Sebastian Vettel says he “nearly lost the car” as he was forced to push hard to keep Max Verstappen at bay in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver posted a 1:16.488 in Mexico City on Saturday afternoon to secure his 50th career pole position by 0.085s ahead of Verstappen.
However, it could have been a very different story as Vettel had a moment through Turn 6 and came close to losing it.
“He was very quick in Q2, I don’t know where pulled that one from. We had to stretch, all of us,” said the German.
“It is very difficult around here because there’s not much running – the altitude has a different effect on the asphalt in terms of aging.
“It’s very slippy for all of us, easy to make a mistake and very difficult to find that limit and to understand where exactly it is.
“You can push, where you can’t and where you have to be careful and there he goes four-tenths quicker than everyone else… How do I do that?
“But I knew if I got the first sector together then I would have a better chance, and it worked just in the end so I was really happy with my first sector and I was able to build onto that.
“I had a moment at six, nearly lost the car, but managed to go through without any time loss and from there I felt really comfortable to push until the end.
“Obviously when I saw how much I was up crossing the line I knew that it would be close, it should be enough but I didn’t know what the others were doing as I guess the track improved a bit.
“But when I heard it was announced, yeah, I just exploded from inside the car.”