The most competitive qualifying performance of the 2022 season for the team, with George in P2 and Lewis in P3 for tomorrow’s race.
- George qualified P2 for tomorrow’s grand prix despite aborting his final lap when he was matching pole-sitter Verstappen until a lock-up at Turn 12.
- Lewis qualified five thousandths behind his team-mate, after seeing his first timed lap in Q3 deleted for a track limits violation.
- P2 to P4 today were covered by less five hundredths of a second on the final lap times.
- After the best team qualifying of the season so far, the stage is set for a dramatic race tomorrow, with the long run to Turn One offering significant opportunity.
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It feels like the team deserved more today – the car has been great this weekend and it’s a testament to the hard work that has been going in for so long. At this high altitude, drag is less of a factor for us on the straights, and the update we brought to Austin is performing well. We saw last week with Lewis what the car was capable of, and this weekend, it felt like pole position was there for us. I’m kicking myself about the final run, but at the end of the day, there are no points for qualifying and I’m excited to be back on the front row. We will be going for it in the race and our long runs looked decent yesterday, so I’m excited to go racing and see what we’ve got.
I’m proud of the team – this is the best qualifying we’ve had all year. It just shows that you can never give up, and that perseverance is the way forward, so a big thank you to everybody here and back at the factory. In terms of the laps, they were pretty closely matched, but obviously when the first one is deleted, you have to make sure the second is completely clean. There was still more performance in it but it’s great to be so close to the Red Bull cars after we have been chasing them each weekend this year. So, we will just keep pushing, and I’m pretty happy starting from P3. It’s a long way down to Turn One…
We had a mega car today in FP3, as we saw from the lap times in that session, but then conditions changed a bit and it really closed up at the front. All the way through the session, we couldn’t really match Verstappen in the stadium section, but George’s lap was zero to him on the final run until the lock up at Turn 12. Still, those are good starting positions for tomorrow – and there will be opportunity in the race. We brought our final upgrade to Austin, which is working well, and we have been at our best in high downforce configuration this year – so slowly but surely, we are creeping back to the front.
After the final practice this morning it looked like we might be in the fight for pole; in the end, the gap at the end to Max was a bit bigger than we had hoped for. We were very close on pace to him into the final sector but couldn’t quite match him there in the hotter afternoon conditions. Overall, though, we can take encouragement from the way the car is working with the recent updates. Our long runs had looked competitive yesterday and we do tend to race a bit better than we qualify, so there is still everything to play for tomorrow. We’re lacking a little bit of a straightline speed to the Red Bulls so having both lined up behind Max may be no bad thing.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team