MAX WINS IN MEXICO LCH IS WORLD CHAMPION!
MAX VERSTAPPEN, “A great win and a fun podium, a Dutch DJ and Dutch driver, what a combination. The start of the race itself was not great but this allowed me to tuck in and get a tow from Sebastian, I had to be a bit aggressive but managed to get around the outside at turn one and from then on I was just doing my own race.
I would go as far to say this was one of the easiest races of my career. I felt I missed out on pole yesterday so I had a lot of motivation to get the result I wanted today. To get not just a podium but the win is awesome. We calmed the pace and turned down the engine to make sure we brought the car home so I was just cruising towards the end. I was confident the car was going to be good today after studying the long run pace we have shown this weekend.
This track with low speed and low grip suits our car, but even in Austin we had the balance and pace, I just had to come from way down the grid. Once we had got the balance of the car right it was easy for us to do quick lap times and sustain them. I think if we keep working this way and have a better start to the season next year we can look forward to achieving great things.
The podium here in Mexico is special to be on as the fans are so passionate and being in the stadium section means the atmosphere is like nowhere else, it definitely made up for missing it last year. Like I said in the car on lap 1, it was simply, simply lovely.”
VETTEL ON POLE IN MEXICO
Sebastian Vettel took pole for the Mexican Grand Prix with a stunning final qualifying lap.
LCH who starts third today behind Max Verstappen, remains firmly in the ascendant, holding a 66-point lead in the championship with just 75 left to compete for, Vettel added an extra complication by becoming only the fourth man in Formula One to achieve 50 pole positions.
Both races in Mexico have been won from the front since the country’s restoration to the calendar in 2015. Should his German rival convert the advantage to victory this evening, Hamilton will need to finish at least fifth to cement his status as a quadruple champion, joining Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Vettel himself.
With an unusually long run down to Turn One here at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, there promises to be a memorable opening skirmish. The last time Vettel and Verstappen were beside each other on the front row, they collided at the first corner of Singapore, in a shower of sparks and flying debris.
As Hamilton lurks behind them with his eye on history, the cocktail is likely to be explosive. “Yeah, we should have some fun,” he said, with a knowing grin.
“I tried to deny Sebastian, but it wasn’t to be,” Hamilton said. “It was a difficult session and it has been a difficult weekend. Ferrari did a great job and their car was working better than ours, but I am still there in the fight. The race pace is good, but you can’t overtake here.”
FERNANDO TO RACE IN THE DAYTONA 24 HOURS WITH UNITED AUTOSPORTS
Alonso – whose stated aim is to achieve the Triple Crown of Monaco F1 Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours wins – was announced today for United’s squad for the American sportscar classic on January 27-28, having signed on Tuesday.
“The aim is definitely to go there with the intention of trying to win Daytona – otherwise Fernando wouldn’t wanna do it!” said Brown. “I think it’s going to be the toughest 24 Hours of Daytona in modern history, based on the quality of the teams and drivers on the entry.
“A couple of Penskes, a couple of Joests, Wayne Taylor, Action Express, ESM, Rebellion – going through the list there’s likely 12 cars in with a shot of pole, never mind winning the race. So we’re going to bring our A-game, and it’s going to be awesome.
“We did Le Mans this year, finished fourth in class, and fifth overall. Fortunately the P2s are the top class at Daytona [with the DPi category based around them] and I don’t think Fernando would want to drive anything other than the top class car, to go for the overall win.”
THOUGHTS FROM MAX
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 4th, Start Position: 16th
“I am feeling good after the race but of course it is never nice to be about to step out onto the podium and then have it taken away. They should at least let us talk it through in the stewards’ room first and voice our opinions.
I had a great race and I am happy with fourth but it’s the way I got there that hurts. I got a five second penalty and one penalty point for what? I ran wide on a track with no limits that everyone is running wide on all weekend, why do I get punished? The rule is we cannot protest so all we can do is move on to Mexico, weird rule.
We have an amazing race with loads of overtakes and action and then due to 5cm or 10cm of kerb the result is changed, people don’t like to watch that. At the end of the day I had a lot of fun and a great race. I feel I made some really good overtakes and had nice rhythm with really strong pace and balance in the car. Taking all these factors into account and no engine penalties I’ll hopefully start near the front and achieve a better result in Mexico.”
LCH PUTS HIS STAMP OF AUTHORITY ON THIS CHAMPIONSHIP!
LCH gave his chances of clinching a fourth Formula 1 drivers’ championship at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix a boost by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.
After leading all three practice sessions for Mercedes, Hamilton continued his domination of proceedings in Austin, Texas by posting the fastest time in each stage of qualifying, with each improvement delivering a new track record in the process.
Hamilton eventually turned in a best time of 1:33.108 in the final stage of qualifying to score his third USGP pole and 11th of the 2017 season, finishing two-tenths of a second clear of title rival Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari’s Vettel recovered from a sluggish start to Q3 to split the Mercedes drivers by taking second on the grid, making Hamilton’s task of wrapping up the title in Austin as difficult as possible.
FERNANDO ALONSO ON THE UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
“After a couple of frustrating races where we haven’t been able to show the improving pace we know we have in our package, I’m excited to head back to the United States. I had a great time over summer there this year with everything going on around the Indy 500, and I know the fans are incredibly passionate and enthusiastic, so I’m expecting a really good atmosphere around Austin.
“The COTA track is a really fun track to race on – every sector is different and achieving the perfect compromise with set-up to suit the constantly-changing characteristics of the lap is what makes the challenge there so unique. COTA is also wider than a lot of the circuits we’ve been to recently so there are usually some good chances to overtake, which hopefully we can make the most of on Sunday.
“I really enjoy spending time in the States and I have lots of happy memories there. I hope in Austin we can build on the momentum we know we’ve been gathering behind the scenes, despite not being able to show the results on the final timesheets, and I think there’s the potential to score points if we can pull everything together. There are a lot of factors to take into account and anything can happen at this race – we’ve seen quite a lot of drama both on-track and off it over the last few years – but I’m optimistic we can have a positive weekend if we can maximise every opportunity.”