27 OCTOBER 2018
MEXICAN GP – QUALIFYING
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: P1 – 1:14.759 (Practice 3 – P4 1:17.028)
“As you can probably tell, I’m pretty happy right now. I know it’s only qualifying but actually it’s pretty special and this is only the third time in my career that I’ve been on pole. Every other time was Monaco, it starts with an M but this time it’s Mexico. Putting the lap together right at the very end, when Max had dominated in practice and then Mercedes came on so strong made it even more exciting. I don’t think anyone expected me to do it but I knew there was some extra speed in me and I’m happy to have found it. I knew I could clean up my first lap in Q3 and the first sector on my second lap was still average, but in the second sector I was building and I was pretty pumped up by the third. It feels awesome to be back at the front and it feels right. It’s been a challenging year and I’ve been wanting to finish on a high with Red Bull, so hopefully my run of poor fortune has come to an end and we can deliver what we all want tomorrow. This is the first front row lockout for the Team since 2013 so it’s a really big day for us all. I don’t think it will be a straightforward race and it will certainly be interesting, but hopefully it will be interesting for all the right reasons. It’s going to be a good fight with Max, Lewis and Seb but if we can convert a double front row into a double podium then the entire Team will leave Mexico very happy.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: P2 – 1:14.785 (Practice 3 – P1 1:16.284)
“It’s really disappointing to be consistently the fastest all weekend, and then not when it counts. I felt comfortable going into qualifying but I soon experienced similar issues that I had felt in FP2, the rear was locking while I was off throttle during cornering. I felt like I couldn’t push the car to its limit, which you need to do in Q3 as it is the most important session. I was surprised to be on top of the time sheet at the start of Q3 but in the end it wasn’t enough to take the pole. The issue should be less influential tomorrow which means we can both have a good race. Given today’s frustration we are still in really strong shape going into Sunday, it’s just a shame to miss the pole. The fact we have locked out the front row for the first time in years is a brilliant result for the Team, you can’t beat first and second.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal:
“Amazing! An incredible last lap from Daniel which really seemed to come from nowhere. On the last run to be able to string together a perfect lap was a mighty performance. Another great lap from Max, who has looked so competitive all weekend meant we locked out the front row for the first time since Austin 2013, a phenomenal team performance. Our priority now has to be to try and convert these fantastic grid positions into a haul of points tomorrow. The Team has worked very hard for this so it is crucial that we now make the most of it.”
Shop ’til you drop
If there’s a better paddock vibe than here in Mexico City, we’re struggling to think of it. Part of that buzz is undoubtedly down to the mock mercado the organisers have installed and amid the mezcal bars, taquerias and churro stands, the most popular store seems to be the barber shop. In fact, the gentlemen of F1 have never looked so well groomed (although, the absence of a ladies’ hair salon seems a little unfair). The success of the barber shop got us thinking about how the F1 paddock really does need its own row of shops at every race and what kind of stores we really need…
1. Last-minute gift shop – It’s Sunday morning, you’re flying home in about 12 hours and you’ve just remembered that it’s your wedding anniversary/child’s birthday/important date the significance of which escapes you but which you know you should prepare for and you’ve been too busy thinking about spring rates to get them anything. Have no fear, the paddock gift shop is here. Replete with toys with a handily-placed sticker of the race location, overpriced jewellery and other stuff that doesn’t look like it came straight out of duty free, the paddock gift shop means you’ll never be sleeping on the couch alongside that bunch of plastic service station flowers again.
2. Chemist – It’s the end of the season, and that means just one thing – everyone’s falling apart. A 21-race calendar takes a heavy toll on body and mind, not helped by overindulgence in all sorts of things that are maybe better left alone. So, to deal with ailments that are either too minor or too embarrassing to merit a visit to the medical centre, the paddock chemist is available, with a friendly smile, a pungent, luridly coloured tincture and no questions asked.
3. Hardware store – No longer will a team need to cannibalise a humble domestic vacuum cleaner in order to get a bit of plastic tubing to solve an unexpected cooling issue. Yes, thanks to the paddock hardware store’s extensive stock of ducting, bits of old tape, massive lump hammers and that thing that got left behind in Baku that seemed useless at the time but is now absolutely crucial, Henry the Hoover will live on for another weekend.
4. Launderette – Admit it, there are always those back-to-back races at which you reach day 12 of a 14-day stint and a dig around in the dark recesses of your suitcase reveals a shocking shortfall in the ratio of underwear to days away from home. You could frighten housekeeping by draping an array of damp Thomas the Tank Engine boxer shorts around your hotel room, but why upset the locals? Instead, simply drop your smalls off at the paddock laundry and stay fresh all weekend.
5. Counselling service – The Formula 1 paddock is a tight-knit community of like-minded souls, working and playing together in an atmosphere of collegiate co-operation and general bonhomie… until about Race 17 of the season. At that point, tempers begin to fray, your room-mate’s ‘hilarious’ impressions are beginning to wear a bit thin, and the thought of another dinner with more senior colleagues reminiscing about how ‘things were better in the old days’ might lead to shortness of temper or indeed a bloody massacre for which you’ll gladly do time if it means being rid of your workmates. To avoid such an unfortunate outcome, F1 welcomes you to its bespoke counselling service where, in a nurturing environment and in an atmosphere of positive reinforcement, you can tell your colleagues exactly what you think of them.