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International media react to Mexico qualifying: Mercedes handed out a slap to Verstappen

The F1 world were slightly shocked to see Valtteri Bottas take pole position for the Mexican GP, leading a surprise Mercedes 1-2 on Saturday.

There was a surprised feeling across the world in the aftermath of qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, as Valtteri Bottas took pole position with a brilliant lap to lead the first Mercedes 1-2 of the season. A controversial incident involving Yuki Tsunoda also sparked reaction, with Christian Horner claiming that Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were "Tsunoda'd" at the end of Q3 . "What a surprise", headlined Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport . "Hamilton will start next to Bottas from the front row, while Verstappen has to chase immediately. "That just goes to show that Mercedes should never be written off. Really no one saw this result coming. Red Bull looked incredibly strong with Verstappen and Perez during the free practice sessions, but in qualifying the 'defeated' Mercedes came back." Italy's Corriere dello Sport were more critical of Red Bull saying that "Mercedes handed a slap to Verstappen." The story continued: "Helmut Marko already talked about a possible 1-2 for Red Bull during qualifying, but in the end Mercedes locked out the first row of the grid. "However, it is not easy to explain why Mercedes managed to steal first and second place. During the practice sessions, prior to qualifying, Mercedes did not leave a strong impression. "Perhaps Verstappen's mistakes also played a role on his fast lap. Now that the Dutchman sees both Hamilton and Bottas ahead of him on the grid on Sunday. "Mercedes also showed in qualifying that they are ahead [on] the Medium tyre. Is that a sign that this championship has only just begun?'" Verstappen was more than half a second quicker than Hamilton in the second practice session and Red Bull underlined their dominance in FP3 when the teams focused on qualifying simulations. "We 100 percent expected two Red Bull cars on the first row of the grid," wrote French newspaper L'Equipe . "Bottas ended up with a sensational time, so the Finn took pole position, his third of the season. We see Verstappen back in third after a tough afternoon for his team. "Teammate Perez even dreamed of a pole position after his strong performance in the third free practice session, but in the end the Austrians were beaten by Mercedes. Verstappen will have to make an excellent start to move forward." Finally in Spain, Marca thought the title race was almost over before qualifying but now Mercedes have hit back to "disrupt a wonderful week for Red Bull." "It all went great for Red Bull this week in Mexico," the Spanish media outlet wrote. "Perez had a nice performance in the city prior to the race weekend, where the fans went completely crazy. "During practice, the Red Bulls were the fastest and nothing seemed to be wrong. In qualifying, Mercedes twisted the script, so Red Bull suddenly has to chase during the race. Nothing is lost for Verstappen, but the scenario has become a lot tougher for him. "The championship already seemed to be decided. But after Saturday it is clear that the battle for the world title is still completely open, most likely until the last race of the season."

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