Fresh off the back of a superb race last weekend at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, where Brendon Hartley secured another strong points finish, confidence was high coming into the Mexican Grand Prix. The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is a circuit that Hartley knows very well from his World Endurance Championship outings, but also as it was his second Formula 1 Grand Prix last season and presented another chance to show what he could do on a familiar circuit at the wheel of a Formula 1 car.
His confidence was clear for all to see throughout Free Practice, running well inside the top 10 during both of Friday’s sessions and setting an early marker of his intentions for the weekend. With Saturday’s free practice three being held on very mixed conditions, the finishing order didn’t reflect the true order of proceedings as most teams began looking towards Qualifying.
With track conditions much more settled as Q1 got underway, the busy circuit saw many drivers set their best times in the closing seconds of the session. This included Brendon who put in a superb lap to complete the session in P10 and easily through to Q2. Starting out on the Ultrasoft tyre in the second session, Brendon was marginally outside the cut-off for Q3. As the times tumbled at the end of the session, Hartley moved to his one remaining set of new Hypersoft tyres and he too improved but would eventually complete the session in P14, where he will start for tomorrow’s 71-lap Mexican Grand Prix.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“I think today we definitely had the pace to go through to Q3, but I’m disappointed with that last lap. I had been really happy with the car all weekend and Q1 was great, I was P10 and I think that was representative to where we could have been at the end of Q2. We only had one set of new Hypersofts left for Q2, and in the last run we didn’t get the aero balance on the track evolution. I locked the brakes into Turn 12 on my last lap, went off the track and lost enough time to just miss out on Q3 – in Qualifying we are always pushing it to the limit! As for the race, the tyres will be a big topic tomorrow. I need a good first lap like I had in Austin. We scored points last week from P20, so from P14 tomorrow it must be possible! We’ve been strong all weekend, so I hope to bring home some more points.”
Race – 71 Laps
13:10 – 15:10 (Local Time – UTC-6)
08:10 – 10:10 (New Zealand – UTC+13)