Sebastian Vettel felt he tried too hard during his final run in Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix as he bid to deny Aston Martin Red Bull Racing pole position.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver was third fastest after his first run in Q3 but failed to improve on his second run, with Lewis Hamilton managing to capitalise on that to jump ahead of him on the grid, although both championship contenders were not at the same pace as the two Red Bull’s at the front of the pack.
Daniel Ricciardo secured his third career pole position on Saturday with Max Verstappen joining him on the front row, while Vettel admitted he pushed too much to try and bridge that gap to them, only to fall 0.211 seconds shy.
“I was pretty happy with my first run in Q3, but I knew that in order to beat the Red Bulls I would have needed probably a couple of tenths more,” said Vettel.
“So I tried to push harder in my last attempt and it didn’t work, the lap was not so far away from the previous one but not a very clean one, either, and I lost a bit of time in some places.
“This is a track in which aerodynamic efficiency is probably not so important, you try to throw in all the downforce you can, and I could see that we were fast in the first sector but losing out elsewhere.”
Vettel, who knows he has to win on Sunday and hope that Hamilton fails to finish higher than eighth to take the championship battle onwards to the Brazilian Grand Prix, says strategy and tyre management will be key to maximising their result in Mexico.
“Anyway, it will be a long race tomorrow, and again I think strategy and tyre management will be the key to succeed,” concluded the German.