Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton admits his race starts remain a question mark ahead of a crucial Mexican Grand Prix despite a confidence-boosting lights-to-flag success last time out in Austin.
The defending champion has struggled on numerous occasions throughout the year getting his car off the line, winning only four of the nine races he has started from pole position thus far in 2016.
The legacy of new 'manual' starting procedures introduced by the FIA in an effort to delegate more car control to the driver, Hamilton's startline issues have played their part in allowing team-mate Nico Rosberg escape in their tense title tussle.
Coming into the Mexico race facing a 26 point deficit to Rosberg, Hamilton reveals he has explored all manner of options to rectify his starting procedure, even resorting to altering his race gloves to help him handle the clutch better.
“I think already from last weekend I felt a lot more confident in the whole process,” Hamilton said after securing his 59th career pole in Mexico.
“I wish I had that in the beginning of the year, I'd be in a different position now but at least we got it right now and I feel confident for tomorrow. It's obviously a long run down to Turn 1 so it will be even more important to get an even better start.”
With the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit featuring the longest run down to Turn 1 on the Formula 1 calendar, a good getaway at the start of the race will be more crucial than usual in Mexico.
Long enough for drivers behind to establish a potential tow down to turn one, Hamilton played down the slipstream effect, but remains cautious of the two Red Bulls behind who are starting the stickier super soft tyre.
“The tow is very, very minimal here. You saw last year I was right behind him and it didn't make hardly any difference. The tow affect is much smaller here than it is in other circuits, but it's still there and that's why I've got to get a good start.
“They [Red Bull] should be pretty strong in the first lap. They have an advantage in terms of the start, I'm guessing they'll have an advantage of about three metres by Turn 1 with the softer tyre. That's generally the statistic they work on so I've got to try and keep them behind somehow.”
by Josh Kruse