Lewis Hamilton admitted pole position was just out of reach on Saturday, with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer forced to settle for third on the grid for the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Briton, who just needs a fifth place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this weekend to clinch his fourth World Drivers’ Championship, was hoping to make it twelve poles for the season ended up 0.446 seconds behind pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, while Max Verstappen also found himself ahead of Hamilton.
“Pole position was the goal today, but it wasn’t meant to be,” admitted Hamilton. “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.”
Hamilton remains confident in the race pace of his W08, although he acknowledges it will be difficult to overtake so track position will be important, and he will be looking to make gains at the start ahead of a likely one-stop strategy, which is due to the longevity of the Pirelli tyres this weekend.
“Our long run pace is definitely better than our qualifying pace, so I’m not worried about that,” said Hamilton. “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.”