Verstappen beats Mercedes pair to pole after Russell ruins final lap

2022 Mexican Grand Prix qualifying

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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

144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’19.1697
21Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’19.2220.0534
316Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’19.5050.3366
477Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’19.5230.3546
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’19.5660.3975
663George RussellMercedesW131’19.5830.4147
711Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’19.7060.5376
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’19.8570.6887
922Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’19.9070.7387
1031Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’19.9450.7766
1114Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’20.0060.8376
1210Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’20.2561.0879
133Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’20.2791.1108
1424Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’20.2831.1146
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’20.2931.12411
1647Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’20.4191.25011
175Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’20.4191.25010
1818Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’20.5201.35110
1923Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’20.8591.69010
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’21.1671.99810

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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

144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’18.55213
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’18.5600.00811
363George RussellMercedesW131’18.5650.01312
41Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’18.5660.01410
511Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’18.6150.06312
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’18.7620.21012
731Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’19.0810.52912
816Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’19.1090.55712
94Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’19.1190.56713
1014Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’19.2720.72012
113Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’19.3250.77314
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’19.4760.92412
1322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’19.5891.03713
1410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’19.6721.12015
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’19.8331.28117

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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

11Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’17.77516
263George RussellMercedesW131’18.0790.30418
344Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’18.0840.30919
411Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’18.1280.35318
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’18.3510.57617
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’18.4010.62618
716Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’18.5550.78018
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’18.7210.94619
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’18.9391.16415
1031Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’19.0101.23518

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    37 comments on “Verstappen beats Mercedes pair to pole after Russell ruins final lap”

    1. Coulthard’s question to Lewis about learning from George‘s lap was pretty disrespectful considering the gap was half a tenth. Not sure Lewis went 110% considering his first lap was deleted.

      Max ahead most often then not, so with his straight line speed, no Merc is passing him on the straight. RB own sector 1 and 3, Merc Sector 2.

      1. Half a hundredth. 0.005s. Hamilton had a poor first sector, maybe leaving margin, while George overshot a corner in sector 3. So both probably had some extra time to be gained.

        1. The same could be said for Verstappen.

      2. Not sure Lewis went 110%

        I can say with absolute certainty that he did not go, nor has he ever gone, 110%.

      3. Possibly Coulthard mimicking Ted Kravitz’s behavior.

    2. with three teams in the equation it really was a interesting quali.
      Not sure if pole i a real advantage though.. we will see tomorrow.

      1. Its not, but you cant fake driving 0.3 sec slower. Max is a sitting duck tomorrow

    3. No surprises…Max on front, great drive, Ferrari has definetly checked out…Hope there’s some great fight tomorrow maybe for the podium, Max is heading for the 14th

      1. So far this season no one has been close enough to Verstappen to put him under any real pressure. I’m hoping the Mercedes between them will do so tomorrow. They just need to stick close to him for the first two laps and not squabble with each other for position, oh and save their tires.

        1. So far this season no one has been close enough to Verstappen to put him under any real pressure.

          That’s not true, Leclerc earlier this season had some real fights with Verstappen. Some he won, in some he lost out when in the lead.
          Verstappen in the RBR has been the strongest package. But it hasn’t been just plain sailing.

          1. Indeed, a thing which is easy to forget about this season is that early on verstappen did what he had to to maximise points, I’ve seen him take less risks on lap 1 etc. in the first races, so he didn’t have the car to win some races back then, he settled for 2nd and on top of that had mechanical problems, but then leclerc had some issues too, which evened that out and then ferrari has rarely been the quickest car.

          2. That’s not true, Leclerc earlier this season had some real fights with Verstappen. Some he won, in some he lost out when in the lead.

            Not all somes are equal, though. The only battles with Verstappen that Leclerc won were their scrap in Bahrain and in Austria, when Red Bull messed up their tyre setup. In Saudi Arabia, Imola, Miami, etc. Verstappen easily breezed past the slow top speed Ferrari. But to Leclerc’s credit, he did put up a bit of a fight which is more than can be said for most people when on the receiving end of a DRS fly-by.

          3. Attempts to make MV sounds like he ever struggled for his winnings are entertaining. They are too obvious. Who are you kidding? A car that benefitted from all overspent from last year should just be plain sailing. And it was and still is. Where are the chorus about how boring it is that we see only one winner – 14 times this year? The desperation to present it as though RB and MV don’t dominate confirmed the deep seated worries that prove he wins because it’s just the car, and he dominates thanks to the cheating. That’s what RB wants. They achieved the fastest car and the driver drives and wins from the fastest car. It must have crossed your mind many times that if he is that good, why on earth is he in such a need to cheat, or requires his team to cheat to produce a car to propel him to win? Why can’t he win with a dog of a car since he is so good? Isn’t that what you demanded from other champions? He dominates. No surprise given the car that is produced with much higher spend than others. However, you have convinced yourself he is that good, but don’t patronise others with that shallow conviction.

    4. After not getting a banker lap with his first try, Hamilton would have had to driven a bit within himself to make sure of getting a good time. Given that he had so much resting on that only attempt, he did very well to get 3rd. Russell on the other hand didn’t have that excuse. It would seem the car was capable of better, but Russell wasn’t the driver to get the car’s full potential.

      I’m guessing Hamiton and Russell will have split strategies, with Hamilton’s car set up for the race, and Russell’s for qualifying pace.

      1. I’m still surprised though because he was ahead of verstappen after the 2nd sector, he lost 3 tenths on last sector, is that due to the red bull features or did he make some mistake?

      2. Talking about hamilton ofc.

        1. @esploratore1 I think Ham was faster in 2nd sector compared to Verstappen’s best time of 1.17.9 from his first flying lap of Q3,but Verstappen was faster that that lap by 2 tenths overall in his final lap.So I mean Ham lost 1-2 tenths in the final sector and possibly 1 more in the combined 1-2 sectors most of it in the 1st which wasn’t even his own best.Bear in mind in which Red bull seems to be faster in the 3rd and maybe he also had in mind he has to make sure to finish the lap cleanly since he didn’t have a time from the first lap.

    5. Mercedes for sure developed this stinker alright.
      Make us expect a more competitive season next year.

      1. It seems to be developed in the right direction, but don’t you think the in-season tech changes have more impact actually?! I’d say for sure they have more impact than RBR exceeding the budget cap.

        1. Yes, there’s been some in-season changes that made a massive difference over the years, if you think about 2013 and red bull for example, stuff like that has way more impact than a slight budget cap breach. Mercedes might’ve got a slight advantage from this season’s changes too, and ferrari probably a disadvantage.

      2. There aren’t a lot of twisty tracks, and even less at 2200 meters altitude. Mercedes will need to do a big step to be really competitive; they can’t win championships by doing well at the Hungaroring, Zandvoort, and Mexico City.

        Can they? Yes, they’ve proven that. But it’s still going to be tough having “lost” a year refining a strong concept, which Red Bull now has.

    6. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
      30th October 2022, 4:35

      I’m glad Honda aren’t repeating their mistakes from 2009 in leaving the sport before reaping the rewards of success. I mean, technically it’s RBPT now but Honda haven’t completely walked away.

      I say this because now it’s their engines feeling the equalising effect of Mexico City… it used to be Mercedes all the time.

      That being said, Max probably still has the advantage, and the DRS will probably be super powerful given the high downforce set-ups.

      1. @imabouttogoham DRS effect is generally relatively low in Mexico City’s unique altitudinal conditions that cause minimized drag. However, I agree with you in principle on Honda & Max’s advantage despite the equalizing effect.

      2. Honda made that mistake by leaving the sport at the end of last year and forcing RB into creating RBPT.

    7. I reckon Max will run away into the distance if he keeps the lead into & through the T1-3 combination
      Otherwise, if he gets passed by either Merc, he’d probably repass when DRS becomes available at the latest.
      Positively surprising performance by Bottas.

    8. However Hamilton’s third place time was then deleted as he had cut too much over the inside kerb of turn three.

      He clearly cut that corner, but he never had all four wheels outside the white lines at the same time.
      So I’m not sure he technically left the track.

      1. Only the onboard footage was broadcasted so its hard to judge but I also doubt he had all four wheels outside. Not sure how they judge the corners.

      2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        30th October 2022, 8:48

        Interesting point about all four wheels on such a small tight radius. He may well have had at least one of his wheels on the track at all times, but I suspect if the entirety of the car passes inside the white line they will say he cut the corner. At least I hope they do because to my mind he did cut the corner.

      3. he never had all four wheels outside the white lines at the same time.

        Hard to tell, F1 cars are long, but circuits they race on are also big. The kerbs on the inside of Turn 3 are about 90 meters long from start to finish. If Hamilton cut the corner with his front wheels, which he did, there’s a good chance his rear wheels were also on the kerbs and thus outside the lines.

        Still, it wouldn’t be hugely surprising to see the FIA stewards misinterpret their own rules by only focusing on the front wheels.

    9. Having the torpedo next to you on the grid will certainly make things interesting in the first two corners given how these unfolded the last seasons. A DNF for Max is likely

      1. mtcheewwww…

        You hate your favorite driver being called silly names and here you are doing same… shame!

      2. Davethechicken
        30th October 2022, 10:21

        You’re talking about GR right? I think Max has moved on from his “crashhappen” nickname and I am confident they will avoid each other.

        1. Fair. George seems to be in a period in time that Lewis and Max have had as well and moved on from. Nevertheless at this moment he is a liability

    10. Has there been any speed trap data here I can’t find any?

    11. Verstappen beats Mercedes pair after both make errors in Q3

      I think that should be a more fair headline, less bised, headline. Tell to the editor.

    12. I noticed Max improved his time by nearly 8/10 of a second between Q2 to Q3….so being sceptical..RB sandbagged a little to not show their cars had a advantage by breaching the cost cap……surely not…

      1. They might be doing what Mercedes did in 2014. I noticed this last weekend in USA, when in trying to catch Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez’s pace suddenly increased drastically. I did not watch qualifying, but 8 tenths in a track of 78 seconds is a lot, even with track evolution.

    Comments are closed.