Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg says he produced the “best lap of my whole season” to beat both Ferraris in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, but expects them to fight back in today’s race.
When asked if he expected to outqualify the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, he replied: “Not at all to be honest. No, we were even quite worried about Williams.
“I don’t know what happened with Ferrari and I’m not really that interested.
“I think [in the race] they are going to be strong again and it will be difficult to keep them behind. I think long run pace usually Ferrari is really good. They are very good on tyres too. I still expect them to have the edge over us.
“But, usually, when we put our stuff together we are just behind the top three teams. And [in qualifying] we beat them very marginally.”
“Best lap of my whole season”
Hulkenberg, who will join Renault in 2017, explained that it was a qualifying session that came to his car, as it got faster as the track evolved.
“My Q3 lap, that lap that put me in P5, was the best lap of my whole season,” he added. “The car got better and better through qualifying as the track was gripping up.
“This is not a low downforce track, but due to the altitude it feels like it, and track evolution seemed to help the car and picked up the balance for us.
“We did a good job understanding the tyres, getting them into the sweet spot. The first lap in Q3 was mega, there was nothing more to squeeze out of there. A really good qualifying.”
Additional reporting by Erwin Jaeggi