Valtteri Bottas takes surprise Mexico City Grand Prix pole position

Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points heading into the race, the first of five in six weeks to decide the title. Now on the medium tyres, because of teams’ preference to start the race on them over the softs, the Mercedes was suddenly competitive, Hamilton just 0.016secs off Verstappen. Bottas produced a blistering initial lap to be 0.35secs clear of Verstappen, with Hamilton in between them. Verstappen complained of low grip at the rear but was still hopeful of improving enough to fight for pole on his second and final lap, but his chances were over when Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda went off in front of Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez. Verstappen was running behind them and backed off expecting yellow flag that never came, and his chances of a pole that had looked a given for most of the weekend were gone. Bottas said: “It was an awesome lap, especially my lap first lap in Q3. “We have generally been behind by half a second,” Hamilton said. Verstappen said: “We seemed to struggle to get the tyres right.

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