Vettel: 50th pole special against Verstappen pace

Vettel: 50th pole special against Verstappen pace

Formula 1

Vettel: 50th pole special against Verstappen pace

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Sebastian Vettel admits his 50th pole position is “a great achievement” and a special one given the pace shown by Max Verstappen in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen was comfortably quickest in Q2 and enjoyed an advantage of over a quarter of a second after the first runs in Q3, but Vettel denied the 20-year-old his first pole position by 0.086s with a stunning final lap at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Asked how it feels to secure his 50th pole, Vettel replied: “Well, it sounds like a lot  guess it is a lot.

“I don’t know really what to say, it is a big number and I am very very happy with today. Before qualifying, it didn’t look that way. I was surprised myself with just now. Every session we tried to get the best. Qualifying has been tough for us, but really rewarding when it works  just like today.

“Really, really happy with the lap I had today. I think at the moment, right now, it probably means more than the raw number but for sure, overall, it’s a great achievement.”

Vettel admitted he had been a little surprised by Verstappen’s speed.

“Yeah, he was very quick in Q2, I don’t know where he pulled that one from. We had to stretch, all of us. 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 where to understand where exactly it is, [where] you can push, where you can’t and where you have to be careful and there he goes four-tenths quicker than everyone else… it’s a bit, ‘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 Turn 6, 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, it’s like an explosion inside the car. I had one yesterday with the fire extinguisher but today it was a real happy one!”

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