Hamilton: ‘We thought there was no way we’d get pole’

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton admitted he was surprised Mercedes beat Red Bull to lock out the front row of the grid for the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Having languished six tenths of a second off the pace of the Red Bulls in final practice, Mercedes beat both of their rivals in qualifying. Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position, three tenths of a second faster than Max Verstappen, with Lewis Hamilton in between them.

Hamilton said he had “no idea” how Mercedes had turned the tables on their rivals. “They were six tenths ahead at some stage and then four tenths ahead,” explained Hamilton.

“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.”

Despite making several changes to his car over the weekend, Hamilton said he wasn’t happy with its handling in qualifying. “No matter what we did to try and improve the car, we couldn’t really close that gap much,” he told Sky.

“So it was a real shock. I’m grateful, though, of course. I was quite happy with the car in P3 and we just made some small tweaks, and then in qualifying it was was really not nice to drive.

“That’s frustrating because you work so hard, I was with the engineers […] I maybe need to spend less time in engineering because it seemed to make it worse.

“But then I just struggled out there. All of a sudden, the car, I had a lot of lock-ups, so I had to make a lot of changes on my steering wheel, which I haven’t had to do all weekend. So a weird one, but hopefully tomorrow will be better.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Hamilton: ‘We thought there was no way we’d get pole’”

  1. For Bottas it’s pretty clear why he’s faster: new engine at full whack. I guess the temperature did change in their favour and affected Redbull at little negatively. But no great laps by Max and Perez in Q3. I wonder if they can find a way past. Even when they are faster in the race… How can you get past if the top speed is about 8 or 9km/h lower and your advantage is where it’s pretty impossible to overtake. This race has flipped towards Mercedes I think.

    1. I guess that cracked (and replaced) rearwing did hurt Red Bull a bit too @w0o0dy to add to what you already mention.

      I think it might be hard to pass – since the Mercs are somewhat quicker, so I agree that the advantage is probably with Merceds, although incidents and strategy might just throw in a spanner.

  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    6th November 2021, 23:23

    Hilarious how people are getting paid tons for commentating, yet every single time Mercedes sandbags, they fail to see it. Even Stevie Wonder knows by now Mercedes never tells the truth. And the guy can’t even see.

    1. Davethechicken
      6th November 2021, 23:49

      Seriously Barry??? red bull a tenth faster than alpha t?? They stuffed up big time. No sandbagging by Merc. red bull should have been out of sight.
      Horner and Max have both said they had the pace for pole.
      Honestly your comment has no credibility

      1. None of his comments have credibility!

  3. Its a shame Botas is going to have to give up the place to Hamilton, here’s hoping he at least finishes 2nd.

  4. Err, you didn’t get pole Lewis, your dumped teammate did, must do better.

  5. Well done Bottas. Potentially his last F1 pole. Perfectly positioned now to give Lewis a slipstream into T1, then play blocker.
    Anyone who thought a Red Bull pole was locked on, needs their head looking at. That includes Sky F1!

    1. Toto and Hamilton standing in front to get their heads checked.

    2. Yes, you just can’t underestimate mercedes, it’s too soon to draw conclusions from free practice or even q1, sometimes even q2, in this case they already showed themselves in q2.

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