A front row start for Vettel tomorrow at the Mexican GP after the German scored his 50th career pole in qualifying today. Verstappen will start from P2, the rest of the top ten comprised of Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ocon, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Sainz and Perez. Hamilton just needs to finish in the top five to claim the championship tomorrow.

Haas, Sauber and Toro Rosso led the field into Q1 followed by the Ferraris and Vandoorne who opted for super softs. First time went to Hartley on 1m19.948s, Raikkonen beat that before the fastest times changed hands among Bottas on ultrasofts, Vettel and Hamilton. The Red Bulls were also on super softs.

The top 12 were safe after the first runs, but Massa, Stroll, Wehrlein, Grosjean, Ericsson, Magnussen and Alonso all went out for the second runs in the final battle for Q2. Alonso however lost power in his McLaren, and Gasly was still in the garage. Eliminated in Q2 were Ericsson, Wehrlein, Magnussen, Grosjean and Gasly.

Vandoorne was first out in Q2, followed by the Mercedes drivers, Hamilton set the clock going only for Bottas to top him on 1m17.161s. Raikkonen went third, Vettel then went fastest but Hamilton’s second run put him on top. At the same time, Hartley lost power in his Toro Rosso, double yellows for that incident prevented some drivers like Sauber from converting purple sectors into good lap times.

The McLarens have big grid penalties this weekend and therefore saving tires was crucial, there was no point of running again. Eliminated in Q2 were Massa, Stroll, Hartley, Alonso and Vandoorne. The top ten comprised of Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Ocon and Perez.

Verstappen led Q3 action, followed by the Mercs, Ricciardo and Raikkonen. Hamilton set the fastest time on 1m16.934s, Bottas locked up and backed out of his lap. Vettel meanwhile took provisional pole by beating Hamilton’s time. Verstappen aborted his first lap, his second one was however fast enough to top Vettel’s. On the final run, Hamilton’s lap was slower than Verstappen’s, and Vettel was on a fast lap that was already quicker than both.

Vettel went ahead to win his 50th pole

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