Sebastian Vettel snatches pole from Max Verstappen in Mexico
Mexican Grand Prix - Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel snatches pole from Max Verstappen in Mexico

Sebastian Vettel snatched pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix with a remarkable qualifying lap in the dying moments of the session to beat Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time.

A scintillating lap from Verstappen appeared to be enough for the 20-year-old's maiden pole position, but Vettel turned in an equally impressive effort as the clock expired to take the 50th of his career. Vettel had the fastest time in all three sectors despite a moment in Turn 6 and crossed the line with a 0.086s margin over the Red Bull. Verstappen was 0.360s clear of championship leader Hamilton in second.

Although Hamilton only needs fifth place on Sunday to be crowned champion, he is targeting a win this weekend and now has his work cut out from the second row of the grid. The Mercedes driver lost time in all three sectors and did not hook up his best three individual sectors in a single lap, leaving him 0.446s off Vettel in the final classification. His fastest lap was only 0.024s faster than Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who had it all to do on his final run after aborting his first attempt following his near miss with Verstappen.

Kimi Raikkonen was a distant fifth, 0.750s off his Ferrari teammate on pole position, and just 0.199s ahead of a remarkable lap from Esteban Ocon in the Force India. Daniel RIcciardo also had a poor session -- 0.873s off his Red Bull teammate Verstappen -- and only secured seventh place from Renault's Nico Hulkenberg by 0.019s. Carlos Sainz took ninth place in the second Renault ahead of home hero Sergio Perez who set a time 0.370s off his Force India teammate Ocon and had to settle for tenth.

The two Williams drivers took 11th and 12th on the grid, but were the only two of the five drivers eliminated in Q2 to set a lap time. Brendon Hartley suffered an engine issue on his flying lap, meaning he did not set a time in Q2 and will start 13th. Both McLarens made it out of the first session of qualifying but opted not to set times in Q2 due to grid penalties for engine changes on both cars.

Stoffel Vandoorne will go to the very back of the grid with a 35-place penalty where he will be joined by Pierre Gasly, who failed to set a time at all in qualifying after an engine issue in final practice that also resulted in a 15-place grid penalty. Fernando Alonso will start 18th, just ahead of Gasly, with a 20-place penalty from 14th on the grid, but will be disappointed after setting the fifth fastest time in Q1.

The two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein beat both Haas cars in the battle at the back of the grid, meaning they will line up 14th and 15th once McLaren's grid penalties are applied. Romain Grosjean complained of poor preparation of his tyres due to an issue on his outlap, but he was still over half a second off a place in Q2 in Haas' worse qualifying performance of the season.

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