Daniel Ricciardo charged to his third Formula 1 pole position after edging out Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen by a slender margin in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday.

Having seen Verstappen lead all three practice sessions and set the provisional pole time in Q3, Ricciardo managed to dig deep with his final lap in qualifying to snatch pole position away from his teammate.



Ricciardo’s time of 1m14.759s saw him edge out Verstappen by just 0.026 seconds, with the Dutchman failing to improve on his final lap of the session, causing him to miss out on becoming F1’s youngest ever pole-sitter.

It marked Red Bull’s first front row lock-out in the V6 hybrid era, with its last coming at the 2013 United States Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton took another step towards sealing his fifth world title by qualifying third for Mercedes, finishing one-tenth of a second behind the Red Bulls. Hamilton managed to squeeze past championship rival Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth, a further eight-hundredths of a second behind. Hamilton only requires a top-seven finish on Sunday to clinch his fifth F1 drivers’ crown.

Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen took fifth and sixth for Mercedes and Ferrari respectively, both having failed to match their teammates for pace.

Renault finished as the best of the rest with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. finishing seventh and eighth. The duo were trailed by the Sauber pair of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson, who delivered the team its second double Q3 result of the season.

Force India tried getting both its drivers through to Q3 on Ultrasofts to gain a tyre advantage for the start, but fell short as both Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were eliminated in Q2, finishing 11th and 13th respectively. Both will however have a free choice of starting tyre on Sunday.

Fernando Alonso led McLaren’s charge in 12th place, splitting the Force Indias, while Brendon Hartley lagged to P14 after a mistake-laden final lap in Q2. He finished just one place ahead of Pierre Gasly, who opted not to set a time in the session as a result of his engine penalty that resigns him to the back of the grid.

For the second year running in Mexico, Haas suffered a double-Q1 drop-out as Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified 16th and 18th respectively. Both drivers failed to find enough time on their final Q1 runs as track evolution allowed for big gains, causing them to be eliminated. Grosjean will serve a three-place grid penalty carried over from Austin on Sunday.

Stoffel Vandoorne was another man caught out by the rapid improvements, falling from P9 to P17 in the dying stages of Q1. While it continued his streak of Q1 knockouts, it nevertheless marked Vandoorne’s best qualifying result since Hungary.

Williams once again propped up the running order in qualifying as Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin finished 19th and 20th respectively, although both will rise up the grid as a result of Gasly’s engine penalty.

The Mexican Grand Prix is live from 1:10pm local time (7:10pm GMT) on Sunday.


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