Verstappen top in Mexico first practice

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Speaking about his approach to the start of the Grand Prix with the long 900 meter run down to turn one, Hamilton admitted that he has one eye on the championship rather than the Grand Prix saying, "We saw what happened previous year with the red auto behind, so I don't know". It's also Ricciardo's first pole since his victory in Monaco. "We had a hard day yesterday and it was a big improvement today so obviously, yesterday we were much, much further back so I wasn't expecting to be up as high as we got but the team did a great job last night in analyzing and moving forward today. I'm tripping major nut sack right now", he said.

Verstappen was rather less excited.

"The whole qualifying was cr*p", he said.

"We had the same problems from practice yesterday". "We tried to make the best of it, I thought we had enough but it's still good to be second".

Hamilton will start third, knowing he can let the Red Bull cars go off and running while he coasts his Mercedes to the finish line.

Red Bull's Christian Horner is hoping for the best when the lights go off in Mexico but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is expecting the worse on the run through Turn 1 after the start.

"Yesterday was alright, so we'll see what happens", concluded Vettel, who notably has never finished on the podium in Mexico City.

The German, 70 points behind Hamilton with only 75 to play for, finished fourth, 1.23 seconds slower than the speedy Red Bulls.

"It was like this in the past years and I think the Red Bull with the Renault have made a step forward".

The 800-yard dash to the opening bend is the longest on the calendar and past year Vettel collided with Hamilton at the third bend.

"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".

"They are fragile as hell as we can see, and it will be about making sure we have a strategy that can stay ahead of the Ferrari and Mercedes".

Fernando Alonso had been eliminated from first qualifying at the previous three races, but the soon-to-be-departing double world champion provided some respite for McLaren by qualifying 12th.