Going into the Mexican Grand Prix Qualifying, nobody expected to see Mercedes on the front row, as Red Bull dominated the practice sessions.
Nevertheless Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton spectacularly qualified in P1 and P2 respectively, with Max Verstappen 0.350s behind the Finn.
After the session Hamilton was asked how they managed to pull this off.
“I really have no idea,” said the Briton.
“They were like six tenths ahead at some stage, and then four tenths ahead. But whatever happened, once we got to qualifying, all of a sudden we had better pace.
“I’m just as shocked as everyone, but we’ll still take it.”
Hamilton also strongly praised his team-mate.
“I’m so proud of Valtteri, I think he’s been driving so well in the last few races. It’s really great for the team. They’ve been working so 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,” concluded the seven-time champion, and added he would “love to be in Valtteri’s position.
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Bottas said his pole position lap was one of the best laps of his career.
“It was an awesome lap,” said the Finn.
“Especially the first run in Q3. I couldn’t quite match the same last sector in the second run, but I think honestly that first run in Q3 was one of my best laps. That is a good feeling.”
He added that the higher temperatures in the afternoon helped Mercedes’ performance.
“This morning actually I was feeling good. We were lacking a bit on pace on lap one, but I think with higher temperatures this afternoon than in the morning, it came our way I think.
“I also tried to optimise everything with tyres temps and setup, and it was a joy to drive.”
Starting at the front, Valtteri and Lewis will have a tactical advantage over Red Bull.
“It is a long, long, straight and the cars behind with the tow will have good opportunities,” the Finn added.
“We’ll need a good start, but at least as a team it is great that we have two cars ahead, and hopefully we can try and keep our positions.”