Esteban Gutierrez said that he drove "over the limit" during qualifying for his home Grand Prix in Mexico City.
The Haas driver will line up 17th for today's race after a tough qualifying session, although he is ahead of Haas team mate Romain Grosjean who was the slowest of all the drivers to take part in qualifying.
"It’s been quite a challenging weekend for us," said Gutierrez. "Heading into qualifying, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I really gave it my best. I was driving over the limit trying to put everything together for the team and for the fans – they have been incredible."
"I had to try to be aggressive as I knew the lap at the beginning of the run may not have been enough," he said. "Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t, but at least I know I gave it the maximum."
"When I got out of the car, I wasn’t very happy, but walking along the pit lane everybody was cheering, and it was an amazing feeling just to see their support," said the former Sauber driver. "They’ve made a huge difference to our motivation and I really want to thank them all."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing