Bottas Secures Pole as Perez’ Costly Mistake Costs Verstappen Dearly at Mexican GP

Published 11/06/2021, 5:30 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 6, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during qualifying REUTERS/Andres Stapff


Valtteri Bottas pulled off a late heist during the Mexican GP qualifying to clinch his 3rd pole position of the season. Meanwhile, his Mercedes F1 teammate, Lewis Hamilton, joined the Finn to secure Mercedes a front-row lockout for Sunday’s main event.

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Subsequently, massive heartbreak for Max Verstappen and pretty much the entire Red Bull garage, as all of their optimism vanished during the most crucial part of the session.

How the F1 session unfolded at Mexican GP

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Q3- Battle for the pole position

10 cars, 5 teams, and one pole position- the battle was on. Tow was undeniably a highly crucial factor, as drivers swarmed around hunting for a car ahead which they could use to gain some slipstream.

Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 6, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Bottas claimed the provisional pole, as Hamilton claimed P2 for the time being. Shockingly, neither of the Red Bull drivers was able to match the pace of the Mercedes. And Verstappen did affirm the rear struggles to his race engineer on the team radio.

Hence, Red Bull decided to send Perez ahead of Verstappen for the final Q3 run, as the latter received massive tow from his Mexican teammate. However, just yards away from the stadium section, both Perez and Tsunoda ahead ran wide, causing a load of confusion for Verstappen.

And this mess-up at the back helped Bottas convert his provisional pole to an official pole.

Q2- AlphaTauri drivers make it into Q3 again

The yellow-marked medium was the tire choice for most of the cars. And Perez was the first driver to post a lap time; 1:17:055. But, Verstappen managed to go almost 0.6s quicker than his teammate, as the latter eventually fell down the order to P5.

Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 6, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Hamilton, though, was much quicker, around 0.016s slower than Verstappen’s lap time. While almost all of the drivers were running on medium tires, Tsunoda sneaked his way to the top 10 on a set of soft tires, causing a bit of a concern for rival mid-field teams.

In the end, both the drivers of AlphaTauri, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Red Bull, made their way into Q3. Meanwhile, Vettel, Raikkonen, Russell, Giovinazzi, and Ocon took the beating, as they failed to join the top runners in the final part of qualifying.

Q1- Aston Martin F1 driver brings out the red flag at Mexican GP quali

Amidst the ‘Checo’ chants in the stands, F1 cars raced their way to the track; Latifi being the first driver of all followed by the Haas duo. Schumacher clocked the first lap time of the afternoon with a 1:21:524. Raikkonen, soon, thrashed the German’s lap time to go P1 with a 1:19:108.

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Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 6, 2021 Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll after crashing out during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

5 minutes into the session, it was time for Perez to set his lap time. However, shockingly, red flags popped out. And Stroll turned out to be the troublemaker. The Canadian had lost his rear around the final corner just as he was set to start his first flying lap and ended up absolutely shunting his Aston Martin.

After over 20 minutes, the session finally restarted. Following an intense battle for a place in Q2, Alonso failed to make the cut along with Latifi, Schumacher, Mazepin, and Stroll.

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Overall, a nail-biting qualifying session comes to an end with both Red Bull and Mercedes battling hard for the pole position. But, it’s Sunday that counts, and we are in for an amazing drag race down to turn 1. So, who is going to come ahead by then?

Watch Story: When F1 Drivers Had a Blast on Top Gear Featuring Hamilton, Vettel & Ricciardo

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Rohit Kumar

1420 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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