Toto Wolff ‘annoyed’ by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will line up second and third on the grid following a dramatic qualifying session.

Max Verstappen pulled a rabbit out of a hat again during qualifying this weekend, delivering a blistering lap in Q3 to take pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

The Mercedes has looked impressive over the practice sessions in Mexico, setting some seriously competitive lap times compared to their rivals, with the low air density in Mexico City stopping the W13’s drag problem from hindering performance by too much.

George Russell looked like he had a chance to set a purple lap in his final run in Q3, but after exceeding track limits, which he was very apologetic for, he was forced to abandon the lap.

“I feel like it was our pole to have but it was just a terrible lap from my side,” said Russell in his post-qualifying interview.

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“But it’s great to be back on the front row. I’ll be going for it at the start tomorrow for sure.

“Let’s see what’s possible. In Q3, my last lap, I went around the first three corners and the car felt great,” he described.

“I had this thought like, ‘you know what, this is going to be the lap’ and I lost the car in the next corner. So I was bitterly disappointed.

“I lost two-tenths in one corner, then I gained it all back again and I was still one-and-a-half tenths up before I locked up in sector three.”

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Mercedes are yet to win a race this season, with Lewis Hamilton being on the longest winless run of his career, however team principal Toto Wolff has suggested that the Mexican Grand Prix might be the best opportunity that the Silver Arrows will get to win this season.

“The good thing is that, in our simulations, we had [this track] on the radar as being the best race, so that is good that the virtual world correlates with the real world,” he explained.

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“But the most important thing is that we really have the pace and slowly but surely we are going forward and learning the lessons for next year.

“I’m annoyed about not being on pole, because it would have ticked a box, but then equally having Max with his top speed advantage behind up would have been a problem tomorrow.”

Wolff will remember last year in Mexico when Verstappen pulled off a stunning move in to Turn 1, taking the lead of the race despite starting on the second row, and will hope his team can execute a similar manoeuvre.

“Starting second and third can be advantageous and I hope we can stick our nose, or both noses, into Turn 1 and then disappear into the distance. But definitely that’s going to be difficult.”