Verstappen flies into commanding lead over Hamilton

0


 (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton is aiming to cut the gap to Max Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship after Mercedes secured a front-row lockout at the Mexican Grand Prix. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas is on pole ahead of Hamilton starting second, with Max Verstappen third on the grid alongside his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in fourth. Verstappen currently leads the standings, with a 12-point advantage of his rival Hamilton and five races remaining.

Red Bull had dominated every session leading up to qualifying but got their setup wrong when it mattered, struggling on the soft tyres and giving up the front of the grid. But there was enough promising pace in practice to suggest the Red Bulls can strike back during the race. But it is Bottas on pole, for the second time in three races, and he could play a key role in how this race pans out.

“I need to enjoy this pole for a bit but then switch my mind for tomorrow,” Bottas told Sky Sports at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Saturday. “You never know what the race situation will be. I still am 100% sure that there could be a circumstance where I could still win the race and I believe in that and I hope for that. But if not then I will support Lewis and get the maximum points for us as a team.”

Follow all the live race action from the Mexican Grand Prix below.

Read More

Mexican Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas takes pole with as Lewis Hamilton locks out front row

Mexican Grand Prix

  • Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points in drivers’ standings

  • Grid: 1 Bottas, 2 Hamilton, 3 Verstappen, 4 Perez, 5 Gasly

  • Verstappen beats Hamilton to first corner and first place as Bottas spins

  • Tsunoda and Schumacher make early exits

19:42 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 27/71: Red Bull are encouraging Perez to push harder and close the gap further to Hamilton.

“Let’s close it up,” is the message to the Mexican.

19:41 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 26/71: Bottas is pushing hard in his battle with Ricciardo – he tries to brake late going into the chicane but he can’t get any progress.

19:40 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 25/71: “I can’t pull away from him [Perez],” adds Hamilton.

We continue to wait to see which team blinks first and pits – but Red Bull are looking so comfortable out there.

19:38 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 23/71: Wow, get this from Hamilton:

“These guys are obviously too fast for us,” he says of the Red Bulls.

The real battle for Hamilton at the moment is Perez – who continues to match Hamilton and is back inside the two-second gap.

19:35 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 21/71: Verstappen: “The tyres are OK. I just have to be careful around the pit entry.”

It sounds like there are still some traces of debris out there. Verstappen is sounding very relaxed out there.

19:33 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 20/71: Another fastest lap from Verstappen – he’s flying out there and lapped a second faster than Hamilton on that last lap!

1. Verstappen

2. Hamilton +7.0s

3. Perez +9.1s

4. Gasly +18.7s

5. Leclerc +23.2s

19:31 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 18/71: Bottas, meanwhile, is struggling to make any ground on Ricciardo. The McLaren driver has moved up to 11th after a few drivers ahead of him checked into the pits, and Ricciardo is now running behind Norris.

19:29 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 17/71: Perez has lapped roughly half a second faster than Hamilton since lap 13. Mercedes face a huge task here to turn this around.

19:27 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 16/71: Not only is Hamilton falling behind Verstappen, but he’s also getting caught up by Perez.

Perez is lapping quicker than the Mercedes driver at the moment.

And listen to this from Perez: “My tyres are starting to get much better.”

The home favourite is now within two seconds of Hamilton.

19:26 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 15/71: Latest from Hamilton: “The tyres are falling off massively.”

Is that a bluff? It would explain the pace difference.

19:25 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 13/71: Wow – it’s now up to 4.5 seconds between the title rivals. Verstappen is pulling clear.

Furthermore, any help Hamilton was hoping to get from Bottas has now all but gone with his team-mate running in 15th.

19:22 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 11/71: Verstappen makes a further gain over Hamilton – he’s up to around +3.6s now. It’s blistering pace from the Dutchman.

Sainz is lapping faster than Leclerc in the battle for fifth place and wants his team-mate to hurry up.

Norris gets past Mazepin and is now a place behind Russell, which is interesting.

19:20 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 10/71: Another fastest lap from Verstappen. He’s lapping half a second faster than Hamilton at the moment.

Russell loses a couple of places to the experienced pair of Raikkonen and Alonso and falls back to 11th.

19:18 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 9/71: Verstappen sets the fastest lap of the race – he’s three seconds up on Hamilton now. Red Bull are trying to convey a message to Verstappen that he doesn’t need to pushing so hard this early.

19:17 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 7/71: To confirm, Tsunoda and Schumacher are out – meaning that Bottas is running in last place at 18th, one place behind Ricciardo.

Hamilton on the Mercedes team radio: “He’s quick.” Verstappen is widening the gap out in front.

19:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 6/71: Verstappen has flown out of the traps following the restart and has built a two-second lead over Hamilton.

19:12 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 5/71: And we’re off, again! Verstappen makes a good start, flying ahead of Hamilton into turn one.

It’s as we were, apart from Sainz taking Giovinazzi into sixth.

19:11 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 4/71: The safety car is coming in at the end of this lap. What a start for Red Bull – now can Verstappen get clear following the restart?

19:08 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 1/71: What a crazy start! Verstappen benefitted from the slipstream behind the Mercedes and sailed around the outside.

Behind him, Ricciardo locked up going up the inside and touched Bottas, causing him to spin. Perez had to avoid the contact.

It’s a super start for Giovinazzi, though, who is up to sixth. Leclerc has also gained three places and is up to fifth. Russell made a good start too and is up to ninth after starting 16th.

SAFETY CAR

19:05 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 1/71: Crazy! Ricciardo then touches Bottas and he spins off the track! The Finn is down in 18th place!

Tsunoda also got hit and is out! The safety car has been deployed.

LIGHTS OUT

19:03 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 1/71: And we’re off! It’s a good start from Mercedes – but then Verstappen gets around the outside of both Bottas and Hamilton to take the lead!

Mexican Grand Prix

19:01 , Jamie Braidwood

The cars set off for the formation lap and we are now just moments away from lights out at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix. It really is a special atmosphere in Mexico City.

Mexican Grand Prix

18:58 , Jamie Braidwood

Speaking to Sky Sports, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff predicts that Red Bull’s Sergio Perez will go for an aggressive two-stop strategy to trigger them into action.

Bottas starts on pole after Mercedes locked out the front grid, setting up an intriguing battle. All drivers apart from Ocon and Tsunoda are on mediums to start with.

Mexican Grand Prix

18:48 , Jamie Braidwood

You can feel the atmosphere, passion and support for Sergio Perez flowing from the packed grandstands as we pause for the Mexico national anthem.

This is a brilliant occasion at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“It’s pretty cool, huh,” says Lando Norris. “I wish they were cheering my name! You can feel it [while you drive]. It’s special and we’ve missed this.

“It’s something different for me [starting 18th] but hopefully we can enjoy it and get in the points.”

Mexican Grand Prix

18:39 , Jamie Braidwood

It’s heating up in Mexico City as we near the start of the latest instalment in the F1 title race. As always, there’s a packed pit straight as the drivers and teams prepare for lights out.

Here’s a reminder of the starting grid – there’s quite a few drivers who have taken engine penalties.

1. Bottas – Mercedes

2. Hamilton – Mercedes

3. Verstappen – Red Bull

4. Perez – Red Bull

5. Gasly – AlphaTauri

6. Sainz – Ferrari

7. Ricciardo – McLaren

8. Leclerc – Ferrari

9. Vettel – Aston Martin

10. Raikonnen – Alfa Romeo

11. Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo

12. Alonso – Alpine

13. Latifi – Williams

14. Schumacher – Haas

15. Mazepin – Haas

16. Russell – Williams

17. Tsunoda – AlphaTauri

18. Norris – McLaren

19. Ocon – Alpine

20. Stroll – Aston Martin

Mexican Grand Prix

18:30 , Lawrence Ostlere

Sergio Perez: “It was a shame we didn’t get the pole yesterday given how strong we’ve been the whole weekend. But today is what matters and these people are going to give me extra power today. Try to get a good start but if not, if not, it’s a long race and a lot of things can happen.”

Driver standings

18:14 , Lawrence Ostlere

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 287.5

  2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 275.5

  3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 185

  4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 150

  5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 149

  6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 128

  7. Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) 122.5

  8. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 105

  9. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) 74

  10. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) 58

  11. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) 46

  12. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) 36

  13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) 26

  14. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) 20

  15. George Russell (Williams) 16

  16. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) 7

  17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 1

  18. Mick Schumacher (Haas) 0

  19. Nikita Mazepin (Haas) 0

  20. Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) 0

Qualifying report

17:58 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lewis Hamilton will start the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen after Mercedes secured a shock front row with Valtteri Bottas on pole position.

All the signs here at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez pointed towards a Verstappen triumph, but the Silver Arrows stole the show to provide Hamilton with a timely boost in his quest for a record-breaking eighth crown.

Verstappen, who leads Hamilton by 12 points with just five races left, had to settle for only third, one spot behind his championship rival.

The venue here in Mexico City sits 2,285 metres above sea level and Bottas delivered a breath-taking lap with his first run in Q3, finishing 0.145 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Verstappen three tenths adrift.

None of the top three improved on their second attempts with home favourite Sergio Perez appearing to scupper Red Bull team-mate Verstappen’s lap when he fell off the road ahead of him. Perez qualified fourth.

“Valtteri did a great job and I am so proud of him,” said Hamilton as he was jeered by the swathes of Red Bull fans supporting Perez.

“We did not think we had the pace here this weekend so to lock out the front row was pretty special.

“I am just as shocked as anyone. I would love to be in Valtteri’s position but he did a fantastic first run in Q3. I gave it my all but he did a better job.”

Verstappen added: “Qualifying did not go our way but there is still a lot to play for.”

Pierre Gasly finished fifth for AlphaTauri, while Lando Norris took 10th but he will be thrown to the back of the grid after taking on his fourth engine of the season here – one more than is permitted.

Q1 was delayed by 26 minutes after Lance Stroll crashed out.

The Canadian driver lost control of his Aston Martin on the exit of the final right-hand corner before slamming into the nearside barrier.

Stroll was unharmed in the accident, but he sustained significant damage to his car.

Stroll was escorted back to the pits in the medical car, while his wrecked machine was put on a flat-bed truck.

The 23-year-old underwent precautionary checks following the shunt which registered at 12G.

FIA race director Michael Masi then left his office to attend the accident scene, overseeing a series of hasty repairs to the damaged tyre wall.

When Q1 resumed, Fernando Alonso was the major casualty, knocked out in 16th.

But the Spaniard will be bumped up the grid with his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda thrown to the back following engine penalties.

George Russell finished 13th, but he will also serve a grid drop – five places for taking on a new gearbox.

Mexican Grand Prix

17:47 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lewis Hamilton is aiming to cut the gap to Max Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ championship after Mercedes secured a front-row lockout at the Mexican Grand Prix. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas is on pole ahead of Hamilton starting second, with Max Verstappen third on the grid alongside his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in fourth. Verstappen currently leads the standings, with a 12-point advantage of his rival Hamilton and five races remaining.

Red Bull had dominated every session leading up to qualifying but got their setup wrong when it mattered, struggling on the soft tyres and giving up the front of the grid. But there was enough promising pace in practice to suggest the Red Bulls can strike back during the race. But it is Bottas on pole, for the second time in three races, and he could play a key role in how this race pans out.

“I need to enjoy this pole for a bit but then switch my mind for tomorrow,” Bottas told Sky Sports at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Saturday. “You never know what the race situation will be. I still am 100% sure that there could be a circumstance where I could still win the race and I believe in that and I hope for that. But if not then I will support Lewis and get the maximum points for us as a team.”



Source link

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.