Valtteri Bottas on Pole in Mexico – Mercedes First Front Row Lockout of the Season

VB and LH post Mexico Quali 2021

Mercedes secured a first front row lockout of the current campaign, with Valtteri Bottas on pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

We were all expecting a front row lockout, but not this one! Mercedes have been floundering way behind Red Bull all weekend, so such a huge turn around will delight Toto Wolff and his team. The perfect way to bounce back from the disappointment of the USGP.

The front row is a Mercedes lockout, with Red Bull locking out the second row with Max Verstappen ahead of home favourite Sergio Perez.

Lance Stroll Walks Away From Crash

Q1 got red flagged with just over ten minutes of the session remaining, Lance Stroll hit the barriers, which needed to be rebuilt. The Canadian hadn’t set a lap time, so will start from the back end of the grid.

His car was in pieces, and the Aston Martin mechanics have a huge job on overnight to make sure the car is ready for tomorrow.

After dominating FP2 and FP3, it looked to be more of the same for Max Verstappen, until Valtteri Bottas jumped him on the buzzer to top the Q1 timesheets; promising signs for the struggling Mercedes cars.

Lewis Hamilton continued to struggle in sector one, but still managed a solid lap to see him finish 6th in Q1. He can take confidence from his teammate’s pace, knowing it’s there in the car.

Fernando Alonso, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin and of course Lance Stroll didn’t make it out of the session.

Medium Middle Session

No-one wants to start the race on the soft tyres, especially the front runners. Therefore, they looked to qualify on medium tyres to give them free choice in Sunday’s race. The first runs in Q2 saw Lewis Hamilton much closer to Max Verstappen, as they occupied P1 and P2. The times being much closer on the medium tyres will be a relief for the Silver Arrows, who look to claw back at Red Bull’s advantage.

On a second run, Lewis Hamilton set a quicker time than Max Verstappen by 0.009 seconds. Plenty of positives for the Mercs ahead of Sunday’s race, considering they’ll all be starting on the medium compound.

Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, George Russell, Anotonio Giovinazzi and Esteban Ocon were the drivers that couldn’t make it out of Q2.

Valtteri Bottas on Pole for Mercedes Front Row Lockout

After the first runs in Q3, it was a front row lockout, but not how you’d expect. Valtteri Bottas became the first driver into the one minute fifteens, with Lewis Hamilton just behind him, then Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez behind them. It appeared that the Red Bull rear wing on Max Verstappen’s car had tape in the corner, which is a worry for Christian Horner’s team. They’ll need that issue dealt with before Sunday’s race.

Max Verstappen didn’t miss out on a tow from Sergio Perez second time round. Perez went wide, but didn’t impact on Verstappen’s lap. He made an error himself later on, subsequently he was unable to improve.

Neither Mercs were able to improve either, but they won’t care! It’s their first front row lockout of the season. They’ve managed it at a track, where they were expected to struggle and they had been behind all weekend.

Top Three Qualifiers React

Max Verstappen reminded fans the weekend was far from over: “Qualifying didn’t go our way but there’s still a lot to fight for [on Sunday].”

Lewis Hamilton was extremely ‘proud’ of his teammate: “Valtteri did an amazing job! He’s been driving so well in the last few races. We didn’t think we had the pace this weekend, so to lock out the front row is pretty special.”

Valtteri Bottas was delighted with his Q3 exploits: “Honestly that first run in Q3 was one of my best laps. It’s a good feeling.”

Final Classification:

Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images