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today is Dec 06, 2022

Max Verstappen took pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix after beating the Mercedes drivers of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton by three tenths of a second.

Verstappen secured his sixth pole position of the season, improving on his own provisional pole time with his final lap. Russell took second on the grid despite ruining his final lap by running wide at turn 12. Hamilton will start third on the grid ahead of Sergio Perez in fourth.


The promoters of the Mexican Grand Prix could not have asked for more idyllic conditions at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with the grandstands packed and millions of television viewers tuning in for the start of the qualifying. Track temperatures were breaching 50 degrees when the two Haas drivers of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen became the first cars to venture out onto the track in tandem.

Schumacher set the initial benchmark of a 1’21.024, but that was quickly beaten by Alexander Albon’s Williams. Sergio Perez provoked more loud cheers when he became the first of the front-runners to set a time and go quickest, as Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen abandoned his first push lap after the rear of his car stepped out through turn three.

The two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr then moved to the top of the times, before Verstappen’s second attempt at his first timed lap put him quickest by almost three tenths on the soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton went third on his first flying lap, while team mate George Russell moved into fifth place after complaining of understeer in his Mercedes.

As the drivers started to return to the pits after their first runs, Schumacher sat in 16th as the first car in danger of elimination, one tenth ahead of Albon. Sebastian Vettel, Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi all required an improvement if they wanted to reach Q3.

At the chequered flag, only Zhou Guanyu, who had dropped into the danger zone, could deny Schumacher a place in Q2. Fortunately for Alfa Romeo, Zhou did improve by enough to go 14th, which knocked Schumacher back into 16th and sealed his elimination. Joining Schumacher out in Q1 were the two Aston Martins of Vettel and Stroll and the two Williams of Albon and Latifi – the former had his last lap time deleted after running off track at the esses, although it was slower than his previous effort anyway.

Hamilton ended the session on top after performing an extra run at the end while Verstappen remained in his garage. Perez, who complained of problems with his DRS, fell to seventh.

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Q1 result

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The Mexican fans had been so entertained by the first phase of qualifying that the spectators around the circuit broke out into Mexican waves through the grandstands as they eagerly awaited the second session. Drivers did not seem to share the fans’ enthusiasm, as there was no rush to head out onto the green light appeared at the end of the pit lane.

After a couple of minutes, Mercedes broke the silence by sending both Hamilton and Russell out, which triggered a flurry of cars to join them. Hamilton was the first driver to complete his first timed lap and posted a 1’18.552 to set a strong initial benchmark and Russell almost matched his team mate, only 0.013s behind.

Leclerc rounded the final corner to start his first lap to find Magnussen’s Haas ahead of him on the main straight, giving him an excellent slipstream. However, Leclerc would only end up sixth at the end of the lap, with Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon all ahead of the Ferrari but behind the two Mercedes.

With five minutes remaining in the second segment, the drop zone was made up of Yuki Tsunoda, Perez, Zhou, Pierre Gasly and Magnussen. Red Bull sent Perez out early and gave the local favourite the luxury of an entirely clear track in which to try and improve into the top ten on a fresh set of softs. He easily did so, jumping to third place just over half-a-tenth behind Hamilton’s quickest time and knocking Daniel Ricciardo into danger in 11th place.

Sainz was sat nervously in ninth but found plenty of time on new softs tyres to go second, well away from danger. Magnussen could not improve enough and was beaten by Gasly, but both were out. As it transpired, none of the drivers in the bottom five managed to find a way to escape elimination on their final efforts, which left Ricciardo as the first driver out in 11th, just five-hundredths of a second from safety.

As well as the McLaren driver, the four other drivers knocked out were Zhou, the two AlphaTauris of Tsunoda and Gasly and Magnussen’s Haas. At the end of a remarkably close session, the top five including the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers plus Sainz were covered by just 0.063s.

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Q2 result

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Having been fastest in final practice and first and third-fastest in Q2, it seemed Mercedes offered a genuine threat for pole position heading into the crucial final 12 minute session. Perez was given a rapturous reception from the fans when he became the first driver to head out onto the track, with no traffic in front of him to prepare for his first push lap of the final phase.

Perez’s lap was quicker than Leclerc’s behind through the first two sectors and the Red Bull crossed the line to take provisional pole position with a 1’18.153, which was two-tenths faster than the Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc. Verstappen was next over the line and he broke under the 1’18 barrier to take provisional pole from his team mate with a 1’17.947, as the two Mercedes of Russell and Hamilton moved between the Red Bulls.

However Hamilton’s third place time was then deleted as he had cut too much over the inside kerb of turn three. that moved Perez up to third. The cars then returned to the garage with Verstappen in the strongest position ahead of the final runs.

Perez was again the first driver out and despite improving on his first time, it made no difference to his position. The Ferraris could not trouble the front rows on their final laps, while Verstappen improved to beat his own pole time with a 1’17.775.

Only the Mercedes could prevent a Verstappen pole, but Hamilton was unable to do so, putting in a legitimate lap that was still three tenths off Verstappen’s best. Russell was quickest of all through the first sector, but he ran wide and over the outside kerb on the entrance to the stadium at turn 12, ruining his lap, which was subsequently deleted.

Despite Russell’s error, he remained second to secure a front row start alongside the world champion. Hamilton took third, just five-thousandths of a second behind his team mate, with Perez securing fourth on the grid.

Sainz will start fifth, with Bottas’s Alfa Romeo separating him from Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari. Lando Norris secured eighth for McLaren, ahead of the two Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon who completed the top ten.

Q3 result

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