Max Verstappen fell agonisingly short in taking his maiden Formula 1 pole position on Saturday at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with the Dutch driver ending up just 0.086 seconds behind Sebastian Vettel.
The Red Bull Racing driver went into the top ten shoot-out as favourite for pole position having topped Q2, but despite using the tactic of running two laps on both of his Q3 runs, he couldn’t find the time needed to take pole.
Verstappen was investigated by the stewards for a possible block in the stadium section on Valtteri Bottas, but with no penalty forthcoming, he will take up his position on the front row on Sunday, and with Red Bull traditionally faster in racing conditions than in qualifying, hopes are high for a strong Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.
“Another front row qualification so I am pretty satisfied with today’s result,” said Verstappen. “Q2 was really good but somehow we lost a bit in Q3 with the tyres, I couldn’t get them to work and struggled for grip.
“I would say the Q3 lap was better but I just didn’t have the grip from the previous session. The plan was to abort the first lap in both sessions and use that as a build lap.
“At the end of the day we are still second and on the front row so no big issue. It is always nice to get a pole position but winning the race is more important. I am confident in the race pace of the car and that we can achieve a good result but we still have to show this tomorrow.
“Starting on the front row with such a long run into Turn 1 means we can hopefully get away well and ahead. We are usually quicker in the race than Qualifying so I am excited for tomorrow.”