Senior Sports activities Journalist
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to start out solely sixth and eighth respectively with inconsistent W14 on the fallacious aspect of small gaps in Mexico; watch Sunday’s race stay on Sky Sports activities F1 at 8pm, construct up from 6:30pm
Final Up to date: 29/10/23 2:39am
Lewis Hamilton has described Mercedes’ automotive as being “a little bit of a nightmare to drive” on the Mexico Metropolis GP with their hopes of repeating their spectacular type from final week within the USA hitherto failing to materialise.
Hamilton and Russell certified sixth and eighth respectively for Sunday’s race amid a highly-competitive and unpredictable Mexico qualifying hour which noticed Ferrari unexpectedly lock out the entrance row.
Hamilton stated his W14 did really feel higher than was the case on Friday, when he described it as being “evening and day” completely different in comparison with the Circuit of the Americas final weekend the place he fought for victory earlier than disqualification on technical grounds, however that its dealing with remained unpredictable.
“I’ve been struggling all weekend with this automotive. The automotive has been a little bit of a nightmare to drive. It simply does not like this observe,” Hamilton informed Sky Sports activities F1.
“We made some good adjustments going into qualifying. I used to be a lot happier with the automotive. I want we had accomplished it within the morning.
“Q1 and Q2 wasn’t wanting too dangerous. Q2, the second lap was nice however the automotive is simply actually peaky – generally it really works, generally it does not and I simply wasn’t in a position to extract far more from it in the long run
“In an ideal world I might have been fifth however that is about it.”
Regardless of the challenges, Hamilton’s ultimate lap of Q3, which noticed him leapfrog Russell to qualify because the lead Mercedes, was truly solely 0.288s away from shock pole-sitter Charles Leclerc within the Ferrari.
On many weekends that sort of deficit would nonetheless comfortably end in a top-four grid inserting, however right here Mercedes had been outqualified by three groups – Ferrari, Pink Bull and, in maybe the most important shock of the session, AlphaTauri because of an excellent efficiency from fourth-quickest Daniel Ricciardo.
Chatting with Sky F1 after Ferrari turned sixth and ninth in Q2 into first and second in Q3, staff principal Toto Wolff stated: “What you see is the margins are so high-quality. The Ferraris got here out of nowhere.
“It is about getting the out-laps proper. Two or three seconds slower or sooner and abruptly you could have an honest lap time.
“It is nearly incalculable. The tyres are so fragile and those that deliver it to the purpose are simply fast.
“The Ferraris jumped massively from Q2 to Q3. Each of them had a improbable sector one as a result of they acquired the out-laps proper.
“We had been possibly a tiny bit too gradual, a little bit bit chilly and that is why the instances did not come collectively. However we’re speaking high-quality margins, it is two tenths.”
Can Mercedes be extra aggressive in Sunday’s race to get again on Ferrari’s tail?
The previous champions are in a decent battle with Ferrari for second place on this yr’s Constructors’ Championship and maintain a 22-point benefit over them heading in to race day in Mexico.
The Scuderia’s front-row lockout actually offers them an enormous probability to eat into that deficit, though Mercedes’ automotive has usually been faster in race trim this season because of superior tyre administration.
“The race tempo was actually sturdy – I feel we had been one of many quickest,” stated Russell reflecting on the W14’s longer-run efficiency on increased gas via the three apply periods which happened forward of qualifying.
“However we had been saying our single lap was one of many quickest as properly after FP3, and it actually was. It simply completely went away from us in qualifying.
“So it may be troublesome. It is a very troublesome observe to overhaul right here. Brakes are going to be overheating, engines are going to be overheating. It may be a protracted afternoon I feel, however we’ll be doing our greatest to attempt to beat these Ferraris.”
Hamilton conceded: “It may be an actual problem with that automotive.
“We’re overheating. Brakes overheating. It may be very exhausting for us to battle, for positive. I do not know what sort of race we’re going to have however it may be on the knife-edge.”
When to look at the Mexico Metropolis GP stay solely on Sky Sports activities F1
6.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Mexico Metropolis GP build-up (additionally on Sky Sports activities Fundamental Occasion)
8pm: The MEXICO CITY GRAND PRIX (additionally on Sky Sports activities Fundamental Occasion)
10pm: Chequered Flag: Mexico Metropolis GP
F1 is in Mexico for the center leg of the Americas triple header. Watch the entire Mexico Metropolis Grand Prix weekend stay on Sky Sports activities F1, with Sunday’s race at 8pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW