Pascal delivers a blistering turn of pace as he cruises through to Q2 for the fourth time this season. He’s revelling in the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on his Mexican debut. But there were mixed fortunes in the Manor Racing garage as Esteban continued to battle with the handling of his car here. We’ll put everything we can into turning that around for tomorrow’s 71 lap race.
Qualifying, Formula 1 Gran Premio de México 2016
Saturday 29 October
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City
Pascal MRT05-01 Q1 P16 1:21.363 10 laps | Q2 P16 1:21.785 7 laps
Esteban MRT05-02 Q1 P20 1:21.881 10 laps
Pascal, what a lap! What a weekend! Q2 – how was that?
“Well, first of all I’m really, really happy. Especially for the team; we needed that. My fourth time in Q2 this year and that’s where we want to be. Everyone did a fantastic job all weekend and we’ve improved the car every step. After that, I just drove my heart out.”
You seem to be loving this circuit.
“It’s a really challenging track – always a lot of understeer and oversteer through the lap – but we just seem to have found a way through to get the car right and we’ve exceeded our own expectations here. It could have been even better though; we didn’t have new tyres for Q2, whereas others did, so I wasn’t able to improve my lap.”
We’re really excited for tomorrow; the atmosphere is incredible on race day. What are you hoping for?
“Well, P16 on the grid is great. I need a good start tomorrow, then I will push as hard as I can. We’ll be challenging the guys in front of us and I believe that everything is possible. Bring it on.”
Esteban, you’re clearly disappointed today. Tell us.
“Not a good day for me. I’m really struggling driving the car and I don’t have the confidence in it to push. I’m second fastest in the speed trap, which doesn’t make me feel better because it shows I’m giving the maximum with the car I have but can’t get it working around the rest of the lap. I’ll still take it though, because it’s a positive from an otherwise really frustrating weekend so far. I’m happy for Pascal – it’s great for the team and that’s important.”
What about the race? What can you do?
“Oh, we can still improve for tomorrow, even with minor adjustments, so I have to remain positive for the race as we could still unlock the problem. The start, the strategy – things could turn around yet. I’ll be giving it everything I have.”
A word with Dave Ryan, Racing Director:
“It’s a fantastic feeling for the whole team to be back in Q2, so well done to Pascal for a really excellent performance in qualifying today, after what has generally been a very positive weekend for him. He seems very at home on this circuit and his car is working well, which makes it all the more frustrating that we haven’t been able to help Esteban overcome the handling problems with his chassis. That’s something we’ll be working even harder on overnight, to try to help him for tomorrow. If we can address those issues, we can look forward to a promising race and a good fight with our competitors.”