Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel emerges on top with the Pirelli ultrasoft tire in one of the closest qualifying sessions of the year
Conditions in Mexico include a slippery track and lack of downforce at altitude, but the pole is over two seconds faster than last year
With low degradation, one stop from the ultrasoft tire to supersoft tire is the most likely race strategy
Ferrari’s Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel set thefastest time in qualifying in Mexico City today with the Pirelli ultrasoft tire, beating lastyear’s pole by more than two seconds and taking his 50th career pole at the same time.
Ferrari and Red Bull were the only teams to get through Qualifying 1 with the supersofttire only (having nominated less sets of the ultrasoft tire than Mercedes). From Qualifying2 onwards, only the ultrasoft tire was used (except for McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, whoused the supersoft tire).
Qualifying took place in ambient temperatures peaking at 75 degrees fahrenheit and 111degrees on track. Similar conditions are expected for the race tomorrow, where one pitstop is the most likely strategy if degradation remains low.
A different tire strategy was evident from McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in qualifying, whoelected not to take part in Qualifying 2 to save tires for the race despite an impressiveQualifying 1, following a grid penalty that will put him towards the back tomorrow.
MARIO ISOLA – PIRELLI’S HEAD OF CAR RACING
“Although the track had improved since yesterday, grip levels were still generally quitelow – with the lack of downforce in the thin air at altitude here – leading to most driversusing the ultrasoft tire to gain the most mechanical grip throughout qualifying. With tirewarm-up being crucial here, we sometimes saw the best performance coming after oneor two flying laps in qualifying. With degradation expected to remain low, a one-stopperwould appear to be the most likely strategy for the race tomorrow.”
HOW THE TIRES BEHAVED TODAY
|The most popular choice
for qualifying: the top 10
qualifiers for tomorrow’s
race will start on this.
|Ferrari and Red Bull were|
the only teams to use this
in qualifying, in Q1.
|This tire was not seen in|
FREE PRACTICE 3 – TOP 3 TIMES
|Verstappen||1m 17.113s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Hamilton||1m 17.188s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Vettel||1m 17.230s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
QUALIFYING TOP 10
|Vettel||1m 16.488s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Verstappen||1m 16.574s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Hamilton||1m 16.934s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Bottas||1m 16.958s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Raikkonen||1m 17.238s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Ocon||1m 17.437s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Ricciardo||1m 17.447s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Hulkenberg||1m 17.466s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Sainz||1m 17.794s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
|Perez||1m 17.807s||ULTRASOFT NEW|
MOST LAPS BY TIRE COMPOUND SO FAR
BEST TIME BY TIRE COMPOUND SO FAR
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