Hamilton has won pole for the Mexican Grand Prix 2016, his tenth of the season. The world champion will start alongside Rosberg who finished second to lock the front row for Mercedes. The second row will comprise of Verstappen and Ricciardo who will be starting on supersofts while the Mercs ahead will be on soft tires.

Mexican GP 2016 Qualifying Results

1. Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Verstappen – Red Bull
4. Ricciardo – Red Bull
5. Hulkenberg – Force India
6. Raikkonen – Ferrari
7. Vettel – Ferrari
8. Bottas – Williams
9. Massa – Williams
10. Sainz – Toro Rosso

The Mexican Grand Prix has had an off and on relationship with the Formula 1 calendar. Appearing first from 1963 to 1970, then again between 1986 and 1992 before returning on the calendar in 2015 after a long hiatus. Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost have the most wins here, each with two victories while Lotus, McLaren and Williams tie at three wins each in the manufacturer category.

So far, the Mexican GP 2016 has seen three different fastest drivers across the three free practice sessions – Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen. Renault’s Joy Palmer did not take part in the qualifying session after his team discovered a crack on his chassis. Rosberg who won pole last year has not shown enough pace, the points fight is still on with his teammate.

Grosjean drove his Haas to start things off in Q1, he was followed by nine other cars all on supersofts besides Magnussen’s Renault which was on medium tires. Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen soon joined the party, Kvyat had already set the pace on 1m21.454s in his Toro Rosso though his teammate Sainz battered that with a 1m21.100s.

After the first proper runs in Q1, the top six comprised of Raikkonen, Vettel, Verstappen, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Perez. The next attempt saw Hamilton top the leaderboard with a 1m19.447s to lead Raikkonen and Ricciardo.

Esteban Gutierrez spun just about the same time when the chequered flag came out. He was joined by Kvyat, Nasr, Ocon, Grosjean and Palmer in the list of eliminated drivers in Q1.

The top ten in Q1 comprised of Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Vettel, Verstappen, Rosberg, Perez, Bottas, Massa and Sainz. Wehrlein also advanced into Q2 for Manor.

Hamilton led the group of Raikkonen, Rosberg, Bottas, Wehrlein, Ricciardo into Q2 with most drivers starting on softs. Of course they were free to change during their second attempts. However, the top ten drivers will start the race on the same compound they used to set their fastest laps in Q2.

The world champion set the initial pace with a slower 1m27.5s that was immediately trimmed by Wehrlein but the Brit then put down a proper lap on 1m19.137s. Vettel went second while Rosberg stayed in third. Verstappen set his time to top the leaderboard with a 1m18.972s, the Red Bull was on supersofts. Ricciardo was also on supersoft, he settled for fourth after his first attempt.

Verstappen and the rest of the top four stayed in the pits after the first runs, the rest were out for the final decisive runs. Raikkonen went back shod in supersofts, Williams and Force India pulled off the same stunt too.

After the final Q2 runs, Alonso, Perez, Button, Magnussen, Ericsson and Wehrlein got eliminated. The top ten comprised of Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Bottas, Massa and Sainz.

Q3 kicked off with the usual fire, all drivers taking to the track and shod on supersofts. Of course lots of cars were backing off on the final sectors as they prepared to set a proper time. Hamilton set the clock going with a 1:18.704 to take the top spot. He was followed by Verstappen, Ricciardo, Rosberg, and Hulkenberg.

Everyone was on new supersofts for the second and final runs in Q3. Hamilton never improved but he stayed on top to take pole for the Mexican GP 2016. Rosberg made an improvement from fourth to second and will thus start from the front row alongside the other Merc. Verstappen and Ricciardo will fill the second row with the two Red Bulls.

(Feature image by James Bearne Photography)

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