2021 Mexican Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas wins pole with Lewis Hamilton completing Mercedes lockout in first place
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It could prove to be a highlight in this season’s title race, where Hamilton leads Verstappen by just 12 points with five races to go.
The Dutchman dominated testing on Friday, with Perez leading in the final qualifying session in front of his home fans on Saturday.
But those performances did not materialize in qualifying, and Red Bull now have issues to work out ahead of Sunday’s race, with the team apparently having issues with the rear wing.
The red flags were waved in the first quarter, after Lance Stroll hit the barriers in a big crash and luckily came out unscathed.
When the action resumed, Fernando Alonso was among the eliminated in the first qualifying session.
Hamilton was the fastest in Q2, only 0:09 ahead of Verstappen, as it started to become evident that the Red Bull cars were in more trouble than expected.
It was Bottas who led the way after the first round in Q3, ahead of his teammate Mercedes.
Sergio Perez missed his final run, before Verstappen managed to find the necessary grip behind him, and neither could improve his opening time.
The race in Mexico City did not take place last year due to the pandemic, but the previous four editions have been split equally between Hamilton and Verstappen.
The Briton came out on top in 2016 and 2019, but in the two years between them it was the Red Bull driver who took the win.
Despite his success, Verstappen still hasn’t won pole. The only time he got pole was in 2019, when he finished the race in sixth position after suffering a puncture.
This season’s Formula 1 title race has been the most exciting in many years, with the rivalry between the two leading drivers intensifying throughout the season and it seems inevitable that it boils down to the final race to Abu Dhabi.
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