really improve in Q2 so I was a little bit disappointed, but all things considered it was a good session. It’s going to be a difficult race tomorrow and everyone is going to have to be managing their engines because of the high altitude. Whoever manages this best will come out on top so there are opportunities to be had."Nicholas Latifi, 17th, 1:18.756
"The weekend in general has been tough as it's not the best track for our car. For the grip that I had, it felt like a decent lap, but I just couldn’t get the tyres in the right window so we've got some things to look at. I'm expecting a difficult afternoon tomorrow but, with the number of penalties across the grid, we will gain some positions and start further up. We will focus on our own race and try to keep the cars behind."
HaasMick Schumacher, 18th, 1:18.858
“Overall, not the best of performances from my side but I hope to make it up in the race. I was trying to do my best, but it was a bit of scrappy run and it’s a track that is unforgiving. Hopefully tomorrow the track temperatures aren’t too high, as that will make things a bit more difficult but we’ll just try to do our best job to try and stay in the position we start tomorrow.”Nikita Mazepin, 19th, 1:19.303
“It was an okay qualifying session – I was happy with the gradual improvement I made. We knew we were missing pace compared to the others at the beginning of the weekend. I ran out wide on the last corner of my final lap which cost me a bit of time but apart from that, the lap was fine. I’ve had a very difficult FP1, FP2 and FP3 so I think we’ve recovered quite well to end up with a car that I’m more or less comfortable with – I tried to maximise what I had today.