Despite struggling for one-lap pace across the weekend, Charles Leclerc picked up the pace when it really mattered to secure his 22nd F1 pole position at the Mexico City Grand Prix with his team-mate Carlos Sainz completing a Ferrari front row in Mexico. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on the Mexico City GP qualifying.Q3 - Ferrari shocks rivals
The last qualifying segment saw Ferrari pick up the pace as Leclerc set the fastest lap of the weekend on his first hot lap with a time of 1m17.166s which was an improvement of almost eight tenths of a second compared to his previous best lap set in Q2.
The Monegasque was unable to shave off any thousands of a second on his second hot lap, but it was enough to beat his team-mate Carlos Sainz, who managed a 1m17.233s to complete a shock Ferrari first row for tomorrow's Mexico City Grand Prix.
Verstappen dominated the practice sessions, but he was unable to beat the Ferrari and had to settle for third place in the end.
After returning to action in AUstin just a week ago, Daniel Ricciardo has starred in Mexico City and confirmed his pace with a superb fourth in his AlphaTauri with a lap that was just 0.216s off Leclerc’s benchmark.
Home hero Perez qualified fifth on home soil, beating Lewis Hamilton by four hundreths of a second.
McLaren had a difficult day with Lando Norris failing to progress from the opening qualifying segment. His team-mate Oscar Piastri got himself through into Q3, but he took only seventh.
George Russell took third in Q2, but he was unable to excel in the all-important closing stages of qualifyng and finished the session down in P8. In fact, the one-time F1 winner failed to repeat his best time from Q2, falling short of that by a thousand of a second.
Confirming the paces they have shown in practice, the Alfa Romeo pair of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu completed the top-10 order in Mexico City.
Alpine has had a low-key showing in Mexico City so far this weekend, and Pierre Gasly was unable to get himself through into Q3 after the early exit of his team-mate.
Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg qualified 12th ahead of the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso, who has had a rough weekend up until this point.
There was heartbreak for Alex Albon, who had starred in practice and looked like he was into Q3, only to have his time deleted for track limits
Yuki Tsunoda refused to set a lap time in Q2 and provided his team-mate Daniel Riccirado with a two. The Japanese driver failed to clock in a time as he was always going to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid due to exceeding his power unit allowance.
Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda were knocked out in the second qualifying segment.Q1 - Norris knocked out
McLaren’s Lando Norris endured a shock in the opening part of qualifying as he failed to set a competitive lap time on his first run while he made a mistake in the middle part of the track on his second run. He would have had time for a last flying time, but he was forced to abort it when Fernando Alonso spun ahead of him.
Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen came tantalizingly close of reaching Q2, but both missed the crucial thousands of a second to progress into the middle part of qualifying.
Following his problems on Friday, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll suffered his sixth consecutive elimination in the first part of qualifying.
Logan Sargeant had an encouraging final practice earlier on Saturday, but he ended the session without a single lap time as he had both his times deleted for exceeding the track limits.
Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris and Logan Sargeant were eliminated in the first qualifying segment.
|3||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:18.099||1:17.625||1:17.263||15|
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:18.341||1:17.706||1:17.382||15|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:18.553||1:18.124||1:17.423||16|
|7||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:18.241||1:17.874||1:17.623||18|
|9||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:18.429||1:18.016||1:18.032||17|
|10||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:19.016||1:18.440||1:18.050||15|
|11||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:18.945||1:18.521||15|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:18.969||1:18.524||12|
|13||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:18.848||1:18.738||14|
|14||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:18.828||1:19.147||12|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:18.890||11|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:19.080||6|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:19.163||9|
|18||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:19.227||9|
|19||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:21.554||6|
|RT||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||6|