2016 Mexican Grand Prix, Qualifying

LEWIS HAMILTON TAKES POLE IN MEXICO ON SUPERSOFT
WITH FASTEST LAP EVER OF CURRENT TRACK

TRACK EVOLUTION AND TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATION COMPLICATE
QUALIFYING STRATEGY: MIXED TACTICS AMONG FRONTRUNNERS

MERCEDES AND FERRARI TO START RACE ON SOFT TYRE AFTER USING IT
TO SET THEIR BEST TIMES IN Q2: ONE STOP COULD BE AN OPTION

Mexico City, October 29, 2016 – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix with the supersoft tyre. Hamilton’s pole lap in Mexico City was the fastest ever seen on the current circuit.

Track temperatures were much warmer than they had been in every session held so far, approaching 37 degrees centigrade at the start of qualifying, with 18 degrees ambient. This helped to swing performance back towards the supersoft tyre, although the correct tyre warm-up still held a key to unlocking optimal performance.

All the drivers completed Q1 using the supersoft tyre, with three different teams in the top three. Many drivers then went onto the soft for the first run in Q2, with a view to seeing whether or not this was the best option to get through the session and start the race. Both Mercedes and Ferraris will start the grand prix on the soft tyre, whereas Red Bull has committed to starting on the supersoft.

Two pit stops look set to be the most likely scenario for most competitors, but with times closely matched there are a number of different strategy permutations on the table: which will depend also on the weather conditions for the race. Some drivers could aim for a single stop strategy. Rapid track evolution continued to be a hallmark of the Mexico City track today, and this will remain a factor for the rest of the weekend, again affecting strategies.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “With the high degree of track and temperature evolution that we have seen, conditions could continue to change and perhaps come back towards the softer compounds in the race. Last year nearly all the drivers completed the race with two stops, just after a late safety car. Tomorrow some could try a single stop, especially if starting on softs. In any case, there are a number of options still open when it comes to strategy.”

How the tyres behaved today:
Medium: An interesting option for the race if it’s cool.
Soft: Many drivers tried to get through Q2 on this compound, with only four succeeding.
Supersoft: Suffered from less degradation in the warmer conditions and set pole.

FREE PRACTICE 3 – TOP 3 TIMES

Verstappen 1m19.137s Supersoft New
Hamilton 1m19.231s Supersoft New
Ricciardo 1m19.370s Supersoft New

QUALIFYING TOP 10

Hamilton 1m18.704s Supersoft New
Rosberg 1m18.958s Supersoft New
Verstappen 1m19.054s Supersoft New
Ricciardo 1m19.133s Supersoft New
Hulkenberg 1m19.330s Supersoft New
Raikkonen 1m19.376s Supersoft New
Vettel 1m19.381s Supersoft New
Bottas 1m19.551s Supersoft New
Massa 1m20.032s Supersoft New
Sainz 1m20.378s Supersoft New

MOST LAPS BY COMPOUND SO FAR

Medium Massa 31 laps
Soft Wehrlein 34
Supersoft Hamilton 22

BEST TIME BY COMPOUND SO FAR

Medium Hamilton 1m20.914s
Soft Hamilton 1m19.137s
Supersoft Hamilton 1m18.704s