Charles Leclerc narrowly beat his teammate Carlos Sainz by a margin of only 0.067 seconds, resulting in a front row lockout for Ferrari in the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.
Max Verstappen made progress on his last lap at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but was unable to surpass the Ferrari drivers. He finished 0.097 seconds behind. The three-time world champion is also facing uncertainty as he awaits a decision from the stewards, who have summoned him for a potential grid penalty. Verstappen, accused of obstructing the pit exit, is one of four drivers who will have to appear before the race officials.
Lewis Hamilton, who was removed from his second-place position behind Verstappen in the United States Grand Prix last week, may also face consequences from the race officials for not reducing his speed during yellow flag conditions. Hamilton ultimately came in sixth place, 0.288 seconds behind. George Russell, who qualified in eighth place, and Fernando Alonso, starting in 13th position, have also been summoned to meet with the stewards for obstructing other drivers on the pit exit during Q1.
In Q3, Verstappen drove over the edge at Turn 8 during his initial try, causing him to fall behind Leclerc by 0.120 seconds. Despite a strong final lap, the Red Bull driver was unable to catch up to Leclerc, who secured his second consecutive pole position after winning 15 out of 18 races this season.
Leclerc admitted that he was surprised to secure pole position, as their car seemed to be lacking speed during practice. However, when they combined all their efforts, they were able to perform well and gained significant advantage with new tires. He is now shifting his focus to the upcoming race, as their team has achieved several pole positions this season but struggled to turn them into wins. Converting this pole position into a victory will be a challenging task.
Over 400,000 people are expected to attend the Mexico City event this weekend, mostly to cheer on Sergio Pérez. However, Pérez did not perform well and ended up finishing three tenths of a second behind Verstappen. He qualified in fifth place, just behind Daniel Ricciardo who had a strong showing in his AlphaTauri car.
Lando Norris, known for his recent success on the track, was unexpectedly eliminated in the first round of qualifying, placing him in 19th position. Despite his recent podium finishes at the last four races, Norris chose to use the slower medium tires in Q1 in order to preserve a set of faster soft tires. However, this strategy did not pay off as Norris’ lap time was not fast enough. He then switched to the soft tires but unfortunately made a mistake at Turn 10.
He canceled his lap and got ready for a final try, but encountered caution flags at the first turn due to Alonso’s spin in his Aston Martin. Norris’ qualifying session was ended, leaving him with a difficult task to salvage any results in tomorrow’s race. American newcomer Logan Sargeant, who earned his first point in F1 at last weekend’s race in Austin, will start from the back of the grid after having two laps invalidated by the stewards for going beyond track limits.