A difficult Saturday for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in Mexico. Lewis Hamilton will start the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix from P4 on the grid. Valtteri Bottas qualified in P6 but crashed at the final corner on his second run in Q3. Both drivers set their fastest times in Q2 on the Medium tyre and will start the race on that compound.
We knew coming to Mexico that this track would be difficult for us. I gave it everything today and I think I managed to extract the maximum from the car, but it simply wasn’t enough for pole. I think third place was maybe possible, but not more. P4 still puts us in a good fighting position for Sunday and I hope I get a good start. This race is always a hard one for us and I don’t anticipate it to be easy tomorrow. Maybe we’ll do the rain dance tonight for a wet track which could spice things up a little bit. But it’s going to be a real hard challenge, the Red Bulls were fastest in the long runs, so it will be very hard to keep up with them. There won’t be a huge amount of strategic variation, but it will be interesting to see whose tyres last long – that’ll be the name of the game. We’ll try to hold on to the top players, the Red Bulls and Ferraris, and I’m looking forward to that fight.
That was obviously not an ideal end to a day that was otherwise going okay. The car felt better today, we made some progress with the set-up. I was happier with the stability of the car today and could push it harder. Qualifying was pretty straightforward, we set the fastest time in Q2 on the Mediums as we planned and the performance on those tyres seemed good. I knew that I had to risk it in the last run of Q3 to gain positions, so I tried to squeeze everything out of the car. The lap was good until the last corner where I went a bit wide on the exit on the dusty part of the track and that’s where I lost it and hit the wall. I’m all okay, but I’ve unfortunately given the boys in the garage some extra work to do tonight. Hopefully we can avoid taking any penalties for tomorrow. It’s annoying because looking at the times, I think I had a chance at qualifying third. But it’s a new day tomorrow and it’ll be a very different story where tyre management will be crucial. Let’s see what tomorrow brings, but we will for sure give it everything.
We always knew that this track would be difficult for us and today confirmed our expectations. We were not in the fight for pole and while we might have improved in the second run of Q3, I don’t think we had a shot at a front row place. Both Lewis and Valtteri were on decent laps at the end of Q3 before Valtteri lost it on the exit of the last corner and crashed. Thankfully he’s ok, but unfortunately his car took a bit of a beating. We’re assessing the damage at the moment and hope that we don’t have to change any parts that would result in a grid penalty. Lewis will start from P4 which is not ideal, but tomorrow will be all about tyre life, so this might create some opportunity for us. We know we are usually stronger on Sunday, so we look forward to the challenge.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1