Mexico City GP qualifying: Valtteri Bottas on pole from Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes stun Red Bull and Max Verstappen

Last Updated: 06/11/21 9:47pm

 Valtteri Bottas will start from pole in Mexico

Valtteri Bottas will start from pole in Mexico

Valtteri Bottas took pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton in an unexpected Mexico City GP one-two as Mercedes pulled off one of the turnarounds of the season to shock Max Verstappen and Red Bull in qualifying.

Completely shifting the momentum Red Bull had built through two days of dominating practice, Mercedes bounced back in extraordinary fashion at a track that had seemingly suited their title rivals and topped all three segments in Saturday’s shootout, with Bottas storming clear in Q3.

The Finnish driver, who unlike Hamilton and Verstappen is not in championship contention, posted two laps that would have been good enough for pole and eventually beat Hamilton by a tenth of a second with his 1:15.875.

Title-leader Verstappen will start next to Hamilton on the grid but – contrary to form leading up to qualifying – not ahead of him, the Dutchman only third and 0.350secs off a pole that he was the overwhelming favourite for.

“That’s a very powerful statement from Mercedes,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle. “And an underperformance from Red Bull.”

Verstappen was hampered by a lack of grip, as well as a distraction on his last lap as his team-mate Sergio Perez and the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda ran wide off track ahead of him.

Perez was fourth in the other Red Bull ahead of Pierre Gasly, who was aided by the slipstream provided by Tsunoda.

More to follow.

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