2017 Mexico Grand Prix - Saturday
Silver Arrows to start Mexico Grand Prix from second row
·Lewis ended qualifying in P3 with Valtteri 0.024 seconds shy in P4
·Both drivers completed one run on the Ultasoft compound tyres in Q1, and two runs in both Q2 and Q3
Pole position was the goal today, but it wasn't meant to be. It was a difficult session and I think it was a difficult weekend overall. It is very slippery here; and some of the issues we have with the car are a little bit highlighted by that. I gave it everything I had, but the gap to the front was too big. Our long run pace is definitely better than our qualifying pace, so I'm not worried about that. But you need a big delta to overtake here, so track position is important. It is a long way down to Turn 1, so we should have some fun tomorrow. I'm hoping I'm able to move forward at the start. Afterwards it should be a one-stop strategy. The crowd looks incredible, there's a lot of energy. It's such a spectacle from above; I saw the camera from the helicopter. So winning here on Mexican soil would be pretty neat.
Our qualifying wasn't good enough; we thought we could fight for the pole. We definitely struggled a bit compared to at least one of the Ferraris and one of the Red Bulls, for some reason they found quite a bit of lap time for Q3. The incident with Max ruined my first lap in Q3; I just couldn't get back to the normal line for braking. However, I'm still optimistic for the race. We had good long runs yesterday and we'll have a strong car tomorrow. As a team, we're starting from the second row, and it's such a long run into Turn 1 here. Hopefully we can have a good start and use the slipstream to our advantage. It should be an interesting race.
First of all, congratulations to Sebastian on a very impressive pole position. We have locked out the second row this afternoon and, to be honest, I'm reasonably satisfied with that. We knew that it would be difficult for us here, running at a high downforce circuit, so the result is okay with that in mind; it feels like we have taken a step forward in these conditions compared to recent races. There were big gaps between team-mates today so it is nice to see our drivers so close together, especially as Valtteri only had one opportunity to set a time in Q3. That shows he is bouncing back in the right way from a difficult run of races. Now we have to look forward to a long race tomorrow. Lewis had a promising long run during second practice, so there are still plenty of opportunities open for us to take.
Although we felt that we were in the hunt heading into qualifying, we found ourselves on the back foot in all three sessions with a car that was not quite on the same pace as the Red Bull and Ferrari. Nonetheless, Lewis and Valtteri did a strong job to put both cars on the second row of the grid. It was disappointing for Valtteri that he lost his best lap in Q3 as a result of being blocked but we know from our practice running, and from Lewis in particular, that the long run performance looks very strong. There will be all manner of opportunity tomorrow to make good on the disappointment of today.