Lewis Hamilton will start the Mexican Grand Prix from arguably the best position, after claiming third for Sunday’s race.
Mercedes have arguably looked the strongest throughout the weekend so far and actually topped FP2 and FP3 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit; however, neither Hamilton nor George Russell could claim the team’s second pole of the year.
Going into Q3, the seven-time World Champion appeared to be the team’s best bet at claiming pole, which would’ve been the first of his season and the 104th of his Formula 1 career.
Hamilton topped both Q1 and Q2 but saw his first lap-time in Q3 deleted after exceeding track limits at Turn 2.
The 37-year-old cut across the kerb on the inside of the corner, with all four wheels going clearly inside the white-painted line.
It meant that he was sitting P10 after the first runs, whilst Russell sat towards the top in second.
Pole appeared to be out of the question ahead of his second run, though, as Max Verstappen somehow had a few-tenths over the Silver Arrows, something he hadn’t had the entire weekend.
Regardless of that, Hamilton couldn’t get anywhere close to Verstappen’s time on his final flying lap and actually could only claim third; however, he was just 0.005 seconds behind his 24-year-old team-mate.
Third place isn’t the end of the world, though, as he’ll have a beautiful tow down into Turn One from his 2021 rival, who will be directly in front of him.
Hamilton thinks second was definitely possible in qualifying, but that it was nevertheless “the best qualifying” the Germans have had all year, something that most certainly can’t be argued with.
“Unfortunately the first lap, which I think was quick enough for second, wasn’t quite good enough,” Hamilton said to ex-F1 driver David Coulthard during the post-qualifying interviews.
“Naturally the Red Bulls are so fast. But I think this is such an amazing show and I’m really proud of my team – this is the best qualifying we’ve had all year.
“It just shows that perseverance and never giving up is the way forward, so big thanks to everybody here and back at the factory.”
Coulthard went on to ask Hamilton if he could learn anything from Russell, with the former Williams driver having been the Mercedes driver who topped both FP2 and FP3.
The question was met by an awkward silence from Hamilton whilst he appeared to be contemplating what to say, before saying back to the Scotsman that he too has been producing “pretty good” laps.
“My laps have been pretty good…” Hamilton answered, following a brief pause.
“I’m pretty happy with that position to start with – it’s a long run down to turn one.”