DANIEL Ricciardo has blasted his way past teammate Max Verstappen in a stunning drive to claim pole position at the Mexico Grand Prix.
The Red Bull star sealed a front row lockout for Red Bull, pipping his younger counterpart by less than a tenth of a second.
Red Bull team principle Christian Horner said Ricciardo’s final qualifying lap, by far his best of the entire weekend, came “out of nowhere”.
And the 29-year-old Aussie, months away from jumping ship to Renault, couldn’t quite believe it himself.
“I’m tripping major nut-sack right now … shout out to the team to get a one-two,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports after jumping out of his car.
“I knew it was in there somewhere – I just knew the pace was in the car – Max showed that all weekend.
“I still wasn’t convinced it was the cleanest lap, but I’ve got to relax a little.”
‘I’m tripping major nutsack!’0:00
F1: Daniel Ricciardo gives a great interview after securing pole at the Mexico grand prix ahead of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen.
Ricciardo said the sloppy conditions at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit were some of the “worst” for racing.
“It’s too dry for inters, we’ll just burn ‘em up and we might need them for qualifying,” he said. “But it’s too wet for slicks, even if we go out on the hyper-softs we won’t learn anything. Have to wait for it to rain or dry up more.”
Verstappen was leading the entire weekend before Ricciardo’s spectacular blindside and was was inches from becoming the youngest ever driver to sit atop a Formula 1 grid.
“The whole qualifying was c***,” the 21-year-old said.
It was Red Bull’s first front-row lockout since the 2013 United States Grand Prix.
“All eyes have been on Verstappen, he’s dominated all the sessions but when it mattered most, Ricciardo delivered,” racing expert Martin Brundle said.
The Mexico Grand Prix will almost certainly see the 2018 championship wrap up with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton needing to finish seventh or lower with Sebastian Vettel finishing first to be denied his fifth crown.
Dan the man is top dog this weekend.Source:AFP
MERCEDES AND FERRARI STRAIGHT INTO THE FIGHT ON SUNDAY?
Red Bull, revelling in the high altitude conditions which equalise engine performance, set the tone for the weekend on Friday when they comprehensively outpaced Mercedes and Ferrari in practice.
Although the red and silver cars reduced the deficit in Saturday morning practice and the early stages of qualifying, Red Bull remained a class apart in the final reckoning.
But such is the superior straight-line speed of Mercedes and, in particular, Ferrari that both Verstappen and Ricciardo face intense pressure at the start of Sunday’s race.
“Hamilton and Vettel on the second row, side by side, with more straight-line speed than the Red Bulls in front of them – they’re going to turn up into braking zone into Turn One four abreast I reckon,” predicted Brundle.
In last year’s race, Hamilton clashed with Vettel off the line, but the Mercedes driver is eyeing an aggressive start on Sunday.
“You saw what happened last year with the red car behind,” said Hamilton. “It really depends how we get away but third place is a nice place to start here, you get a good tow from the guys up ahead. I’m going to fighting to at least gain a position but of course I’m aware of the Bulls up ahead.”
Three amigos.Source:Getty Images
— with Sky Sports
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