F1 2021
Round 18

Three Honda-Powered Cars Start In The Top Five In Mexico #F1

mx Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

All four Honda-powered cars once again made it through to the final part of qualifying in Mexico City, and three will start in the top five on Sunday. This is the third consecutive race in which all four of our drivers have been among the ten fastest in qualifying.

Three Honda-Powered Cars Start In The Top Five In Mexico #F1

The first section of qualifying was delayed for over 20 minutes following a crash for Lance Stroll at the final corner, with the driver thankfully OK but barrier repairs required. Once the session resumed, Max comfortably advanced in third place with just one run, ahead of Pierre in fourth, Sergio in fifth and Yuki in seventh.

Q2 saw Max setting the pace on the medium tyre to ensure he would start the race on that compound, with his first lap again enough for him to advance. Sergio similarly made it through with one timed effort on the same compound in seventh, while Pierre’s final lap was a strong one after a tow from Yuki allowed him to secure the fifth fastest time, also on mediums. 

As Yuki already had a grid penalty for a planned power unit change, his approach to Q2 was slightly different to the rest as he advanced on the soft compound tyre with the third fastest time.

The final part of qualifying was a little more tricky for Red Bull Racing as Max and Sergio went out quite late for a final run in Q3. Yuki drove completely off the track at Turn 10 to ensure he did not block either of them, but unfortunately Sergio went off also and then Max backed off seeing the cloud of dust thrown up by his team-mate. The Dutchman still managed to secure third on the grid, Despite that incident, Sergio still starts alongside Max from fourth place, while Pierre put together a very strong final attempt to secure fifth position.

Yuki was classified ninth, meaning he will start from 17th ahead of three other drivers taking power unit penalties.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
In this afternoon’s qualifying for the Mexico City Grand Prix, once again all four Honda-powered cars got into Q3. Both Red Bull Racing cars will start from the second row tomorrow, with Max third and Checo fourth. It was clear in qualifying that our main rivals had made a step forward since FP3 and in addition, for various reasons neither Max nor Checo got a clean final lap in Q3, so overall it was a difficult session for them. For Scuderia AlphaTauri, Pierre, who has shown excellent pace all weekend, drove very well to qualify fifth, the best performance from a driver outside the top two teams. Yuki’s target was to out-qualify the other drivers starting near the back of the grid because of penalties and he achieved this by getting into Q3 to qualify ninth, which is a brilliant effort. He too has good pace so we expect to see him overtaking other cars to move up the order tomorrow afternoon. This circuit is relatively short, which means that the drivers face 71 tough laps tomorrow and we will be doing all we can to get a good result with both teams.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
P3 isn’t so bad considering we were really struggling to get the tyres to work today, we were sliding around a lot. My first lap in Q3 wasn’t great, the grip was terrible so when I saw the gap to Mercedes, I thought that was fair enough. We needed to find a better balance in the car so we tried to make a few changes to how our car was running and then I think the second lap of Q3 was looking okay. I don’t know what happened in front of me but I saw Checo and Yuki both go wide and I saw a lot of dust so I thought that a car had crashed. I’ve been caught out by yellow flags here before so I slowed down, as a result I lost a lot of momentum and time. It’s a shame that we both aren’t locking out the front row tomorrow after being so competitive all weekend. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully the race will be exciting, there’s a long run to the first corner so let’s see what happens.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
The car was not the same as it was in FP3 after we had to change the rear wing, but we did couple of adjustments in the session and once we got on top of it, all of a sudden I found Yuki off his racing line ahead of me at turn 11, which hurt my final lap. He wasn’t a distraction it was that I was too close to him and it forced me to brake. Once I did that I lost my downforce and I think I got a lot of dirty air, lost the car unfortunately and lost my lap. We didn’t have the pace across qualifying, but I think I could have improved a bit going into that final lap, I was up already on my previous lap and think I could have improved by a couple of tenths. We have to analyse as a Team to make sure tomorrow we have a good race car and are able to put pressure on the Mercedes ahead of us. I think the launch we have tomorrow is more important than the grid position, there is a long race ahead and we will try to be there, I am optimistic and I hope all the fans enjoy it. The crowd have been amazing, they are giving me so much love and support. I just look forward to tomorrow now and hope I can celebrate with them on the podium, I will give my maximum.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Today was so good and I’m extremely happy to be P5, what a fantastic Quali. The team have done a great job with the car, it seems to work well on this track, and we’ve felt really strong this weekend. I tried to put everything together in Qualifying and managed to finish three tenths ahead of sixth place. Yuki also did really well and helped in Q3 by giving me a tow. Hopefully we can finish well tomorrow, we’ll continue to focus on ourselves this weekend and try and score as many points as possible here in Mexico.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m happy overall with today’s performance. My main goal for Qualifying was to help my teammate, due to the penalty I’ll have for tomorrow’s race, and I think as a team we did a really good job as we continue our fight for 5th in the Championship. I think we’ve shown that the pace is there this weekend, so I’m aiming to make my way forward tomorrow in the race and looking towards the points.

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