Mercedes Lock Out Front Row In Mexico

2021 Mexican Grand Prix, Friday Steve Etherington
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The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team locked out the front row for tomorrow’s race with a strong qualifying performance, with Valtteri Bottas taking pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas took his 19th career pole position today with a mighty lap on his first Q3 run, while Hamilton will start from P2 after qualifying 0.145s behind his teammate.

This is the team’s sixth pole of the season, and the second time in three races Mercedes drivers have finished qualifying in P1 and P2. This is also the team’s first front-row lockout since the Hungarian Grand Prix in August.

Valtteri Bottas

‘It was an awesome lap! Especially my lap in the first run of Q3. I couldn’t quite match my sectors in the second one, but I think honestly that first run in Q3 was one of my best laps. It’s a good feeling! This morning actually the car was really good: we were lacking a bit of pace on lap 1 but I think with higher temperatures this afternoon than in the morning it came our way. We also tried to optimise everything with tyres, temps and setup and it was a joy to drive! Looking ahead to the start, it is a long, long straight and for sure, the cars behind with the tow will have good opportunities so we’ll need a good start and at least, as a team, it’s good that we have two cars ahead and hopefully we can try and keep the positions.’

Lewis Hamilton

‘Valtteri did an amazing job, I’m so proud of him! I think he’s been driving so well these last few races so it’s great for the team – they’ve been working 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. I’m not sure where we found the performance compared to Red Bull but once we got to qualifying we had good pace. I’m as shocked as everyone but we’ll still take it!’

Toto Wolff

‘That was a fantastic qualifying session and we managed to put together the puzzle piece by piece as qualifying played out. To lock out the front row here in Mexico is a strong starting point for tomorrow’s race, and it also shows the hard work that has gone into adapting our car and power unit to the challenges of running at altitude. It was very enjoyable to see how Valtteri is driving right now – he was unbelievable in Turkey, and he’s working so well with the team; Lewis was on a potential pole lap on his second run, but then had a small lock up that cost him, but P2 is a very solid starting position. I’m happy that we have wrestled a bit of momentum our way – but in the end, it’s about doing the proper job and session by session trying to understand and learn about the car. You saw in Austin that we had a good direction and lost the performance over the weekend; here, it’s been the opposite. But there are no prizes handed out on Saturday and we’ve still got a big and tough job to do tomorrow.’

Andrew Shovlin

‘A phenomenal pole by Valtteri and great to get Lewis up there for another Mercedes front row. We’ve been battling with the car a bit all weekend and the drivers haven’t found it easy to get the whole lap together. That’s made it difficult to know whether to change our approach to stick to plan. That picture didn’t really look to have changed particularly through the first two sessions in qualifying. Happily the final session was quite different, it looked like we were finally getting the grip out of the soft tyres and at the same time Red Bull started to struggle a bit. It was very encouraging to see the straightline speed today; the power unit seems to be working well in the thin air thanks to a lot of good work that has taken place in Brixworth over the last few weeks. Today was certainly a nice surprise but the race here is very tough on the car and there’s no guarantee our speed today will translate into the long run. We’re expecting it to be close and a good run to Turn One will be all important – there’s a long way to go but after today the team have put themselves in a position where there is everything to play for.’

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