Hamilton ‘as shocked as everyone’ by Mercedes’ Mexico F1 front row lockout

Lewis Hamilton felt “as shocked as everyone” by Mercedes’ surge to lock out the front row of the grid in Mexico Formula 1 qualifying on Saturday.

Hamilton ‘as shocked as everyone’ by Mercedes’ Mexico F1 front row lockout

Mercedes entered the race weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez expecting to trail Red Bull for outright pace, with the high downforce requirements of the track playing to the strengths of the RB16B car.

Red Bull took a comfortable 1-2 in final practice, but Mercedes hit back when it mattered in qualifying by topping all three stages, completing a front row sweep in Q3.

Valtteri Bottas scored pole position ahead of team-mate Hamilton, who will start Sunday’s race one place ahead of title rival Max Verstappen.

Hamilton finished over two-tenths of a second clear of Verstappen, while Bottas enjoyed a margin of 0.350s over the lead Red Bull.

Asked what had changed to result in such a big gap to Red Bull, Hamilton replied: “I really have no idea.

“They were like six-tenths ahead at some stage, and then four-tenths ahead.

“But whatever happened, once we got to qualifying, all of a sudden we had better pace.

“I'm just as shocked as everyone. But we'll still take it.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The result serves as a boost for Hamilton’s championship hopes after losing ground to Verstappen at the last race in Austin, slipping to 12 points behind the Red Bull driver.

Hamilton said on Thursday he expected Red Bull to be “rapid” in Mexico, but will now look to capitalise on his qualifying advantage over Verstappen.

Hamilton was full of praise for outgoing Mercedes team-mate Bottas, hailing an “amazing job” by the Finn to take his third pole position of the season.

“I'm so proud of Valtteri, I think he's been driving so well in the last few races,” Hamilton said.

“It's really great for the team. They've been working so hard.

“We didn't think we had the pace this weekend. So to lock out the front row is pretty special, and obviously gives us a good fight with the others tomorrow.”

Hamilton added that while he would “love to be” in Bottas’s position on pole, he acknowledged that his team-mate “did a better job today”.

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen rues "destroyed" Mexico pole attempt after Perez/Tsunoda off
Previous article

Verstappen rues "destroyed" Mexico pole attempt after Perez/Tsunoda off

Next article

Bottas: Mexican GP pole run one of my best laps ever

Bottas: Mexican GP pole run one of my best laps ever
Load comments
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022