Ricciardo Takes Shocking Third Pole of Season in Mexico
MEXICO CITY, Mexico—R.I.S.—Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull Racing teammate Max Verstappen, had dominated the entire weekend leading up to Saturday’s qualifying at the Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit, and the latter had the chance to become the youngest pole sitter in history, but Ricciardo ruined that opportunity with a shocking last lap time of 1:14:759, to lead a Red Bull 1-2 in preparation for Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton improved his chances to clinch his fifth world title by finishing third.
It was the first pole for the Australian since Monaco last May.
“I knew it was there somewhere.” Ricciardo said afterwards. “We hadn’t had the cleanest run through practice and I just knew putting the lap together would be crucial, as always, but I knew the pace was in the car. Obviously, Max showed that all weekend from start to finish. So, it was just putting together a clean lap at the end. I still wasn’t convinced, it wasn’t the cleanest.”
Valtteri Bottas and Verstappen took the first two sessions, and while it was a good start for both, it was not a good one for the American Haas F1 Team, who seemed to struggle with the high altitude and the lack of grip on the track. Kevin Magnussen could only get as high as 18th, while his teammate Romain Grosjean improved a little better and finished in 16th. Both were eliminated in the first session.
Fernando Alonso took 15th in the first session, just barely advancing to the next round. But for the Spaniard, who has only three races remaining before he leaves F1, could not do any better in the next round, just missing out in the final session by taking 12th for Sunday’s race. Both Force India’s did not fare any better, with Esteban Ocon finishing one position up from Alonso in 11th and home hero Sergio Perez taking 13th. Another top name, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, ended up 15th.
Sebastian Vettel finished in fourth, and will start next to series rival Hamilton, while the Briton’s teammate, Bottas was fifth. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, while the next two rows will be Renault and Sauber drivers, with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. in seventh and eighth, and with Charles LeClerc and Marcus Ericsson rounding out the top ten, respectively.
Becoming finally happy following so many retirements lately because of engine issues, Ricciardo followed up in true form of not hiding any emotions, knowing that the race still is tomorrow.
“I’ve got to relax a little, I’m tripping major nut sacks right now." Ricciardo concluded.
MEXICAN GRAND PRIX
At Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico
Final Qualifying Results
1 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing—1:14:759
2 Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
3 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes
4 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
5 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes
6 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
7 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Renault
9 Charles LeClerc (FRA) Sauber
10 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
11 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
12 Fernando Alonso (SPA) McLaren
13 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
14 Brendon Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso
15 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso
16 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
17 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren
18 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
19 Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams
20 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Williams
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.