Mexican GP: Verstappen on pole as Bottas crashes hard
Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix as the session was red-flagged after Valtteri Bottas crashed hard.
The Red Bull driver set the fastest time on the first runs in Q3, 0.114s faster than Leclerc.
He then improved to a 1m14.758s on his final attempt to consolidate pole position - although his first lap would have been good enough to secure top spot - completing his lap after Valtteri Bottas had a big crash at the final corner and brought out double waved yellow flags.
Leclerc held onto second place despite not improving, with teammate Sebastian Vettel also relying on his first-run time to take third on the grid after having to back off for yellow flags.
Lewis Hamilton made a slender improvement on his second run to make sure of fourth place, 0.504s off the pace.
Alex Albon, in the second Red Bull, was fifth fastest and 0.580s slower than his teammate.
This put him just 0.002s quicker than Bottas, who was on course to improve on his time when he hit the outside wall in the final left hander on his final attempt.
The rear stepped out on Bottas and sent him into the wall, which he slid along before coming to rest against the leading edge of the Tecpro barrier closer to the exit of the corner.
Although the medical car was deployed due to the size of impact, Bottas reported he was OK.
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10 after the crash
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
McLaren dominated the battle for 'best of the rest', with Carlos Sainz outpacing Lando Norris by three tenths in the battle for seventh.
Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly claimed ninth and 10th for Toro Rosso, separated by just over a tenth-of-a-second.
The Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes drivers will all start the race using medium-compound Pirellis having used that tyre to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top 10 on softs.
Kvyat will be investigated after the session for an unsafe release when the Toro Rosso team sent him out of the garage as Daniel Ricciardo's Renault was driving past in Q1.
Racing Point's Sergio Perez ensured he was the best-placed driver with free tyre choice for the race by grabbing 11th place at the end of Q2, missing out on Q3 by just 0.008s.
That put him two tenths ahead of the lead Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, with Daniel Ricciardo behind in 13th place.
Kimi Raikkonen won the battle of the Alfa Romeo drivers for 14th place, outpacing Antonio Giovinazzi by three tenths.
Lance Stroll was the quickest of those eliminated in Q1 in 16th place after only making a slender improvement on the time set on his first run – complaining over the radio of "no grip".
A slow run through the middle sector cost him and left him 0.271s away from Giovinazzi, the slowest of those to escape Q1.
The Haas drivers both squeezed in three runs during the session, with Kevin Magnussen the faster of the duo in 17th place, 0.163s quicker than Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean's first attempt was ruined by the rear stepping out at the entry to Turn 1, as although he caught the moment it flicked the car into a spin in the other direction as he took to the grass.
Williams driver George Russell was just 0.224s off Grosjean's pace as he took 19th place, again winning the intra-Williams battle with teammate Robert Kubica 1.356s slower.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
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