MEXICO CITY (AP) — Ferrari's Charles Leclerc will start the Formula One Mexico City Grand Prix from the pole position and next to teammate Carlos Sainz after the Italian team pulled out two surprising laps to knock Red Bull's Max Verstappen off the front row.
Verstappen finished third pending an post-session investigation that could knock him further down the grid if he is found to have improperly delayed other drivers in the pit lane.
Ferrari had struggled for speed in the three practice sessions and figured to be in the middle of the pack until finding the quick laps at the very end.
Verstappen, who has already won the season championship, is chasing his third consecutive win in Mexico City and a record-breaking 16th victory of the season. Verstappen owns the F1 season record of 15 set last season and tied the mark last week with his win at the United States Grand Prix.
Verstappen has already won three times from sixth or lower this season, including last week. Red Bull was warned early in the qualifying session he was under investigation and could be penalized.
His Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez, was fifth as he chases his third win of the season in front of a home crowd that delivers thunderous cheers every time he is on the track.
Red Bull has already won the driver and team championships this season. Perez is currently second and trying to hold off Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton over the final four races of the season. Red Bull has never had its drivers finish 1-2.
Ferrari's last win in Mexico City was in 1990, with Alain Prost.