Hamilton and Russell frustrated by car and race stewards
Both drivers struggled to deliver consistent laps in changeable conditions at the high altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, set at 2,250 metres above sea level, and also faced stewards’ investigations after the session.
Three-time world champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull also faced an investigation after qualifying third behind the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
Russell and Verstappen were facing investigation for stopping in the pitlane, holding up a group of cars, as they waited to time their final hot laps while Hamilton was accused of ignoring yellow flags.
“I’ve been struggling all weekend with this car,” said Hamilton, who finished last Sunday’s United States Grand Prix only two seconds behind the victorious Verstappen before being disqualified when his car failed a post-race scrutineering test.
“It’s been a bit of a nightmare to drive and it just doesn’t like this track. We made some good changes. In Q1 and Q2, it wasn’t looking too bad, but then in Q3 the car was really peaky – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
“I wasn’t able to extract much more from it again. Probably, I could have been fifth, but that’s about it. It’s going to be a real challenge tomorrow. It will be very hard for us to battle — it’s going to be on a knife edge.”
Russell said: “It’s been really frustrating this weekend and we’ve been up and down like a yo-yo. At one point, we were quickest in FP3, in Q2 we were first and third and then in Q3 we were nowhere”
He said he was unaware of the stewards’ investigations until after the session.
“I wasn’t aware of it. I think it was Q2 — and it was a complete mess as everyone was exiting the pits. They ask us not to stop in the pit lane to get your gap, which means you have to take your gap on track.
“For me, to go 10 miles an hour down the straight with cars passing at 220 mph I think is a lot more dangerous than doing it in the pit lane.
“I don’t expect anything to come from it, but for sure a better solution needs to be found.”
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