Lewis Hamilton says despite losing out to Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen in qualifying he’s confident he can still challenge for victory at the Mexican Grand Prix but isn’t switching his thoughts to the 2017 F1 world title just yet.

The Mercedes driver can finish as low as fifth to seal a fourth F1 world title in Mexico this weekend, regardless of Vettel’s results, and will start the race from third on the grid after missing out on his final Q3 run.

Hamilton is relishing the battle down to the first turn attacking Vettel and Verstappen on the front row and has confidence in his race pace to challenge for the win at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.

“Congratulations to Sebastian on the 50th pole position, I tried to deny it from him but it wasn’t to be this weekend,” Hamilton said. “I think it was a difficult session in general as it has been a difficult weekend.

“It is very slippery here and some of the issues we’ve got with the car are highlighted here. It is a little bit like Singapore. The gap is only a couple of tenths as I was a couple of tenths up on my last lap but didn’t finish it off.

“Still that is a significant gap and they just did a better job. The car is working well this weekend and we are still in the fight. I think our long run pace is looking better than our qualifying pace.”

Hamilton has reiterated his focus on winning the Mexicna GP rather than sealing the F1 world title but is buoyed by the prospect of celebrating a fourth championship in Mexico.

“Winning here would be incredible,” he said. “Seeing the crowd today, it is such a spectacle here with the camera from above, and it looks incredible. There is a lot of energy in the crowd so to win it on Mexican soil would be pretty neat.

“But I haven’t [thought about the title] and I won’t think about it until I achieve it.”

 

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