F1 2016 Mexican Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton battles for pole position
PUBLISHED: 17:24 29 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:05 31 October 2016
Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position in qualifying for the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix this evening.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was quickest in today’s third practice session in Mexico City ahead of Mercedes star Hamilton.
The 31-year-old Silver Arrows driver from Hertfordshire was second fastest in FP3 at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez with a lap of 1m 19.231s.
Daniel Ricciardo was third on the timesheets for Red Bull, with Hamilton’s Mercedes colleague and title rival Nico Rosberg P4 with a time of 1m 19.618s.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams with the Ferrari cars of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen sixth and seventh respectively.
Three-time world F1 champion Hamilton had topped the morning practice session on Friday with Rosberg P7.
Lewis then set the second fastest time of the opening day in the afternoon session, with Rosberg the third fastest.
After Friday’s practice sessions Hamilton said: “It’s great to be back here in Mexico. The support we’ve had here already is amazing – and it’s only Friday!
“There’s so much energy and enthusiasm for the sport here, which is great to see.
“It’s been a solid day in terms of our programme for the weekend. The cars are obviously faster but lap times are pretty strong already.
“The track is feeling better than it did last year and I feel a lot more comfortable in the car than I did the first time we came to this circuit, so hopefully I can carry that through the rest of the weekend.”
On Friday world championship leader Rosberg said: “It was an unusual day out there with the low temperatures and a very green track.
“So, it’s been a bit of a steep learning curve to understand what to do with the tyres – how to get the best out of them for one lap and also for the long runs.”
Rosberg added: “The car was feeling okay on the medium tyre but even there we need to make some progress to understand where we can find some performance.”
Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe said last night: “We ran a problem-free programme, looking at the three different tyre compounds and their performance for qualifying and the race as usual.
“We also did a lot more work than usual with engine and brake settings to tune the car to this high altitude.
“It was quite a complicated day from a data point of view and, comparing ourselves to the opposition, it looks very close between the top three teams as things stand.”