Rosberg takes Pole in Mexico with Champion Hamilton second fastest again; Vettel P3 in Quali for Ferrari
If Nico Rosberg could only race as well as he qualifies he might have been the one donning the Championship crown last week in Austin. Instead, to the German’s immense hat-throwing frustration, it was his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who won his second consecutive driver’s title by being the fiercer competitor come race time and shoving past Rosberg for the victory. Rosberg did manage to put a week’s worth of anger and self-pity behind him in Saturday qualifying on the slippery new asphalt surface of the Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez by decisively earning pole at the ultra-fast high altitude circuit, his fourth top spot in a row. Hamilton was once again only good enough for second fastest in quali but the champ will surely be trying to better Rosberg again come race day, as there is nothing that seems to delight the pugnacious British ace more than torturing his teammate and archival.
Sebastian Vettel managed 3rd spot on the grid for Ferrari after his teammate Kimi Raikonnen was forced to retire in Q2 with rear brake issues. Vettel bested the very well-planted Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat (P4) and Daniel Ricciardo (P5). The two Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished 6th and 7th fastest respectively with their decidedly quick chassis really coming into its own as the track rubbered in. After a rare double retirement last weekend in Texas, team Williams really need to get back on form and score good points in tomorrow’s race. Toro Rosso teen sensation Max Verstappen qualified in 8th and the two Force Indias rounded out the Top 10, with native son Sergio Perez pipping his German teammate Nico Hulkenberg for 9th on the grid at his home Grand Prix to the delight of his countrymen in the stands.
Top 10 qualifiers:
|4||26||DANIIL KVYAT||RED BULL RACING||1:20.826||1:20.490||1:20.398||21|
|5||3||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||1:21.166||1:20.783||1:20.399||23|
|8||33||MAX VERSTAPPEN||TORO ROSSO||1:20.995||1:20.894||1:20.710||28|
|9||11||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA||1:20.966||1:20.669||1:20.716||21|
|10||27||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA||1:21.315||1:20.935||1:20.788||20|
Tomorrow’s race, which marks the return of Mexico to the F1 schedule for the first time in 23 years, airs live on NBC proper here in the States beginning at 2:00 PM Eastern time. With the thin atmosphere playing havoc with the cars’ downforce levels and boosting top speeds on the straights to over 220mph, not to mention possible rain in the forecast, it’s surely a race that promises a lot of action, excitement and unpredictability. Hope to see you then!