Mexican GP 2021
NOVEMBER 6, 2021
Qualifying Report - First lockout
By Dan Knutson
The Mercedes team got its first front row lockout of the season with Valtteri Bottas taking the pole in Mexico and Lewis Hamilton lining up alongside him.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull Honda – Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez; McLaren Mercedes – Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo; Aston Martin Mercedes – Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel; Alpine Renault – Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon; Ferrari – Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz; AlphaTauri Honda – Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly; Alfa Romeo Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi; Haas Ferrari – Nakita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher; Williams Mercedes – George Russell and Nicolas Latifi.
Fastest in FP3 was hometown hero Perez with a time of 1:17.024.
Tsunoda, Stroll, Norris, Ocon and Russell would all have to take grid penalties for various power unit and gearbox changes.
The ambient temperature at the start of the 18 minute session was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 113 degrees Fahrenheit (46\5 degrees Centigrade).
First out on track was Latifi. Many drivers stayed in the pits, waiting for others to go out and clean the track.
Raikkonen set the early mark with a lap of 1:19.108, but Leclerc beat that at 17.991.
Seven minutes into the session the red flags came out after Stroll crashed coming out of the final turn.
After 26 minutes to clean up the debris and repair the barriers the session was restarted. Tsunoda and Gasly were at the head of the queue at the end of pitlane.
Sainz was slow, radioing that he had no power. But after make some changes the power resumed. Bottas powered to the front with a 1:17.516, but Verstappen beat that a 1:16.788 and Perez slotted into second place at 1:17.451.
When there were five minutes remaining in Q1, Schumacher was 15th and on the cutoff line. Latifi was 14th and Mazepin was 16th.
Bottas improved to second and Hamilton to third, pushing Perez to fourth. Leclerc grabbed first in the final moments only to be beaten by Bottas as the track evolved.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Alonso, Latifi, Schumacher, Mazepin and Stroll.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Bottas, Leclerc, Verstappen, Gasly, Perez, Hamilton, Tsunoda, Vettel, Sainz, Norris, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Giovinazzi, Russell and Ocon.
Perez got things started with a 1:17.055, and Verstappen beat that with 1:16.483. Hamilton moved into second at 1:16.499 and Bottas snatched third.
Tsunoda, on the soft compound tires, jumped to third ahead of Bottas and Leclerc.
Tenth and on the bubble with five minutes to go was Norris, and Gasly was ninth while Raikkonen was 11th.
Hamilton took the lead with a 1:16.474.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Vettel, Raikkonen, Russell, Giovinazzi and Ocon.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Hamilton, Verstappen, Tsunoda, Bottas, Gasly, Leclerc, Perez, Ricciardo, Sainz and Norris.
First out in Q3 was Norris. All of the teammates worked in track position to give a tow on the straight.
Perez took the lead at 1:16.342, but Bottas beat that with a 1:15.875.
So after the first runs the order was Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Perez, Gasly, Leclerc and Ricciardo.
All 10 drivers were on track in the final minute. Ocon went off, and Perez slid off the track but kept going.
Bottas kept the lead and Hamilton stayed in second. Verstappen, Perez, Gasly, Sainz, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Tsunoda and Norris rounded out the top 10.