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
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Plus

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
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

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
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