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F1 Mexico GP: Leclerc heads Sainz in Ferrari 1-2, Norris out in Q1

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz stunned Max Verstappen to lead a Ferrari 1-2 in qualifying for Formula 1’s Mexico Grand Prix, where many drivers including Verstappen face post-session stewards’ investigations.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Verstappen ended up third after the Ferrari pair had nipped ahead on the first Q3 runs, then could not beat them even though neither Leclerc or Sainz improved on their second efforts.

Now qualifying has concluded, Verstappen faces an investigation for a Q1 impeding incident as does George Russell, while Lewis Hamilton is also under investigation for a yellow flag speeding incident.

On the first runs in Q3, the Ferrari cars appeared to respond well to the track temperature dropping a touch and Leclerc edged Sainz by 0.067s with a 1m17.166s lap.

Verstappen slotted in 0.120s behind while Sergio Perez and the Mercedes drivers had to run used softs for the start of the final segment.

Then when the second runs commenced, the Ferrari cars led the pack around but neither driver improved and that opened the door to Verstappen.

He posted personal bests in the first and second sector – the latter Q3’s fastest – but it was not enough and he wound up 0.097s adrift.

Daniel Ricciardo edged Perez to take a sensational fourth for AlphaTauri, with Hamilton unable to recreate his Q2-leading form and so he ended up sixth as the lead Mercedes driver.

Oscar Piastri was seventh while his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris was the highest-profile Q1 faller, with Russell eighth.

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo.

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

In Q2, where Hamilton’s late effort put him top with Verstappen still in the pits and easily through on just one run, Zhou was initially knocked out by Albon’s last-gasp improvement.

But Albon’s time was then deleted for a track limits infraction at Turn 2 on that final effort – Albon appearing to cut the inside of the tight left-hander.

He therefore dropped behind Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso, who had a last lap personal best ahead of the chequered flag falling in the middle segment that nevertheless left him 14th.

Yuki Tsunoda did not set a time as his job was about providing Ricciardo with a tow to ensure his Q3 progression. The Japanese driver faces a drop to the back of the grid for taking a new engine ahead of FP1 here.

Tsunoda did feature in one of the session’s more bizarre incidents, as he appeared to clip a Williams jack leaving the pits ahead of the final Q3 runs – an incident that is also under investigation with the stewards.

In Q1, topped by Verstappen, Alonso spinning at Turn 3 brought out yellow flags as a gaggle of drivers began to start their final laps.

This prevented Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll and Norris from beating their personal bests and trapping them in the drop zone – Norris ending up there after a brief look at trying to set a laptime on mediums.

Piastri, the Mercedes cars and the Ferraris had also done likewise, but the Briton then failed to get higher than 19th with his first efforts on softs.

Logan Sargeant did improve and jumped ahead of Norris, but ended up back in 20th after losing his best time to a track limits infraction at Turn 11, having already lost his previous personal best for going too wide at Turn 12.

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW45

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW45

Sargeant faces two post-session investigations – one for possibly failing to slow down enough under the Alonso yellows late in Q1, as Hamilton is also suspected of doing, and the other for a possible overtaking incident under yellows with Tsunoda at the same point.

Russell, Norris and Zhou face the now traditional post-qualifying investigation for apparently going too slowly on warm-up laps, which has typically not led to sporting penalties since they became a regular feature from the Monza round as part of the FIA’s attempt to improve qualifying traffic.

The pitlane impeding incidents involving Verstappen, Russell and Alonso occurred as the pack headed out ahead of the final Q1 runs, with the first named spotted stationary at the end of the pitlane ahead of Russell who then did the same thing.

F1 Mexico Grand Prix Qualifying Results:

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari

1'17.166

200.793
2 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.067

1'17.233

200.618
3 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.097

1'17.263

200.541
4 Australia D. Ricciardo AlphaTauri 3 AlphaTauri Red Bull

+0.216

1'17.382

200.232
5 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.257

1'17.423

200.126
6 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.288

1'17.454

200.046
7 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes

+0.457

1'17.623

199.610
8 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.508

1'17.674

199.479
9 Finland V. Bottas Alfa Romeo 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+0.866

1'18.032

198.564
10 China Z. Guanyu Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+0.884

1'18.050

198.518
11 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault

+1.355

1'18.521

197.328
12 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari

+1.358

1'18.524

197.320
13 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes

+1.572

1'18.738

196.784
14 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes

+1.981

1'19.147

195.767
15 Japan Y. Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 AlphaTauri Red Bull

 

 
16 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault

+1.914

1'19.080

195.933
17 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari

+1.997

1'19.163

195.727
18 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes

+2.061

1'19.227

195.569
19 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes

+4.388

1'21.554

189.989
20 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes

 

 

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