F1:Lewis Hamilton outqualifies Sebastian Vettel in Mexico

Hamilton says Red Bull are 'out of reach'

Still, the 21-year-old Verstappen was fuming after missing his chance to be the youngest driver to earn pole position in F1 history - by 0.026 seconds.

"We didn't have the cleanest run through practice and I knew putting a lap together would be crucial as always, I knew the pace was in the vehicle, obviously Max showed that from start to finish". "We hadn't had the cleanest laps in practice and I just knew putting the laps together would be crucial as always". It is the first time Ricciardo out-qualified Verstappen on a penalty-free weekend for Red Bull since his last pole position, at May's Monaco Grand Prix, which he won.

"It's too early to say it's just going to be a race between each other, as nice as that would be", Ricciardo said.

"I am really happy with it", Hamilton said after his Mercedes team had been well off the pace in practice on Friday.

"Those guys (Red Bull) are in a league of their own", he said.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who needs to outscore Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by five points to take his fifth title, was fifth ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas with Vettel seventh and his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen eight.

In recent weeks, Ricciardo has been beset with a raft of vehicle issues, with his early retirement from last weekend's U.S. Grand Prix leading Horner to question why Renault was continuing to allow his run of reliability issues given his imminent move from Red Bull in 2019. Vettel and Hamilton came to blows on the opening lap of last year's race in Mexico, and with the Red Bulls on the front row, with the two title contenders just behind, Turn 1 on Sunday could be the best of the year so far.

Force India's Q2 gamble: Esteban Ocon's radio message at the end of Q2 confirmed Force India's preference not to qualify inside the top ten: "Good job - that's what we targeted, right?" "After his bad luck, I'm so happy for him".

"This is a great day for us", Hamilton declared after qualifying.

"We'll see tomorrow. I'll drive around [the problems]".

"The Red Bulls, they are very fast, they will be hard to beat - maybe they'll beat themselves", joked Vettel. "I think the Red Bulls with the Renault (engines) made a step forwards".

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