Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes braced for opening lap 'carnage' in Mexico

Vettel getting less flack for mistakes- Verstappen			Image by Hone  LAT

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, looked completely comfortable knowing he's in a ideal spot to win his fifth career Formula One championship.

Verstappen dominated practice and looked primed to become the youngest pole sitter in F1 history.

The other factor is that Vettel must win all three remaining Grand Prix if has a hope of taking title honors for his own and the Ferrari man's task looks hard as he starts directly behind Hamilton in fourth.

"Well the grid has the potential for carnage on the straight and through the first corners, because you have the two Red Bulls who have the least straight line speed on the front row, and then it's us and then the Ferraris are obviously nearly 10 kph up on everyone else. It's been well executed, we just need to convert it [into a win]". "I try to visualise how that could like down the straight [opens arms out wide] and through the first corner, I just hope we come out of it with two cars intact".

But after Sebastian Vettel failed to top Verstappen's time, Ricciardo came storming through in a time of one minute and 14.759 seconds that his team-mate could not top. "Considering how bad yesterday was for us, and so I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who's back at the factory who've been working hard overnight and also the guys here, to rectify the issues we've had and get the auto back into a sweeter spot".

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Ricciardo will leave Red Bull for Renault at the end of the year, yet this was his second pole of the year and he will chase his third win of 2018 on Sunday.

"The whole qualifying was cr*p", he said. I think ... it's having the mindset of really extracting the best performance out of every single day.

"You could hear how happy he was on the slow-down lap, so really pleased for him", Horner said.

What the German won't want to do is repeat the start he made here past year - see video below - when P1 on the grid became eighth by the end of Lap 1 thanks to tangles with Verstappen and Hamilton through the opening turns.

"You have the two Red Bulls, who have the least straight-line speed, in the front row, then it's us and the Ferraris, who are obviously nearly 10kph up to everybody else".

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