Dream Mexican debut for the Silver Arrows with a front row lockout! Nico Rosberg claimed his 5th pole of the season today – his fourth in a row and 20th in F1 to date. Lewis Hamilton completed a 13th front row lockout of the season for the Silver Arrows in P2. The drivers were separated by just 0.014s in P3 and 0.188s in Q3. Lewis completed one run in Q1 (prime), two in Q2 (option/option) and two again in Q3 (option/option). Nico ran twice in Q1 (prime/option), once in Q2 (option) and twice in Q3 (option/option).
Nico Rosberg: I’m quite pleased with the first half of the weekend. I have to thank my engineers because we nailed the setup and I felt great in the car. I did a pretty cool lap in Q3, which I wasn’t able to improve on the second run. But tomorrow is the day and it will be a great battle for the win between the top five – especially as we didn’t have much time to practice long runs. Sebastian and the two Red Bulls look strong but I’m very confident that our car is the best prepared for the circumstances. At this point I want to thank the organizers for putting such a great event together. The stadiums are really phenomenal. I had some time to enjoy it on my in lap after Q3 and it was absolutely unbelievable. I very much look forward to race day.
Lewis Hamilton: It was great out there today. I really enjoyed driving and we have an amazing crowd here too. They’re constantly cheering, which is great to see. The track got grippier so it was more fun to drive and it was quite a relaxing qualifying session in general, with no real stress. At some races pole really makes a difference. But at this one it I don’t really mind being second because it’s an long long way down to Turn 1 and I plan on getting a good start tomorrow. The track is evolving and improving bit by bit. I don’t know if it’s going to rain tonight but, if it does, it will clean the track and then we will be learning again tomorrow so that will be a real challenge. We don’t know what kind of strategy it’s going to be or how long the tyres will last – we’ll find out tomorrow! I’m looking forward to a good battle as it was very close today.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: Wow, you couldn’t write a better script for tomorrow’s race. Nico put all the emotions from Austin to good use this afternoon – he’s been strong all weekend, competitive from the first run and used it to take his fourth pole position in a row. He did a perfect job. It was a tight battle with Lewis, who looked very quick through the session, and P2 is a good starting slot for him with the long run to the first corner. We know he will be determined to continue his winning streak. This has proven to be a tricky, slippery circuit to master and we’re in for an exciting race tomorrow, especially if the predictions of light rain come true. It will certainly be fun watching the boys on the run to the first corner… and how they make their way through it. Although there are lots of unknowns heading into the race, we can be certain of a mega atmosphere with over 100,000 fans in the stands. This weekend feels like a homecoming to a place the sport should never have left.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): That was a fantastic battle between Nico and Lewis, plus with a very strong challenge coming from Sebastian in the Ferrari. It’s great to get the front row here in Mexico to set up a very exciting race. With tyre warm-up a real challenge at this circuit, the key to success was finding the run profile that gave you the optimum lap time from the option tyre. What’s more, the circuit temperature was falling through the session, and we saw the grip levels shift during Q3, with nobody improving on their second run. The trick on our car was to run two consecutive hard laps, with the faster time actually coming on the second of the two. That formula worked for both drivers, with Nico coming out just on top. Thank you, as well, to the fantastic crowd. It was great to see some genuine Mexican waves out there in the stands – although, presumably, they’re simply termed ‘waves’ over here!
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1