Esteban Ocon says it was always the plan to try and avoid starting the Mexican Grand Prix on the Hypersoft Pirelli rubber, which was why they attempted to get into Q3 using the Ultrasoft compound.
The Racing Point Force India F1 Team driver ultimately missed out on the top ten but will be the first driver with a free choice of starting tyre in eleventh, which he feels will give him more flexibility on strategy on Sunday, even though he felt using the Hypersoft would have seen him inside the top ten.
“P11 is an interesting place to start the race,” said Ocon. “We went into qualifying knowing that we really didn’t want to start the race on the Hypersoft tyres and that’s why we ran on the harder compound [the Ultrasoft] during Q2.
“Being P11 means I can choose my tyres for the start of the race and we have more flexibility with our strategy. So I hope our approach to qualifying will pay us back tomorrow. We could have been higher up the grid if we had used the Hypersofts, but I am happy with the way we approached the session.”
Ocon hopes the decision not to run the Hypersoft will benefit them on Sunday, particularly in the light that the two Renault Sport Formula One Team and two Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team drivers will all be forced to start on those tyres.
“It’s going to be a big fight tomorrow against the Renaults and the Saubers, but they will be starting on Hypersofts and they should run a different strategy compared to us,” said Ocon.
“Let’s see how things play out tomorrow.”