The seven-time world champion was fastest in the first two parts of qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez but his hopes of taking a first pole position of 2022 were ultimately dashed in Q3. 

Hamilton recovered from having his first lap deleted for track limits to take third, 0.05s slower than Mercedes teammate George Russell and 0.304s adrift of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen

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The Briton was heard reporting a problem with his engine during the final part of qualifying and reckons it cost him critical time in the hunt for pole. 

“It was generally a really good qualifying session,” said Hamilton. 

“We had some problems towards the end with the engine in Q3, so I think there was definitely a bit of performance left on the table with that, unfortunately, but I did the best I could. 

“Losing that first lap definitely made that last one very, very difficult. I had to be very reserved on that last lap just to make sure that it was clean, because I was a tenth up into that point. 

“Unfortunately not able to push as hard as I would have liked but nevertheless I think this is a great result, second and third. 

“It’s not a bad position to start and I hope we can fix the engine issue for tomorrow.”

Asked to explain the engine problem in more detail, Hamilton said: “It started to appear in Q2 and then it was every run in Q3. 

“I was basically dropping out of power on exits of corners, so I definitely think we were losing quite a bit of time out of the last corner and most of the corners. 

“Not really sure what was happening but it felt like an ignition issue. But I’ll find out from the team.” 

Hamilton will line up from third on the grid, a position the last two races in Mexico City have been won from. 

Unusually, pole in Mexico is considered something of a disadvantage due to the long run down to Turn 1, which Hamilton will be looking to take advantage of on Sunday. 

“Naturally it’s always a tough race around here, with the track temperatures and tyres, but these guys [Red Bull] have been rapid all year long,” Hamilton said when asked if he could fight for the win from third. 

“Even when we are at our best this weekend, we are still losing out to them in straightline speed, so it will definitely be difficult to get by tomorrow. But we’ll give it our best shot. Turn 1 is an opportunity, so we’ll go for it.”