In a dramatic finish, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position in Mexico, while team-mate Nico Rosberg claimed P2.
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a really solid weekend so far. Q3 was actually not great for me. Even though I got pole, it wasn’t a great lap. I had a pretty serious delta throughout the session before that but then lost quite a lot of time on my first Q3 lap and then more again on my second lap. I just didn’t put three sectors together in either of them. If I’d put them all together, I think there was probably another three or four tenths in there. In terms of the race, it’s a long, long run down to turn one so the start will be important. But our long run pace has looked really strong and we’re on the better tyre, so the signs are good. Red Bull might have a slight advantage off the line on the SuperSoft – but it looks like that tyre will grain quite badly. As always, our strategist has done a fantastic job there. Looking after the soft tyre, avoiding lockups and flat spots will give us a challenge. But the car has been great this weekend, so I hope that continues through tomorrow. This is a race I haven’t won yet and I’d love to tick it off the list in front of this amazing crowd, who have been really spectacular all weekend.”
Nico Rosberg: “This weekend it took a bit longer to find my rhythm. At the end of Qualifying I was quite happy with how I felt in the car and managed to pull out a good lap – but Lewis was just a bit quicker. I’m not happy to have missed out on the pole position. But, on the other hand, starting from second place here is not that bad. There are a lot of opportunities, as the straight down to turn one on the first lap is very long. We’ve seen a few times this year that pole is not so important. It will be a challenging race and we need to have an eye on the Red Bull. I think the Mexican fans will have an exciting Sunday. It was so great to see so many of them out there today. They are so full of passion and it feels really great to see that when you’re out there on track.”
Max Verstappen: “I am very pleased with the way qualifying went, we have put ourselves on the second row again which means we are in an ideal position to fight from the start. All weekend we have had a good car. We are still just a little down on top speed which makes it hard to compete with the Mercedes in qualifying, but we are still pretty close so that is a good achievement. My Q2 lap was really good and felt quick but I just couldn’t find the same grip levels in Q3 which meant I was slightly slower. I struggled in sector one which is usually my best sector, that shows how the grip can change in a matter of minutes. It’s still a hard lap out there, everyone is in the same position and has to adapt to the slippery conditions. It’s fun, but a different kind of fun. At some tracks you can have a perfect lap but here it is so hard. It is a long run into Turn 1 and we start on the supersoft compound so our chances of making progress straight away is high. Race pace looked strong which means we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “I think the fight was there but to be honest, my last lap was terrible. I was fighting it already out of Turn 1 and by Turn 6 I was nearly four tenths slower than my previous lap. We managed to recuperate some of that but looking at the gap to pole it was only four tenths so it could have been a lot better but it also could have been a lot worse. It’s just like that with a new surface, it’s still very slippery here and it’s hard to find that happy medium. In that last run in Q3 we definitely lost some performance, particularly in the first half of the lap but we’re still on the second row so that’s okay and I’ll take that. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. I think we can have a good race but to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow after this qualifying is difficult.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “In Q1 the feeling with the car was good, better than in the morning during P3. Then in Q2 it was quite tricky to get the tires work consistently and to know where the grip was. In the last qualifying stint we were getting there again, but in the first run I felt it a bit odd in the last part of the lap and felt I could have gone faster in a few places. On the second try, for whatever reason, I had no speed in the straight, something was not right and we could not even try to go faster. It’s a pity because I think there was easily quite a lot of speed there today, but we couldn’t use it. Now we have to find out what happened. Obviously it’s disappointing where we finished today but tomorrow we’ll see what we can do.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I am very disappointed, because the car is quick. Our Q2 had been a walk in the park with the Soft tires. I had a much better feeling, but then with the Supersofts we were nowhere. Yesterday we were gaining quite a lot on the Supersoft compound and today we didn’t gain anything. We tried a couple of things, but in qualifying you can’t turn the world upside down: so now we need to have a look and see why. Everybody improved on the Supersofts, more or less half a second – everybody except us. The car is quick, there is nothing wrong with it, and we start where the car doesn’t belong. It doesn’t make our race easier to start further back, but I think we still have a chance.”