Lewis Hamilton qualified third for the F1 Mexican Grand Prix Saturday as he looks to secure world championship title number five at the same venue where he wrapped things up in 2017.

Hamilton may not have taken pole for the Mexican Grand Prix but outqualifying his title rival Sebastian Vettel is a huge step in the right direction if he is to clinch the world title this weekend.

“I’m really, really happy with it,” said Hamilton. “We had a difficult day yesterday and it was a big improvement today so obviously, yesterday we were much, much further back so I wasn’t expecting to be up as high as we got but the team did a great job last night in analyzing and moving forward today.

“That’s as good as I could get but I’m really happy for Daniel, he’s done a great job so congratulations to him and of course, being behind the Red Bulls is not a bad thing.”

Speaking about his approach to the start of the Grand Prix with the long 900 meter run down to turn one, Hamilton admitted that he has one eye on the championship rather than the Grand Prix saying, “We saw what happened last year with the red car behind, so I don’t know. It really depends how we get away, but third place is a nice place to start here. You get a nice tow from the guys up ahead so naturally I’m going to be fighting to at least gain a position but of course I’m aware of the Bulls ahead.”

All Hamilton needs to do in order to wrap up the championship is to finish seventh in Sunday’s race regardless of where Vettel finishes. The other factor is that Vettel must win all three remaining Grand Prix if has a hope of taking title honors for his own and the Ferrari man’s task looks difficult as he starts directly behind Hamilton in fourth.

“It was not a very clean lap,” said Vettel. “I tried very hard and I knew that I had to find at least two-tenths if I wanted to improve. It didn’t happen.

“It was very close. It was not a bad lap. I had some snaps here and there, but it just didn’t come together so I’m quite happy though. I think we got more or less everything out of the car.

“Obviously, dropping back to fourth from second is not satisfying but we’ll see what we can do tomorrow. We have great straight-line speed so maybe we can do something into turn one and then go from there.”

Source: Autoweek

October 27, 2018