Toto Wolff was delighted to see his drivers lock out the front row for the Mexican Grand Prix after two very different qualifying sessions for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on Saturday.
The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport saw Lewis Hamilton continue his strong weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to take his fifty-ninth career pole position, but it was a very different story for team-mate Rosberg.
Wolff admitted Rosberg had been struggling throughout the weekend with the balance of his car with getting his tyres to work properly, but pulled it out of the bag when it was most crucial.
“We might have both cars on the front row today but that was a really tough qualifying session – and it took some special laps from Lewis and Nico to put us there,” said Wolff.
“Lewis had the performance in the car all day and was able to deliver it when he needed in spite of the threat from Red Bull and Ferrari. This is a tricky circuit for putting together a clean lap but he managed two laps good enough for pole in Q3 and did it by a decent margin.
“As for Nico, he was having a tougher time through practice and the early parts of qualifying, struggling to get the tyres into the right window for his quick lap. He found half a second of performance on his first run in Q3, then another three tenths on the final lap to really pull it out of the bag and put himself P2. It was a great response under some big pressure.”
Wolff is expecting a strategic battle with Red Bull Racing on Sunday, especially as the two teams start the race on different tyre compounds, and he expects their rivals to have a small advantage at the start.
“Looking at tomorrow, we will start on the Soft tyre with two Red Bulls behind us on the SuperSoft,” said Wolff. “Maybe we will have a small disadvantage off the line, so it will be a very interesting run to the first corner and a big strategic battle after that.”