Mexico City GP: George Russell and Lewis Hamilton rue missed pole but vow Max Verstappen fight in race
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton start behind Max Verstappen in Mexico City GP, looking to deny world champion record-breaking 14th win of 2022; Watch the race live at 8pm on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 6.30pm
Last Updated: 30/10/22 8:25am
A rejuvenated Mercedes believe they missed a huge opportunity by losing out to Max Verstappen in Mexico City GP Qualifying, but George Russell insists they can beat the world champion on Sunday in the grid's "fastest car".
Mercedes, winless this season, were genuine contenders for their second pole of 2022 on Sunday as they topped two practice sessions and the first two qualifying segments - before being out-classed in the crucial Q3 finale by a familiar foe, Red Bull's Verstappen.
Verstappen eventually topped qualifying by three tenths of a second from the Mercedes pair, with Russell making a mess of what he called a "terrible" final lap and Hamilton having both track limit and engine issues.
- Verstappen sees off strong Mercedes challenge to take Mexico City GP pole
- Mexico City GP: When to watch live on Sky Sports F1
The changing, warmer, track conditions also appeared to catch the Silver Arrows out.
"It wasn't good enough from all of us today," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff stressed to Sky Sports F1. "I think after P3 we had a car that was mega."
Russell, who will start behind Verstappen on the front row come lights out, live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 8pm, with build-up from 6.30pm, added that he was "lost for words" and "bitterly disappointed" after his lap, which was on par with the Dutchman until an error in the final sector.
However, he is still defiant as he bids to deny Verstappen a record-breaking 14th win of the season.
"P2 is a great place to be starting," said Russell. "I'm really proud of the job the team has been doing.
"This is our best qualifying of the year for us, we were quickest in every single session apart from Q3 unfortunately. There's a lot of promise to take away.
"I believe this weekend we've had the fastest car and if you've got the fastest car, there's no reason why you can't win the race.
"Max did an excellent job today, as he's consistently doing week in and week out, but it's going to be very difficult to pass him. They're gaining about three tenths on us down the straight.
"We definitely can beat Red Bull for sure, but I don't think we're going to be able to make the overtake on track. So, we're going to have to be strategic. I guess having both Lewis and I there, we can be aggressive."
Hamilton encouraged by Mercedes progress
Mercedes can take solace from their progress - with their update from last weekend's US GP pushing them forward - and from the fact a driver hasn't won from pole at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez since back in 2016.
Hamilton, meanwhile, will start in the position the last two Mexico races have been won from, third.
The Englishman was hampered by a lap deletion with his first Q3 effort in qualifying, meaning he couldn't afford to push quite as hard on his last lap, which he finished just 0.005s off his team-mate.
"There are definitely positives from today," stated Hamilton. "For us to be second and third I think is amazing.
"The car has been feeling great this weekend. I had some problems with the engine in Q3, I'm not quite sure what it was but I definitely feel like there was quite a bit of time left on the table.
"Still, for us to be there and to be that close is amazing. Everyone back at the factor should be really, really proud. I just hope that we can race these guys tomorrow."
Live Mexico City GP schedule on Sky Sports F1
6.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Mexico City GP Build-up
8pm: THE MEXICO CITY GRAND PRIX
10pm: Chequered Flag: Mexico City GP Reaction
11pm: Ted's Notebook
11.30pm: Mexico City GP Highlights