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26 | 10 | 2019 GP Mexiko / GP Mexico Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will start tomorrow’s Mexican Grand Prix from the front row when it gets underway at 13.10 local time (20.10 CET.) It was not as easy as it sounds however, as the final minutes of Q3 were chaotic. Sebastian Vettel was not able to fight for pole all the way to the end, because of yellow flags waved after Valtteri Bottas crashed. In fact, the German had to abort his lap just when he was improving his time and might have been able to beat the quickest time set by Max Verstappen, or at least beaten his team-mate Leclerc to second spot. However, after qualifying, the Dutch Red Bull driver was given a three place grid penalty for failing to slow for the yellow flags. Therefore, Charles now starts from the number one slot with Sebastian alongside him.

Q1. Both Scuderia Ferrari drivers comfortably got through the first phase. Sebastian’s first attempt was a 1’16”859 followed by a 1’16”696. Charles opened his account with a 1’16”692 improving to a 1’16”364.

Q2. Sebastian and Charles only needed one attempt to make it through to the final 12 minute top ten shoot-out and they used the Medium tyre, thus ensuring they can start the race with this compound. Vettel stopped the clocks in 1’15”914, while Leclerc’s time was a 1’16”219.

Unlucky in Q3. Both drivers had two sets of new medium tyres available for the final part. Neither man got a perfect lap on their first attempt. Vettel crossed the line in 1’15”170 while Charles did a 1’15”024. The two SF90s then pitted to change tyres and set out to attack the time set by the leader at the time, Max Verstappen. Charles made a mistake in the third sector, while Sebastian was up on the clock. But at that point, Valtteri Bottas crashed into the barriers and that brought out the yellow flag. It meant Vettel was really out of luck as he could have challenged for pole position, or at the very least, a place on the front row and indeed in the end, that’s what came his way after the Red Bull driver was penalised.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“I am not entirely happy with today, because I could have had a better result if it had not been for the yellow flags for Bottas’ accident. On the first run I was probably a bit too cautious in sector 2 after a very good first sector, then I lost my rhythm a bit and was too aggressive in the final part of the lap and had a big snap in the last corner. I felt quite confident that I could find more time on my second run, but then the yellow flags came out. That can happen some times.
The key tomorrow will be to have a car that works well, to look after the tyres and to choose the right strategy. The top three teams all start on the same tyre, but it will be a very close race.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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