Cut To The Race Podcast

LIVE: Mexican Grand Prix qualifying

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21:45

Right, that about wraps up our coverage for the evening, and what a qualifying session it was.

Mercedes have taken their first one-two of the year at what was supposedly a Red Bull track following a super effort from Bottas.

Perez will be disappointed to only manage fourth in front of a passionate home crowd, while Gasly will be chuffed with fifth.

Plenty to be excited about tomorrow, especially that everlasting run down to Turn One – who will come out on top?

We hope you’ll join us for our race coverage tomorrow evening, but until then, it’s goodbye.


21:42

And here are the results then:

Remember, Norris, Tsunoda, Ocon and Stroll will start from the back due to engine penalties.

Russell will also be demoted five places due to a gearbox penalty.


21:39

F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart is on hand to present Bottas with the rather delightful-looking Fangio trophy after his brilliant pole lap.


21:36

A cheery Bottas confirms that was “one of his best laps” and that his “car was a joy to drive.”

That’s the Finn’s fourth pole of the year, what a rich vein of form he’s managed to find since it was announced he would be joining Alfa Romeo next year.


21:35

Behind Gasly came Sainz, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Tsunoda and Norris.

Meanwhile, Hamilton tells former teammate Jenson Button “he’s just as surprised as anyone” that Mercedes were able to beat Red Bull.


21:33

Verstappen confirms he was obstructed by Perez and Tsunoda going off, saying he was expecting a “yellow flag”.


21:31

A big statement from Bottas and an even bigger one from Mercedes.

Red Bull were the overwhelming favourites heading into qualifying, but Mercedes have taken their first front-row lockout of the season.


21:28

Chequered flag – and it’s not good enough for Verstappen!

He can’t improve and remains third.

Out front, Bottas takes a brilliant pole, staying ahead of Hamilton.

Perez made a mistake on his flying lap and had to back off, being caught out by Tsunoda going off ahead of him at Turn Seven – the Mexican stays fourth.

Gasly did a fantastic job to be the best of the rest, only 0ne-tenth behind Perez in the much quicker Red Bull.


21:27

Once again the cars are in sequence on their outlaps – coming in a two-by-two order.

Everyone that is other than the Ferraris, who find themselves the bread in a double Red Bull sandwich.


21:24

The cars are back out for the final flying laps! Things are about to get tasty in Mexico City!

Anyone for a Taco?


21:22

Could there be a shock on the cards or can Red Bull bring it back on the final runs?

Behind, Pierre Gasly was an excellent fifth, followed by Leclerc, Ricciardo, Sainz and Tsunoda.

Norris, who will start from the back and sacrificed his lap to help McLaren teammate Ricciardo, is tenth.


21:20

They all come across the line two-by-two.

The McLarens followed by the Red Bulls, then the Ferraris and finally the two Mercedes.

And it’s an early advantage for the Silver Arrows. Bottas, despite not receiving a tow goes quickest, followed by Hamilton.

Verstappen was only third after making a mistake on his attempt 0.350 secs behind Bottas.

Perez could only manage fourth in front of his home crowd.


21:16

F1 cars are like London busses. Wait ages for one, then all ten emerge at once.

Expect to see plenty of slipstreaming in the closing stages of qualifying.


21:15

Green light, but no rush so far from any of the teams to send their cars out.


21:14

It’s the business end of qualifying!

Q3 is underway.


21:11

Elsewhere, Norris managed to just avoid the drop despite not improving on his final run.

It’s a Noah’s Ark top ten for Q3.

Two Red Bulls, Two Mercedes, Two McLarens, Two Ferraris and Two Alpha Tauris. Game on.


21:09

The Chequered flag is out as Q2 ends.

Out are Vettel, Raikkonen, Russell, Giovinazzi (who did actually clip the barriers) and Ocon.

Hamilton managed to go quickest in the end, beating Verstappen by 0.009 secs, the Dutchman opting to back off on his attempt using the soft tyres.


21:07

Spin! Giovinazzi loses control at Turn 12 but manages to keep it out of the barriers.


21:05

The cars are out once again after a brief lull in the action.

Verstappen has put on a set of the red soft tyres, but it’s unlikely he’ll be looking to go any quicker on the new rubber.

Remember, the drivers who advance into Q3 must start the race on the same set of tyres they used to set their quickest time in Q2 – and the consensus this weekend is that the medium is the preferential choice for the race tomorrow.


21:02

Tsunoda, one of only two drivers opting for the soft tyres (the other being Ocon), is up to third.


21:00

In the bottom five currently, it’s the two Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, they’re followed by Esteban Ocon, Russell and Sebastian Vettel who tells his team a visor tear-off has been discarded onto his rear wing.


20:57

After the first runs in Q2, its Verstappen on top with a mighty 1:16:483.

Hamilton and Bottas soon follow across the line, with the Brit following his teammate to benefit from the tow, but heading Bottas on the timing sheets.

But the Merc drivers can’t beat Verstappen, although they are a lot closer – Hamilton just 0.016 seconds off the pace.

Elsewhere, Charles Leclerc goes fourth and Perez fifth.


20:55

Green light, Q2 begins.

All of the big boys are out, and all on the medium tyre.


20:52

Russell has done it again and is into Q2 once again.

But he and teammate Latifi are under investigation for a pit exit infringement.

It looked like the two Williams drivers bullied both of the Haas drivers out of the way after the red flag period concluded.

They join Raikkonen in the stewards’ room later on.


20:49

The chequered flag is out and there’s a flurry of activity.

Russell manages to get himself out of the bottom five, pushing Alonso out.

The Spaniard is also joined by Latifi, Schumacher, Mazepin and of course Stroll.

Elsewhere, Yuki Tsunoda put in a superb effort to go seventh, and his Alpha Tauri teammate Pierre Gasly nestles into fourth.

Bottas and Leclerc also manage to best Verstappen at the end of the session, with the Finn ending Q1 on top.


 

20:46

Perez is now ahead of Hamilton, improving up to third; Sainz also does a solid lap to get himself into fifth.


20:44

At the other end of the leaderboard, it’s Latifi, Schumacher, Mazepin and George Russell joining Stroll in the bottom five.


20:42

Mercedes fancy another go, and it’s an improvement, but they still can’t match Verstappen.

Bottas up to second, Hamilton third.


20:39

But Mercedes’ place at the top is very short-lived.

Sergio Perez went fastest and received an incredible reception, but he was quickly bested by the other Red Bull of Max Verstappen – by over six-tenths!

Norris does a decent lap and is fourth.


20:38

Lewis Hamilton is out on track and despite struggling on his lap, still manages to go quickest, but is then trumped by his teammate Valtteri Bottas by six-hundredths of a second.


20:36

Carlos Sainz – one of the drivers in the queue – is now trundling down the pit straight, complaining of no power.

But Vamos! After a few bits of advice from his engineer, the Spaniard is on his way again.


20:33

The session is underway again as a queue of cars emerge and make their way down the straight.


20:32

Raikkonen has found himself in hot water for disobeying the rules under the red flag.

The Finn will be investigated after the session.


20:29

The session will resume at 14:33 local time (20:33 GMT)


20:25

Still no update on when the session will be restarted, but the teams have been informed they will be given a five-minute warning.

Eagle-eyed Race Director Michael Masi is analysing the marshalls’ repair job.


20:23

A lack of action on track means plenty of opportunities for the TV directors to show some shots of the awesome fans in Mexico – and they’re having a party!

Thousands. are packed into the grandstands at the tracks, some wearing some awesome wrestling attire, others a classic sombrero – plenty of Red Bull merchandise also.

One for the bucket list of all F1 fans.


20:18

It looks like Stroll’s car has been cleared and now repairs to the barriers are taking place.

Speaking of repairs, plenty of work going on in the Red Bull garage, specifically on the rear wings of their cars.


20:13

Stroll appears to be OK; The Canadian driver is now out of the car.

It was a similar crash to the one experienced by Valtteri Bottas two years ago.

Stroll appeared to get onto a very dusty part of the track off the racing line, lost the rear-end and backed into the barrier – damaging the suspension and ending his afternoon early.

The only silver lining for the one-time polesitter? He was going to start from the back of the grid anyway due to an engine penalty.


20:09

Sergio Perez negotiates the famous stadium section at the end of the lap to a deafening reception from the excited crowd as he prepares for his first flying lap.

But the Mexican won’t be able to complete that lap as there’s been a red flag due to Lance Stroll putting his Aston Martin into the barriers at the final corner.


 

20:06

Mick Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Nikita Mazepin join Latifi out on track, but the Williams driver pits before completing his lap.

Instead, it’s the veteran Raikkonen who tops the timing sheets early on.


 

20:03

The Canadian’s teammate, George Russell, has a five-place grid penalty due to a new gearbox.


 

20:00ย 

Green light!

Qualifying gets underway and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi is first out.


 

19:58

Max Verstappen will be looking for his tenth pole of the season tonight.

Someone should probably tell him that no polesitter has finished on the podium at the last three Mexican Grands Prix.

811 metres down to Turn One!

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19:56

Is there a better atmosphere than in Mexico?

Wow, we’ve missed this place!


 

19:54

Plenty of the drivers have been showing their creative sides and opted for some fancy helmet designs as they return to the vibrant Mexico City.

Here’s George Russell’s effort:


 

19:48

Expect to see plenty of drivers attempting to pick up a tow today, and possibly teams trying to orchestrate this with their cars.

The pit straight here is monstrously long, and where Valtteri Bottas set a record for the fastest speed ever achieved by a Formula 1 car back in 2016 while driving for Williams.

Don’t be surprised if the Finn is sacrificed to aid teammate Hamilton as Mercedes look to bridge what looks to be a very large gap to Red Bull.


 

19:43

Some important housekeeping before qualifying gets underway at 20:00 GMT.

Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon become the latest drivers to be demoted to the back of the grid as a result of taking on new power-unit elements for this weekend.

Norris is the final Mercedes-powered driver to take an engine penalty this year.

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19:38

Hola! Welcome to our coverage of what should be a scintillating qualifying session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit located in the bustling Mexico City.

Hometown hero Sergio Perez, whose face seems to be everywhere across the city, sent the crowd into ruptures earlier on by topping the final practice session.

Red Bull certainly look like the favourites to take pole this evening as they dominated third practice, leaving rivals Mercedes with plenty of ground to make up if they are to pull off an upset at a track they have always struggled at.

Lewis Hamilton was third earlier on, 0.651 seconds behind Perez, and even more concerningly for the Mercedes driver, over four-tenths slower than championship rival Max Verstappen, whom he trails by 12 points after the Dutchman’s victory in Austin two weeks ago.

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