Lewis Hamilton highlights Turn 1 as the key to his chances of winning the Mexican Grand Prix as he is set to start from third on the grid.
The championship leader was unable to improve on his final lap in Q3 and ended up nearly half a second adrift of Sebastian Vettel as the German secured the 50th pole position of his career. With Max Verstappen a close second, Hamilton will start from third place and believes he will need to take advantage of the start if he is to have a good chance of winning on Sunday.
“Firstly, congratulations to Sebastian on the 50th pole. I tried to deny it from him but it wasn’t to be this weekend,” Hamilton said. “I think it was a difficult session in general as it has been a difficult weekend. As Max was saying, it is very slippery here and some of the issues we’ve got with the car are highlighted here. It is a little bit like Singapore.
“The gap is only a couple of tenths, as I was a couple of tenths up on my last lap but didn’t finish it off. Still, that is a significant gap and they just did a better job. The car is working well this weekend and we are still in the fight. I think our long-run pace is looking better than our qualifying pace.
“As I said, our race pace is good so I’m not worried about that but you can’t overtake here – you need a big delta to overtake, something like over a second or 1.3 seconds, so positioning is important. It is a long way down to Turn 1 so we should have some fun tomorrow.”
Hamilton can secure the drivers’ championship with a top-five finish, and reiterated he wants to secure the title with a victory.
“[The championship] is the goal; pole position was the goal today but it wasn’t meant to be. It was so close through practice and I think it was the first time it has been this close between five or six of us, which is exciting and puts us all under pressure. Out of all the qualifying sessions I’ve had this year it wasn’t at the top of those.
“I think overtaking here is difficult so the start is going to be fun and hopefully I’ll be able to move forward as soon as possible. After that it is a one-stop strategy, so it is a case of how you look after your tires. There isn’t much degradation so far so in the race it is going to be very tough, so I hope that means I can keep close even if I’m not where I want to be at Turn 1.
“Winning here would be… seeing the crowd today, it is such a spectacle here with the camera from above, and it looks incredible. There is a lot of energy in the crowd, so to win it on Mexican soil would be pretty neat.”