Sebastian starts third on the grid, Raikkonen takes no risks in Q2
Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix was a spectacular sight with the stands at the Hermano Rodriguez circuit packed out with enthusiastic fans.
Sebastian Vettel was third quickest in 1.19.850. He and the two Mercedes ahead of him were the only drivers to get under the 1m 20s barrier.
Kimi Raikkonen had a tough time this afternoon. After his problems in third free practice, the mechanics just got his car rebuilt a few moments before the start of qualifying.
He was twelfth quickest in Q1, but in Q2 he came on the radio complaining of a brake problem. Raikkonen will drop five places from his 15th position, because of the penalty that goes with the gearbox change, which is why he decided not to push too hard. He will therefore start tomorrow’s race from the ninth row.
Kimi Raikkonen: “This morning we had a problem with the car in P3, and we had to change the engine and the gearbox. It was a very tight call to put everything back together, but the guys did an excellent job to make the car ready for Q1 in that small lapse of time available. However there was not enough time and not everything was 100 per cent, I still had a small issue with brakes. Actually, they were working, but then they locked up on one lap. Anyway, with all the penalties we are getting tomorrow, our best option was to do well enough to make it to Q2 and not really do anything after that. We did three fast laps so that we can check later that everything is ok with the car and try to make a good run out of it.”
Sebastian Vettel: “To be fair, when I woke up this morning and even after P3, I thought we would be a bit closer to the Mercedes than we actually were in qualifying: unfortunately, they proved to be very strong. They were doing two consecutive laps, they were not using all the energy in one lap, so we need to be careful as I think they will be very quick also tomorrow in the race. But we will try our best, we are here to fight, we have nothing to lose. Nico is the primary target, we want to keep second position in the championship and we’ll do everything we can to achieve that. I hope that our race pace tomorrow is going to be as good as it looked yesterday; obviously it is always difficult to know what other people are doing, but considering that we were on the harder tire, on Friday we seemed to be very quick on the long-runs. I hope we can be quick tomorrow as well, and make the tires last. I think this will be the key for the race because on paper it looks easy, but then, with all the sliding around from low grip surface, we’ve seen many people struggling to keep their tires alive.”