Max Verstappen has downplayed setting his pole position time in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix despite facing yellow flags for Valtteri Bottas’ crash at the final corner amid scrutiny in the aftermath of the session.

Verstappen scored his second Formula 1 pole at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in qualifying on Saturday, crossing the line late in Q3 with a time of 1m14.758s.

But the lap was set despite a yellow flag being shown at the final corner following a crash for Mercedes driver Bottas – who was ahead of Verstappen on-track – that prompted Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc to lift off.

Asked after the session if he was aware of the incident, Verstappen said: “I was aware that Valtteri crashed,” but denied he backed off, adding: “Didn’t really look like it, did it? No.”

The Red Bull driver went on to say that he saw no issue with his pace through the yellow flag section.

“I think we know what we are doing. Otherwise we wouldn’t be driving an F1 car,” Verstappen said.

“It’s qualifying, you go for it, but like if they want to delete the lap, then delete the lap.”

The FIA has claimed Verstappen did lift at the corner as per the mini-sectors, meaning he is not currently set to face any investigation for the incident.

Verstappen’s charge to pole came despite his expectation that Ferrari would be the team to beat in qualifying after practice, having edged out both Leclerc and Vettel in the final part of the session.

“It’s been quite an interesting day, but of course to come out on top was incredible,” Verstappen said.

“The last few races, we know that Ferrari has been really quick on the straight, but for us to come back like this and take pole position here, a big thank you to the team for that.

“They always kept pushing very hard. We kept bringing new parts to the car, and showed today that we’re very quick.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli.

 

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