Max Verstappen is looking to get his season back on track. After a great run prior to the summer break, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver has just one podium in the last five races.
On Saturday, it seemed as if he had turned things around. Verstappen initially thought that he earned the pole for Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix. He qualified his No. 33 Honda with a lap of 1:14.758-seconds.
But, hours after the completion of qualifying, the FIA ruled that Verstappen should have slowed down for Valtteri Bottas’ crash in the final corner. They would give him a three spot grid penalty as a result for the failure to yield to a crash.
Verstappen, the two time defending winner in Mexico, would drop from fifth to fourth at the start now.
Qualifying ended early following a big crash by Bottas. He was P6 when he got into the wall which ended the Q3 session early. Due to Verstappen’s penalty and Bottas starting sixth, the Ferrari’s were gifted a front row lockout.
That’s good news for them too because since 1990, every Mexican Grand Prix winner has come from the front row.
Charles Leclerc (1:15.024-seconds) and Sebastian Vettel (1:15.170-seconds) will now share the front row as they’ll start first and second respectively. The Ferrari duo have combined to win every pole since summer break ended.
They have shown the top pace on the weekend too. Leclerc was second, third and first respectively while Vettel being sixth, first and second himself.
Lewis Hamilton will now start third in his No. 44 Mercedes after circling the track with a time of 1:15.262-seconds. Verstappen, moves to fourth after being third, second and sixth in practice this weekend. His teammate Alex Albon rounds out the top five in his No. 23 Honda with a lap of 1:15.336-seconds.
Mexican Grand Prix Starting Lineup
Row 1: Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel
Row 2: Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen
Row 3: Alex Albon R, Valtteri Bottas
Row 4: Carlos Sainz Jr., Lando Norris R
Row 5: Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly
Row 6: Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg
Row 7: Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen
Row 8: Antonio Giovinazzi R, Lance Stroll
Row 9: Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean
Row 10: George Russell R, Robert Kubica