Red Bull had wings at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Friday, so much so that title contender Lewis Hamilton believes they are in another league at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix as Mercedes struggle to find an optimum setup.
At the end of the day, Hamilton reported, “Red Bull seem out of our reach at the moment, Ferrari are right there with us, but we’re here to try and compete, so we will do the best we can to have a real race. The car was good in some places, but not so good in others. It’s not about one particular area; there are lots of different things that we can improve.”
“It was difficult with the high track temperatures, which were melting and graining the tyres, but a lot of people were experiencing that. We run the biggest wings at this track but are still quite quick on the straights because of the altitude, but then there’s not a lot of grip through the corners, even on the HyperSoft tyres.”
“We’ve got some ground to catch up on, so we’re now going to go through everything in the debrief and look at all the details to find some answers,” added Hamilton.
Lewis needs only to finish seventh once in the remaining races to seal the deal, while Sebastian needing to win the last three and hope the #44 DNFs
Although victory is clearly on his mind to seal the deal in style, Red Bull’s hot pace is also good news for the Briton because title rival Sebastian Vettel has to win the three final races, the Ferrari driver also struggling to match the Blues.
In the sister car, Valtteri Bottas had similar issues to his teammate, “It was a pretty difficult day. We struggled with the pace in both sessions and like nearly everyone else we also struggled with tyre life.”
“Both of the compounds started to grain quickly and it feels like we’re lacking overall grip, so the car is sliding around a lot which is then wearing the tyres. We don’t have a definite answer why the pace isn’t quite there yet; we’re going to have to analyse it and look at it from every angle.”
“We have plenty of work to do and, while we are scratching our heads a little at this point, I’m confident that we’ll find answers over the course of the evening and come back stronger,” added the Finn who lies fourth in the championship.
Mercedes and Ferrari are also embroiled in their own battle for the constructors’ championship title, the Silver Arrows top the standings by 66 points over the Scuderia with three rounds remaining.