Crimson Bull went into qualifying on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez because the favorite for pole after sweeping to a 1-2 end in closing observe, led by Sergio Perez.
However Mercedes upstaged Red Bull by topping all three stages of qualifying, with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton taking first and second after the opening runs in Q3.
Verstappen hoped to make up the 0.350s hole to Bottas by getting a tow off Perez on his closing run, solely to be compelled to again out of his lap by the esses after Perez went off forward, narrowly avoiding AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda who had ran off-track additional up the street.
As each drivers got here to rejoin the circuit, Verstappen backed out of his lap earlier than locking up within the closing sector. He was heard saying over the radio: “Unbelievable, what a dumb fool.”
“It looks like by qualifying, the steadiness went away somewhat bit,” Verstappen stated after the session.
“However then truly within the final lap, I used to be on for a very good lap, however then I do not know what occurred in entrance of me.
“There have been two guys going off so I believed there was going to be a yellow flag, so I again out after which the lap is in fact destroyed.
“Even with that, and never having an important steadiness, I feel we might have gone for the pole lap.
“After all third shouldn’t be wonderful, however I feel it is nonetheless higher than beginning second.”
Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB16B
Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
The outcome got here as a shock to Mercedes, who had anticipated to path Crimson Bull due to the excessive downforce necessities of the observe in Mexico because of the excessive altitude situations.
Crimson Bull mechanics had been seen commonly engaged on Verstappen’s rear wing all through qualifying, however Verstappen doubted it was “why it was a little bit of a battle for us in qualifying”.
The Dutchman enters Sunday’s race main the drivers’ championship by 12 factors from Hamilton, who will begin second on the grid behind Bottas.
“It is simply qualifying did not go our method, however we’re not utilizing these tyres anyway tomorrow, so nonetheless so much to combat for,” Verstappen stated.