Brendon Hartley felt he had the pace to make it into the top ten in Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday, but the New Zealander was disappointed to only qualify fourteenth after a mistake on his final run cost him crucial time.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver had a good Q1 and rounded out the top ten, but with only one set of Hypersoft Pirelli tyres at his disposal, he was under pressure to deliver a lap quick enough to get into Q3, only to fall short thanks to his mistake entering the stadium section of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“I think today we definitely had the pace to go through to Q3, but I’m disappointed with that last lap,” admitted Hartley. “I had been really happy with the car all weekend and Q1 was great, I was P10 and I think that was representative to where we could have been at the end of Q2.
“We only had one set of new Hypersofts left for Q2, and in the last run we didn’t get the aero balance on the track evolution. I locked the brakes into Turn 12 on my last lap, went off the track and lost enough time to just miss out on Q3 – in Qualifying we are always pushing it to the limit!”
Hartley hopes to turn the disappointment around on Sunday to secure a second consecutive points finish, with his target to have a strong first lap that made it possible to break into the top ten seven days ago at the Circuit of the Americas despite starting on the back row of the grid.
“As for the race, the tyres will be a big topic tomorrow,” said the New Zealander. “I need a good first lap like I had in Austin. We scored points last week from P20, so from P14 tomorrow it must be possible!
“We’ve been strong all weekend, so I hope to bring home some more points.”