- Daniel Ricciardo starts on pole, Max Verstappen second
- Lewis Hamilton requires just seventh place or for Sebastian Vettel not to win to secure fifth title
Lap 6 of 71 – Verstappen extends his lead to two seconds
over Lewis Hamilton. Ricciardo third.
Lap 5 of 71 – Verstappen leads
Replays show Bottas and Vettel touching wheels at turn five but it didn’t do either of them any damage.
Lap 4 of 71 – Verstappen extends his lead
Magnussen gets punchy into turn one but outbrakes himself into turn one. Some white smoke coming out the rear of Fernando Alonso’s car, it looks like the engine but it’s actually a bit of Ocon’s front wing…that happened on lap one.
Alonso is out! The front wing part may have got stuck in the radiator. VSC deployed. Time for a pit for the hypersoft runners?
Lap 3 of 71 – Hartley pits on lap one
Verstappen now 1.8s ahead of Hamilton. Obviously this would be good enough for the championship. No need for him to win here. Or even finish on the podium. Bottas jumped Vettel at the start but couldn’t make it stick.
Lap 2 of 71 – Verstappen leads by a second from Hamilton
THE 2018 MEXICAN GRAND PRIX IS GO GO GO!
The frontrunners have to wait an AWFULLY long time for the backmarkers to form up. But form up they do.
Lightning start by Hamilton who jumps Ricciardo and is close to leader Verstappen but the Dutchman leads into turn one! Slow start by Ricciardo who soon has Vettel to deal with. Bottas goes wide through the outside of turn five and six!
Verstappen leads Hamilton who leads Ricciardo and Vettel! All clean on the first lap at the front. But it’s very tight at the back…
Ocon takes on damage to his front wing and pits for a change.
FORMATION LAP IS GO!
Everyone away cleanly. Here’s a clock to signify the time, of course.
A lot of different tyres out there right now. Top six on ultrasofts, used. 7-10 on used hypersofts and then a mixture of new supersofts and new ultrasofts apart from Gasly in 20th on fresh hypersofts? Why? It’s an awful race tyre!
The F1 theme tune is ringing in my ears…
…and I was pretty skeptical at first. But it has grown on me. A lot.
FOUR MINUTES (OR SO) TO GO!
Could there be chaos at the start? I’m calling a lightning Vettel start and contact between the Bulls.
Plenty of eyes on Max Verstappen at the start…
…he won here, convincingly last year. But he also got caught up in some trouble on lap one.
10 minutes until lights out
Higher temps and thinner air mean it’s going to be very hard on engines and brakes. Chances of 20 cars finishing? Slim.
Right here’s the grid top 10
It’s time for the Mexican national anthem
A helicopter flies a huge flag over the track. Moustachioed Chase Carey looks on proudly. The anthem gets a little fanfare of its own which is pretty uplifting, I have to say. As is the anthem itself. Here’s that flag.
It’s time for Brundle’s About…
Or Martin’s Grid Walk as Sky Sports like to call it. He has a chat with NASCAR chap Jeff Gordon and Tommy Hilfiger. Not a huge amount of insight there, but there you go. Hilfiger describes Lewis as also “a great fashion guy”.
It’s a very long run down to turn one…
…the longest of the season, Red Bull are down on straight line speed in comparison to the Ferrari and Mercedes. Will Vettel and Hamilton get a good enough start to make advantage of that tow? It’s a tight opening few corners and there was contact last year. Will we see drama again in 2018? It’s not unlike the two Red Bulls to collide…
We see some footage of Verstappen missing the first turn on his lap to the grid and going over the grass. No real damage but not ideal…
Race strategy for 71-lap #MexicoGP: fastest strategy is a two-stopper. Either: one stint on ultrasoft for 9 laps then two 31-lap stints on supersoft. Or: one stint on hypersoft for 5 laps then two 33-lap stints on supersoft. #F1 (1/1)
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) October 27, 2018
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) October 27, 2018
Good! Something that isn’t just a boring one-stopper for 90 per cent of the field.
What does Lewis Hamilton need to do to become a five time world champion in Mexico?
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50 minute warning until lights out…
Damon Hill is bigging this up as one of the races of the year. We have had a quite a few good ones, thankfully. All in all it has been an exciting and great season. Shame Sebastian Vettel didn’t held up his end of the bargain to make it a bit more interesting at the end of the year. Oh well.
Will Fernando’s Alonso’s departure from the sport be a big loss for F1?
As Lewis Hamilton closes down on his fifth and most impressive F1 drivers’ title in Mexico City, Alonso will be trying his hardest to get his wretched McLaren to a position that it barely deserves. It is a sight tinged with sadness and one F1 fans have grown used to in the Spaniard’s twilight years.
But will F1 really miss Alonso once he finishes his final race in Abu Dhabi? The quickest and shortest answer is yes, of course. The longer answer is “no, but…”.
Your track for today, ladies and gents…
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodgriguez! That long, long run to the first turn is going to be crucial.
It wouldn’t be the Mexican GP without a mariachi band, would it?
Can Daniel Ricciardo have the rest of the grid dancing to his tune today?
Watch Daniel Ricciardo’s fantastic pole position lap
Swipe (or click) right to see both parts.
How do you catch up with Mercedes?
Lewis Hamilton arrives on his microscooter, as is customary
…and wearing a sort-of Day of the Dead-type mask. As is also customary.
Top 10 times from qualifying yesterday
- Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1min 14.759secs
- Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:14.785
- Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:14.894
- Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:14.970
- Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:15.160
- Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:15.330
- Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:15.827
- Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 1:16.084
- Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.189
- Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.513
Ricciardo reacts to his second pole of the season
I knew [a good lap] was there somewhere. We hadn’t had the cleanest laps in practice and I just knew putting the laps together would be crucial, as always.
I knew the pace was in the car as Max had shown all weekend from start to finish, so I knew it was all about putting a clean lap together at the end. I still wasn’t convinced as it wasn’t the cleanest but putting it on pole, I can relax now.
I’m just super happy. It’s been a while since pole. It’s been a while since we had a pretty good weekend in general and we’ve been quick all weekend.
Lewis Hamilton on Mercedes jump in performance from Friday to Saturday
Honestly, it’s night and day difference. Yesterday we really were struggling. FP1 was OK but then once we got to FP2 it was not fun to drive, that’s for sure. There were several different problems on the whole car, mechanical side, aero side, mostly mechanical side and a little bit aero and a little bit on the engine side of things.
So big changes and improvements were made overnight and to come back in today and put us in contention all of a sudden – we didn’t think yesterday with that performance that we would be able to qualify on an ultrasoft, so that would have been a massive disadvantage for us tomorrow if we had to start on the hyper for example.
As soon as we got into qualifying, I knew straight away the way the car’s feeling, I was like, ‘OK we’re in a much stronger position to fight for position’. I’m just glad that I was able to do the job, improve on my second run. Qualifying was pretty good for me.
Good afternoon F1 fans, is today the day Lewis Hamilton secures his fifth world title?
You have to say it looks extremely likely. A seventh place will do it for him and that’s even if Sebastian Vettel wins. Vettel needs to win to have any chance of staying in it until Brazil. The likelihood of Hamilton finishing outside the top seven is slim.
Having said that the last time he did so was at this very grand prix last year, when he also won the title. The fact that Vettel is starting one place behind Hamilton does not help his cause, either. But nothing is certain in F1 and it could get very tasty at the start.
Whilst we have constant grumbles about the format of F1 these days – and some of it is warranted – qualifying seems to work exceptionally well. We had six cars capable of being quick enough to take pole yesterday and that has happened a few times this year. Red Bull were favourite, with Max Verstappen having been quickest in each of the three practice sessions before qualifying.
But it was the Australian Daniel Ricciardo who found enough lap time on his final run in Q3 to displace his team-mate to take his second pole position of the season. It was a little bit surprising, given how infrequently he has qualified behind the Dutchman this year and it left Verstappen a little grumpy afterwards as he barged into the second place marker board on the grid.
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It was Red Bull’s first front row lockout since 2013, the year of their last constructors’ championship. Their car works much better in the high-altitude setting of Mexico City and they made it pay.
The problems for them at the start of the race are a) not tripping over each other b) the advantage Ferrari and Mercedes have in straight line speed on the very long run to turn one. We’ve had trouble there before and we may well do again. Hamilton will not want to get into any trouble.
I’ll be here for the next few hours with all the build-up, live updates and reaction from the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix.
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