Mexican GP: A four-way battle into the first corner?
Ricciardo on pole from Verstappen, Hamilton and Vettel on second row; Sunday's race underway at 7.10pm, exclusively live on Sky F1
By Pete Gill and James Galloway in Mexico
Last Updated: 28/10/18 5:57pm
All eyes will be on the first corner of the Mexican GP with F1 fans likely to be treated to a four-driver battle for the lead.
Although Red Bull dominated qualifying, with Daniel Ricciardo just beating team-mate Max Verstappen to pole position, their cars lack the straight-line speed of the Mercedes and Ferrari.
"The grid has the potential for carnage on the straight and through the first corners," predicted Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. "You have the two Red Bulls who have the least straight-line speed on the front row and then it's us, and the Ferraris are almost 10kph up compared to everyone else.
"So I try to visualise how that can look down the straight and through the first corner. I just hope we come out of it with two cars intact."
How top four on grid compared in qualy speed trap?
|Sebastian Vettel||354.2 kph|
|Lewis Hamilton||348.0 kph|
|Max Verstappen||346.5 kph|
|Daniel Ricciardo||341.9 kph|
Title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who collided on the first lap in Mexico a year ago, will line-up on the second row, acutely aware of the opportunity presented by the long run to the first corner.
"We have good straight-line speed so we'll see what we can do into Turn One and then go from there," said Vettel. "The Red Bulls are very fast and hard to beat but maybe they will beat themselves."
When's the Mexican GP live on Sky F1?
Sunday's race underway at 7.10pm and exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Vettel is likely to have been referring to Ricciardo and Verstappen's crash in Azerbaijan in April, which saw both Red Bulls eliminated from the race.
Hamilton, who only needs to finish in the top seven to secure the title, added: "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."
Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle was even more emphatic.
"What a start we're going to have tomorrow," said Brundle.
"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."
How can the Red Bulls stop the Merc and Ferrari?
Adding to the tension and multi-layered storyline, Mexico represents Red Bull's best chance of victory in the remaining 2018 races - and has done for several months.
"We put a lot of emphasis on this race because we knew this was our big chance," team boss Christian Horner told Sky F1. "We've converted half of it by locking out the front-row. Now we just have to convert it tomorrow."
Horner joked he would order Ricciardo and Verstappen to conduct "synchronised driving" into the first corner to block out Hamilton and Vettel.
"Those Ferrari and Mercedes cars are so strong in a straight line that they will have to be more focused on what those guys are doing than themselves," he said. "We will discuss all these things in the morning briefing.
"They will be free to race but they have to keep it clean. They are both part of the team and they have to keep that in mind."
Meanwhile, Hamilton says he won't drive cautiously at the start of the race in order to protect his world championship advantage.
"If you go easy, you can get hit," said Hamilton. "If you go too aggressive, you can hit or still get hit. You've got to race it like normal and go in for the win. That's what I'm going to be doing. I mean, that's what we're here to do, to race."
Sky F1's Mexican GP schedule
Sunday, October 28
5.30pm: Pit Lane LIVE!
6.30pm: On The Grid LIVE!
7.10pm: THE MEXICAN GP LIVE!
9.30pm: Paddock Live
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