Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was once again lit up on Saturday afternoon, with shocks galore and a number of outstanding performances.
Prior to the start of proceedings, Jolyon Palmer was already out of contention. He fell victim to a sausage kerb in FP3, and a cracked chassis meant that his car remained in bits throughout the session.
Q1 began with yet another poor performance for Haas’ Grosjean. They’ve had an erratic season with highs and lows, but starting on Sunday in 21st will surely he seen as a low. Haas’ other driver, local boy Esteban Gutierrez, failed to impress the Mexican crowd. He will start in P17. Esteban Ocon was outshone by his German teammate. While Ocon starts in P20, Wehrlein made it through to fight in Q2. Sauber’s Felipe Nasr will start in P19, behind Toro Rosso’s Kvyat. The young Russian had engine issues towards the end of the session and thus was unable to fight to the end.
Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein has had rumours circling after impressing a number of teams for next year. He will surely impress again, with a P16 start for Sunday in place. Sauber’s Ericsson will start in P15, behind Renault’s Magnussen. Jenson Button was once again left disappointed, he put his McLaren in P13, with his teammate Alonso in P11. Sergio Perez will have been expected to make it into Q3 in front of his home fans. However, 12th place is what he has to settle for.
The third session delivered a number of surprises. Going into qualifying, the Ferrari’s would have been forgiven for having a hope of at least one front row finish. Unfortunately, they failed to meet expectations and Vettel will start in 7th, and Raikkonen in 6th. At the bottom end of the 10, Carlos Sainz will start, behind the Williams’ of Bottas and Massa, in 8th and 9th respectively. In the top 5, Hulkenberg gave Force India something to get excited about, he’ll start in P5. Nico Rosberg had struggled in the earlier sessions, finding himself near the bottom end of the top 10 in Q2. However, he came out on top of the Red Bull’s, with Ricciardo in 4th and Verstappen in 3rd. While he beat the Red Bull’s, he couldn’t beat Hamilton, who managed to blitz qualifying and comfortably led proceedings. Remember, ahead of Sunday’s race, Hamilton must finish 9th or higher if Rosberg wins, otherwise the title race is over!