F1 – Mexican GP – Qualifying
This weekend is round 19 of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship with the title battle mathematically on, but Sebastian Vettel effectively needs a miracle – or at least a retirement for Lewis Hamilton.
A combination of high altitude, high tyre degradation and low grip caused some very unusual results through practice. Red Bull look dominant, with Renault and Brendon Hartley looking very handy also. Would that practice promise translate into qualifying performance though?
Qualifying session one was a fairly standard session; albeit particularly frantic towards the end. Mercedes topped the session (1st & 2nd) ahead of Red Bull (3rd & 4th), but at the other end, the drivers to be eliminated were Romain Grosjean (16th), Stoffel Vandoorne (17th), Kevin Magnussen (18th), Lance Stroll (19th) and Sergey Sirotkin (20th). There were a huge 0.633 seconds between Magnussen and Vandoorne.
Qualifying session two saw Max Verstappen take P1 to cement the pace they demonstrated through practice. Meanwhile an interesting strategy from Racing Point Force India saw both cars attempt to qualify on the ultra softs; not the quickest tyre this weekend. It’s pretty clear that is a strategic decision to have a free tyre choice tomorrow. Eliminated in the session were; Esteban Ocon (11th), Fernando Alonso (12th), Sergio Perez (13th), Brendon Hartley (14th) and Pierre Gasly, who did not set a lap as he’s carrying grid penalties (15th).
The final part of qualifying saw Max Verstappen topping the timesheets in the early stages by 0.185 seconds from Sebastian Vettel. On the second runs, most drivers didn’t change position. The one key exception to that was Daniel Ricciardo who drove a superb lap to take pole position by 0.026 seconds from his team mate! It’s a Red Bull 1-2 for tomorrow – that’s the first time that’s happened since 2013. A full run down of the Q3 results: Daniel Ricciardo (1st), Max Verstappen (2nd), Lewis Hamilton (3rd), Sebastian Vettel (4th) – how exciting will it be to see that top four get away tomorrow?! Valtteri Bottas (5th), Kimi Raikkonen (6th), Nico Hulkenberg (7th), Carlos Sainz (8th), Charles Leclerc (9th) and Marcus Ericsson (10th).
A superb qualifying session today, and we’ve got all the ingredients for a superb race tomorrow too. What’s your top three prediction for tomorrow? Let me know in the comments below.