Verstappen rues "destroyed" Mexico pole attempt after Perez/Tsunoda off

Max Verstappen rued losing his "destroyed" final lap in Mexico Formula 1 qualifying after being forced to back out due to cars in front of him going off.

Verstappen rues "destroyed" Mexico pole attempt after Perez/Tsunoda off

Red Bull went into qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as the favourite for pole after sweeping to a 1-2 finish in final practice, led by Sergio Perez.

But Mercedes upstaged Red Bull by topping all three stages of qualifying, with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton taking first and second after the opening runs in Q3.

Verstappen hoped to make up the 0.350s gap to Bottas by getting a tow off Perez on his final run, only to be forced to back out of his lap through the esses after Perez went off ahead, narrowly avoiding AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda who had ran off-track further up the road.

As both drivers came to rejoin the circuit, Verstappen backed out of his lap before locking up in the final sector. He was heard saying over the radio: "Unbelievable, what a dumb idiot."

"It seems like through qualifying, the balance went away a little bit," Verstappen said after the session.

"But then actually in the last lap, I was on for a good lap, but then I don't know what happened in front of me.

"There were two guys going off so I thought there was going to be a yellow flag, so I back out and then the lap is of course destroyed.

"Even with that, and not having a great balance, I think we could have gone for the pole lap.

"Of course third is not amazing, but I think it's still better than starting second."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The result came as a surprise to Mercedes, who had expected to trail Red Bull thanks to the high downforce requirements of the track in Mexico due to the high altitude conditions.

Red Bull mechanics were seen regularly working on Verstappen's rear wing throughout qualifying, but Verstappen doubted it was "why it was a bit of a struggle for us in qualifying".

The Dutchman enters Sunday's race leading the drivers' championship by 12 points from Hamilton, who will start second on the grid behind Bottas.

"It's just qualifying didn't go our way, but we're not using these tyres anyway tomorrow, so still a lot to fight for," Verstappen said.

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Grand Prix qualifying results: Bottas takes Mexico pole
Previous article

F1 Grand Prix qualifying results: Bottas takes Mexico pole

Next article

Hamilton ‘as shocked as everyone’ by Mercedes’ Mexico F1 front row lockout

Hamilton ‘as shocked as everyone’ by Mercedes’ Mexico F1 front row lockout
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023