Max Verstappen takes pole position at the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, only to lose it by penalty for failing to slow under a yellow flag.
The headline should have been that Maz Verstappen takes pole position for the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix. But it isn’t, because a Bottas shunt in Q3, and a yellow flag, undid Verstappen’s work.
Not only did Verstappen have the quickest time in Q3, he also had the second quickest time. But when Bottas shunted himself in to the barrier at the end of Q3, Verstappen didn’t obey the yellow flag and garnered a three-pace grid penalty as a result, demoting him to fourth.
That means it’s a Ferrari front row in Mexico, with Leclerc on pole and Vettel alongside, with Lewis Hamilton starting in third alongside the demoted Verstappen.
Albon starts in fifth in his Red Bull, Bottas in sixth – assuming no penalties for rebuilding his crashed car – the McLarens of Sainz and Norris in sixth and seventh and the Toro Rossos of Kvyat and Gasly in ninth and tenth.
The shame for Verstappen is that if he had lifted for the yellow he would probably have secured pole anyway (although Vettel, who did lift, thinks he would have had it), but it will make for a more interesting race, with the Ferraris at the front and Verstappen keen to get to them by going past Hamilton.
It is possible for Hamilton to win the drivers title in this race, although much will depend on where Bottas finishes.