Lewis Hamilton 'shocked' by Mercedes' pace after sending clear message to Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton says he’s “just as shocked as everyone else” after Mercedes outpaced both Red Bull drivers to take a front-row lockout at the Mexican Grand Prix. Mercedes had looked like they were on the back-foot after coming into the weekend struggling for pace against Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

Bottas set a 1:15.875 in front of a packed-out circuit at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with Hamilton lining up second 0.145s behind his team-mate in second. Verstappen meanwhile was 0.350s back in third, with home hero Sergio Perez fourth.

Afterwards Hamilton was full of praise for his Mercedes team-mate, adding he was shocked by their pace in Mexico.

“We did an amazing job,” said Hamilton. “I’m so proud of Valtteri,  I think he’s been driving so well in these last few races.

“So it’s really great for the team. They’ve been working so hard. We didn’t think we had the pace this weekend.

“So to lock out the front row is pretty special. And obviously gives us a good fight with the others tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton sounding ‘forlorn’ in Max Verstappen fight 

Mercedes were out-paced by Red Bull in the final practice session of the weekend, despite being fastest on Friday in the first session of the weekend.

But with traffic, and seemingly an issue with Red Bull’s rear wing, Mercedes were able to capitalise in Mexico City.

But when asked what had changed, Hamilton remained just in the dark as everyone else.

He added: “We have no idea, they were like six-tenths ahead at one stage and then four-tenths ahead but whatever happens and once we got qualified all sudden we had better pace.

“I’m just as shocked as everyone, but we’ll still take it.”

Hamilton currently sits 12 points behind Verstappen in the driver standings with just five points remaining.

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