By Robert Haile
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez, Mexico is the location of the eighteenth round of the 2021 Formula One season.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen currently leads the drivers championship by twelve points and will be looking to extend his lead with four races left.
In what could be a deciding race Mercedes have struck back with Valtteri Bottas claiming pole position with Lewis Hamilton in second.
Bottas said: “It was an awesome lap. Especially my lap in the first run of Q3. I couldn’t quite match my sectors in the second one, but I think honestly that first run in Q3 was one of my best laps. It’s a good feeling.
“This morning actually the car was really good: we were lacking a bit of pace on lap 1 but I think with higher temperatures this afternoon than in the morning it came our way. We also tried to optimise everything with tyres, temps and setup and it was a joy to drive.
“Looking ahead to the start, it is a long, long straight and for sure, the cars behind with the tow will have good opportunities so we’ll need a good start and at least, as a team, it’s good that we have two cars ahead and hopefully we can try and keep the positions.”
Red Bull after leading the early part of the top ten shoot out with Verstappen and Sergio Perez in first and second ended in third and fourth.
In the first session Lance Stroll’s qualifying for Aston Martin came to an early end as he crashed coming out of the final corner bringing out a red flag.
Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari had a technical problem at the restart before finally getting going.
Joining Stroll at the back of the grid is Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin for Haas, Nicholas Latifi for Williams and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
In the second session George Russell might have finished in thirteenth but Williams had to change his gear box leaving him with a five grid place penalty.
Another driver starting near the back is Alpine’s Esteban Ocon after the team took another power unit and finishing fifteenth doesn’t make his race any easier.
Also going out in the session were Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and both Alfa Romeo drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.
In the top ten shootout Lando Norris for McLaren and Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri were both taking an extra power unit and with that penalty meaning they would be starting further back.
The battle for third between Ferrari and McLaren, Sainz got the better of Daniel Ricciardo for sixth with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in eighth.
Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri continued his fantastic qualifying form taking fifth just behind the team he wants to be back with.
With a long straight to start with there is plenty of opportunity for drivers to improve on their qualifying position.
Q3 – Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Lando Norris (McLaren)
Q2 – Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), George Russell (Williams), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
Q1 – Fernando Aonso (Alpine), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Mick Schumacher (Haas), Nikita Mazepin (Haas), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)