Mexican Grand Prix: Qualifying Recap

Event:  Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix (Round 19 of 21)

Date:  Saturday, Oct. 27

Location:  Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City

Layout:  4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit

Weather:  Cloudy

Air Temps:  18.5-20.1 degrees Celsius (65.3-68.2 degrees Fahrenheit)

Track Temps:  25.4-30.8 degrees Celsius (77.7-87.4 degrees Fahrenheit)

Pole Winner:  Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull (1:14.759 – new track record)

Result:  Romain Grosjean qualified 16th / Kevin Magnussen qualified 18th  

Note: Grid penalties will have Magnussen start 16th and Grosjean 18th in the Mexican Grand Prix.

●  Lasts 18 minutes, with all 20 drivers participating

●  Fastest 15 drivers advance to Q2

Grosjean:  16th quick (1:16.911)

Magnussen:  18th quick (1:17.599)

Fastest Driver:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (1:15.580)

Cutoff:  15th-quick Charles Leclerc of Sauber (1:16.862)

●  Lasts 15 minutes, featuring the 15 fastest drivers from Q1

●  Fastest 10 drivers advance to Q3

Fastest Driver:  Max Verstappen of Red Bull (1:15.640)

Cutoff:  10th-quick Marcus Ericsson of Sauber (1:16.633)

●  Lasts 12 minutes, featuring the 10 fastest drivers from Q2, all battling for the pole

Pole Winner:  Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull (1:14.759)

Second:  Max Verstappen of Red Bull (1:14.785)

Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified 16th and 18th, respectively, for the Mexican Grand Prix Sunday at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. However, Grosjean will start 18th due to a grid penalty incurred during the preceding United States Grand Prix, and Magnussen will move up to 16th because of Grosjean’s penalty and that of 15th-place qualifier Pierre Gasly, who will start at the rear of the field for a power unit replacement on his Toro Rosso.

Grosjean set the 16th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:16.911 around the 4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit. Magnussen was 18th quickest with a lap of 1:17.599. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2. It marked the first time neither driver had made it out of Q1 since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Both Grosjean and Magnussen ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Pink hypersoft tire in qualifying.

Taking the pole for the Mexican Grand Prix was Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. His fast lap of 1:14.759 set a new track qualifying record at Mexico City and was .026 of a second better than his teammate and runner-up Max Verstappen. It was Ricciardo’s third career Formula One pole, his second this season and his first at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Ricciardo’s pole extended the streak of having a different pole winner at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez since Formula One returned to Mexico City in 2015 after a 22-year hiatus. Nico Rosberg won the pole in 2015, Lewis Hamilton won the pole in 2016 and Sebastian Vettel won the pole in 2017.

Before Grosjean, Magnussen and the rest of their Formula One counterparts participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final practice (FP3) to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track. The session started off wet, with drivers utilizing the Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tire before switching to slicks with approximately 20 minutes remaining.

Grosjean ran an installation lap on intermediates right at the start of FP3, but didn’t go out again until 39 minutes had passed and the track was dry enough for slicks. With hypersofts on his Haas VF-18, Grosjean made 10 laps and set the 13th-fastest time with a 1:18.145 on his eighth tour. Magnussen made only one lap on intermediates, as an intercooler change on his Haas VF-18 sidelined him for the rest of the session.

Quickest in FP3 was Verstappen, whose fast lap of 1:16.284 was .254 of a second better than next-best Hamilton.

“We got better, but not enough. The midfield is just super tight, with two tenths the difference to P10. Three runs in Q1 on the hypersofts – to maximize our chances – just didn’t work. We need to analyze what we can do better and why we’re just not good here. There’s obviously something that happens here at this circuit. We’ve been competitive everywhere this year, but here, every year, it’s complicated. We’re not giving up. It’s a tough race for the engines, brakes, drivers, everything. Hopefully we can get it good tomorrow.”

“Both cars out of qualifying in Q1 is very disappointing. We just couldn’t make the tires work. Every time we went out on a new tire, it was completely different. You try to correct every time you go out, to fine tune the balance, but then you go out and find something completely different. It was just impossible. Other people have made a better job of it today with the tires than we have, so we need to go away and improve on that. Anything can happen on a Sunday – we know that – but, of course, it’s disappointing for today. It doesn’t put you in a great mindset for tomorrow, but we’ll do everything we can to maximize things for the race.”

“It was a tough day. We couldn’t get the tires to work, but everybody else did. Tomorrow there will be different tire strategies, so maybe we can still move forward, but points will be difficult.”