Red Bull's Max Verstappen has explained why he believes the team slumped dramatically in qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, only to bounce back strongly in the race on Sunday.
Red Bull had looked in control of the Mexico City Grand Prix throughout practice, but Mercedes surprised in qualifying to lock out the front-row. The margin wasn't small either, with Mercedes a quarter of a second clear of Red Bull on the first runs in Q3.
But Red Bull responded with authority on Sunday, as Verstappen stormed into the lead at Turn 1 and disappeared into the distance over the remainder of the race.
Speaking afterwards, Verstappen was asked about why there had been such a turnaround from Saturday to Sunday.
"Some tracks, I think they're just so critical with tyre temperatures and tyre warmup that, if you nail it, it can be amazing," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.
"If you're just under it or whatever, you lack a lot of lap time. And that's what happened to us [in qualifying]. So I always knew this was not going to be a problem in the race, because once the tyres are up to temperature, the car's behaving normally."
A track-specific issue?
With the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez being a race run in high altitude conditions, the teams have to rely more on mechanical and tyre grip as opposed to outright downforce.
Verstappen explained that failing to get the tyres to work correctly cost them more lap time that what might be seen at another track.
"I think it was just up to making the tyres work," he said. "I think we didn't nail that in qualifying, and especially Q2 and Q3, they [Mercedes] started to pull away from us, and we need to understand that a bit better.
"But it's just a bit track-specific, because you have already such little grip. Everything you do with the tyre can make a massive difference compared to a track with more normal downforce."
Verstappen now leads Lewis Hamilton by 19 points in the Drivers' Championship, while Red Bull have cut the gap to Mercedes in the Constructors' standings to just one point.
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