Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Verstappen claims pole as Bottas crashes on last lap

2019 Mexican Grand Prix qualifying

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Max Verstappen claimed pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix after Valtteri Bottas ended qualifying by crashing on his final lap.

The Red Bull driver leads the Ferrari pair on the grid for tomorrow’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.


Red Bull showed strong pace from the off, moving ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari to set the top time in Q1, Max Verstappen leading the way on a 1’15.949.

At the other end of the times there were few surprises. Neither Williams made the cut, though George Russell briefly got ahead of Romain Grosjean until the final runs.

The Haas pair also struggled. Kevin Magnussen found inconsistent performance from his tyres between runs, while Romain Grosjean started the session with a spin at turn one.

Grosjean was extremely unhappy with his car’s balance, and made two major changes to his set-up between his three runs. “It’s fucking understeering like hell in places,” he complained, before dropping out in 18th place.

The final driver to drop out was Lance Stroll, who missed the cut by 0.271 seconds, complaining of a lack of grip.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’18.065
17Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’18.436
18Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’18.599
19George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’18.823
20Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’20.179

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With the soft tyres graining up quickly, few drivers wanted to start the race on them if they could avoid it. The Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari drivers all used a set of mediums to secure their places in Q3, knowing they would start the race on the same tyres.

Vettel led the way from Verstappen, followed by Leclerc and the Mercedes drivers. Lewis Hamilton was behind team mate Valtteri Bottas. “The car just wasn’t great for that tyre,” he said. “I almost feel like a prep lap is needed.”

While Ferrari and Red Bull used their final Q2 runs for sighter laps on soft tyres for the Q3 shoot-out, the Mercedes drivers chose to run on mediums again, and moved up to the top two places.

The Toro Rosso pair and Carlos Sainz Jnr attempted to make it into Q3 on mediums as well. However none were quick enough to make the cut with their first runs, and resorted to softs for their final runs.

None succumbed to the pressure of nailing their lap first time, and all three made it into Q3. Lando Norris joined his team mate, meaning five pairs of cars went into the top 10 shoot-out.

They left behind Sergio Perez, who like his team mate in Q1 was the last driver eliminated, and the Alfa Romeo and Renault pair. “I don’t think we could find that extra time today,” admitted Nico Hulkenberg’s race engineer after he went out in 12th, the quicker of the team’s two drivers.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’16.687
12Nico HulkenbergRenault1’16.885
13Daniel RicciardoRenault1’16.933
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’16.967
15Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’17.269

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The Ferraris retained their usual advantage, storming down the long straights through the first sector of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on their first runs in Q3. Vettel was supreme here, pulling over a quarter of a second over Verstappen on his first effort.

But the Red Bull driver took all that back and more over the rest of the lap. Fastest in the final two sectors, he reversed that deficit to Vettel at the line. Leclerc also had a better run through the rest of the lap than his team mate and joined Verstappen on the front row of the grid.

Vettel had made a mistake on his first run and was hopeful he could make a bid for the front row of the grid. But running second-to-last in the Q3 queue – ahead of Verstappen – left him vulnerable in the event of a problem ahead.

To begin with it looked promising for Vettel. He picked up time at the start of his lap, though Verstappen was also quick. Leclerc went off at turn 11, ruining his chance of improving.

But then Bottas skidded into the barrier at turn 16. He continued along the length of the barrier into the TecPro section at turn 17, which brought his damaged W10 to a sudden stop. He was able to get out, but the red flags flew and with no time to resume the session, Verstappen’s pole position was sealed.

Bottas qualified sixth, though it remains to be seen if the repair work to his car will lead to any penalties which could change his starting position. Hamilton, who could seal the championship on Saturday, qualified fourth, narrowly ahead of Alexander Albon.

The McLaren pair claimed row four ahead of the Toro Rossos.

Top ten in Q3

1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’14.758
2Charles LeclercFerrari1’15.024
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’15.170
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’15.262
5Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’15.336
6Valtteri BottasMercedes1’15.338
7Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’16.014
8Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’16.322
9Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’16.469
10Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’16.586

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2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Verstappen claims pole as Bottas crashes on last lap”

  1. Why Toto did not look worried when he saw the crash of bottas into the cement?

    1. DIDN’T?!

      To me he very much did.

      You didn’t expect him running around in panic, did you?

    2. Because they already have the team trophy and Lewis was always going to be WDC ;)

    3. The radio feed on the TV is quite delayed by 30-45 seconds or so, he confirmed on the radio he was okay so Merc had probably already heard it

  2. I say – certain Max should be penalized… but let’s see what stewards say.

    As for Bottas – I feel for him, and wonder if subconsciously he just tried to push a bit too much in a bid to save his WDC hopes (which, ironically, might now be over… depending on where exactly he has to start tomorrow).

    1. @dallein Agreed. Normally his time will be deleted but I feel that the punishement should be more severe.

    2. It’s difficult to make a case to say that Max shouldn’t be penalized. It’s pretty clear on the replay that the yellow flags are waving (also the car in the wall!) and he doesn’t lift. I would expect a grid penalty.

      Feel for Bottas, the slightest error and into the wall – He has been driving well again recently, a couple of bad races in Europe has cost him badly really

  3. GG Hamilton, I’d be surprised if the axel or gearbox wasn’t damaged.

    6x World champion

  4. I don’t see how Verstappen can get out of this. It seemed clear to me. Even if he didn’t see the yellow flag, even if his steering wheel diddn’t flash a yellow light, how couldn’t you not slow down when you see a crashed car right in front of you? And THERE WERE double yellows, Vettel clearly saw them.
    Sorry, but they need to take away his pole.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      26th October 2019, 20:27

      Hamilton improved his time as well so if Max gets a penalty, so does Lewis.

      1. Even if the whole grid passed with full gas then they must be penalised. We dont want any loss for a damn pole position.

        1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
          26th October 2019, 20:32


      2. Improving isn’t an issue. It’s proving you lifted off at the point of the incident. At least that’s my understanding. If Lewis did what VER did then he has to be penalised too.

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          26th October 2019, 20:35

          Yeah, the data has to show you lifted, but only if they show a yellow flag. I haven’t seen the replay but usually Marshalls are pretty quick and show one or two as soon as Bottas hit the wall.

        2. @deanr If he lifted sufficiently within the specific mini-sector or marshalling sector where the yellows were active then he’s fine.

    2. Agreed. 100% slam dunk penalty should be coming Verstappens way. I’ve not heard it’s even under investigation though, which is crazy!
      Great first lap from VER and he deserved pole but for me, it’s got to be taken away from him.

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      26th October 2019, 20:32

      Just take away his final lap. He did the one before legally.

      1. Drivers have lost grid positions for less severe transgressions. And that would be unfair for Vettel.

      2. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
        26th October 2019, 20:34

        @passingisoverrated That would be inconsistent with previous penalties, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a lap time deleted for reasons other than track limits. And honestly, I feel a harsh penalty is in order when we’re talking about yellow flags.

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          26th October 2019, 20:36

          What are the previous rulings? I can’t remember them to be honest.

          1. @passingisoverrated Nico Hulkenberg in Austria Q1 and Nico Rosberg in Hungary Q3 both in 2016.

    4. It doesn’t matter, his prior lap was good enough for pole too.

      1. lmao on this messageboard. Childish people keep yelling “take away his pole” blablabla

        Verstappens first lap was enough for pole, and if Bottas didn’t crashed into the barriers, Verstappen would have been fastest in his second run aswell.

        Deal with it

        1. Yes, let’s not deal with the reality of the sport.

        2. Oh the IRONY! “childish people…” ?
          And then you launch into ridiculously childish rant. Bravo sir. Bravo.
          Verstappen deserved pole but by the letter of the law (If he didn’t lift) he needs to be punished for a track safety infringement. As a Lewis fan…If he did this as well then he also needs to be punished under the same regulation.
          What, pray tell, is childish about that?

      2. Rule number 1 of racing is you have to slow down when there are yellow flags (the driver and marshall safety is paramount) – It’s the first thing you get told when participating in any Motorsport (at any level).
        Disobeying that rule will always have a strong penalty – simply deleting a lap time is not good enough when the safety of other people at the event is jeopardized

  5. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    26th October 2019, 20:32

    @petebaldwin Sure, so be it, when it’s an issue of safety, all other things should go out the window

    1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
      26th October 2019, 20:32

      That was meant to be a reply to the previous thread

  6. From the reply it seemed to me Max did actually slowed. So maybe let’s not react prematually everyone.

    1. In the replay he is correcting the wheel because he is full throttle and the car oversteers a bit, what replay have you saw really?

      1. The onboard. Let’s not forget it’s the last corner and a short run to the line.

  7. I copy-paste here my posts from the previous article:
    Max didn’t necessarily ignore the yellow-flags at the last corner. This is something that depends on the specific mini-sector time, not the entirety of sector three nor the entire lap – remember the cases of Nico Hulkenberg and Rosberg in Austria-Q1 and Hungary-Q3 respectively both in 2016?

    It’s legitimately possible to set a purple lap time (or sector time) and still lift sufficiently for yellow-flags even on a dry track. It’s perfectly viable that he was significantly enough ahead in delta time after S2 that he, therefore, managed to remain positive in that delta despite slowing down at the last corner, i.e., lost time, but not all of it.

    1. @jerejj I watched the replay and I cannot hear him lift (which doesn’t prove that he didn’t). I don’t understand why he blasted along full throttle.

    2. Yeah he can go purple and have lifted, it’s definitely happened before. It’s more the case from the onboard clip it looks like he hasn’t lifted

  8. Actually Bottas took a lot of risk by driving too fast at moments. Harsh that others are compromised by his crash.

  9. Amazing. Yesterday Verstapen said Quali is impossible against Ferrari.

    Now things will get real, really fast! Bravo RedBull.

    Did anyone see last lap by Vettel, was he on track for Pole?

  10. Well I maybe a minority of one…amongst Ferrari fans on here..but Max should not be penalised….If found guilty by the stewards, its that lap he was on that gets deleted…not the lap he did to get pole….
    Although no investigation as I write, would be surprised if Ferrari do not question it…although without the accident, possibly could have been just one of their cars in the top three…

Comments are closed.