Nico Rosberg’s reliability concern


Mexican GP polesitter Nico Rosberg reckons reliability will be “on the edge” in Sunday’s race owing to F1’s unfamiliarity with the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and its unique conditions.

The weekend to date has seen drivers struggle for grip on the newly resurfaced 2.67-mile track, with brake and engine cooling also a concern due to the venue’s altitude – 2,250m above sea level.

Teams have responded by cooling their cars as if they were racing in the desert conditions of Bahrain – a track where Mercedes found themselves struggling to keep their cars cool earlier this season.

Rosberg hopes the Silver Arrows will be better prepared in that regard, but he also reckons tyre wear could be a factor in the 71-lap race.

“There could be some unexpected issues coming up with tyre management, so it’ll be interesting from that point of view because we saw quite a lot of degradation on the soft tyre on Friday,” he said after securing his fourth straight pole.

“It will be difficult in all these things. Brakes are on the edge – everything is on the edge on this track, even engine temperatures and all that, because the cooling is so bad.

“But we’ve prepared well for this and we’ve done all our homework, so we’re comfortable. But it is on the edge.”

Meanwhile, with Lewis Hamilton qualifying second – and with the world champion’s aggressive move on Rosberg at Turn 1 in Austin still fresh in the memory – all eyes will be focused on the first corner.

At 0.8miles, the start-finish straight is one of the longest on the calendar and therefore offers Hamilton the chance to slipstream past his rival.

Yet Hamilton couldn’t pull off the move when faced with a long run off the line two races ago in Russia, and he admits it might prove difficult.

“Coming into the weekend, I thought about whether it was better to be on pole, how it would be really difficult to hold off the guy behind – it’s a long, long way to slipstream someone,” Hamilton said.

“But you look at Russia and Nico still managed to hold on into Turn 1. So I’ve got to think of a different approach for tomorrow.”

Even so, Hamilton reckons he’ll get more chances – although given the difficulties drivers have faced staying on track in general, he thinks Turn 1 might offer the only overtaking opportunity.

“Because we have less grip, we’re going to be following less. We have less downforce and also there’s no mechanical grip. We need mechanical grip,” he added.

“Ideally for this track, you need better tyres probably. It’s maybe unique for this track, who knows?

“Already, when we’re on our own, we’re sliding around. So as soon as we get in turbulent air, it’s going to be a dull lap.

“That’s what’s making me think there isn’t going to great racing, apart from down the straight.”


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