Mexican GP: Will Max Verstappen make history by landing pole?
Red Bull fastest in Friday practice before late car scare; Verstappen can become youngest pole-sitter in history; Qualy underway at 7pm
Last Updated: 27/10/18 7:32am
Max Verstappen could become the youngest pole-sitter in F1 history at the Mexican GP - if his Red Bull car can last the distance in qualifying.
While Ferrari and Mercedes both struggled, Verstappen topped both of Friday's practice sessions in Mexico GP as Red Bull dominated.
But any euphoria was cut short when Verstappen's car broke down at the end of P2, although Red Bull subsequently played down the significance of the setback.
But it was the size of Red Bull's advantage, standing at almost 1.5 seconds to Carlos Sainz in third and Sebastian Vettel in fourth, which startled the paddock.
"This high altitude tends to even things out a bit because the engines are struggling for air," said Red Bull chief Christian Horner. "We are running the same wing as Monaco and we have the same downforce as Monza."
When's the Mexican GP live on Sky F1?
Sunday's race underway at 7.10pm and exclusively live on Sky Sports F1
Verstappen's explanation for Red Bull's stunning speed was typically straightforward.
"We have a good car, with good downforce and good mechanical grip," Verstappen, who won in Mexico last year, told Sky F1.
"The car was quick here last year but after today I think we are more competitive than 2017.
"I had a small issue with hydraulics at the end but we haven't been able to check the car yet. We are not too concerned ahead of tomorrow, the guys will investigate this evening but hopefully it is a quick fix."
The 21-year-old Dutchman will become the youngest pole-sitter in F1's history if he finishes qualifying on top.
"This is the track with the least sensitivity on engine power, so we expected the Red Bulls to be very strong," reflected Vettel.
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If Vettel fails to win Sunday's race, Hamilton will be crowned champion regardless of where he finishes.
"He's had a torrid time since the summer break," said Horner of his former driver. "But he's not in our car. I just want to see two Red Bull drivers on the podium."
Daniel Ricciardo, just a tenth of a second behind Verstappen, added: "If it stays like this, it's just between us two. But I don't want to be naive. I'm sure Mercedes and Ferrari will come on strong tomorrow. It could be a six-way fight for pole."
Hamilton: Red Bull seem out of our reach
World champion Hamilton was only seventh quickest in P2 and has indicated he believes he will not be able to challenge for victory on a weekend when he will almost certainly be crowned a five-time champion.
The car was good in some places, but not so good in others," said Hamilton. "We've got some ground to catch up on, so we're now going to go through everything in the debrief and look at all the details to find some answers.
"Red Bull seem out of our reach at the moment, Ferrari are right there with us, but we're here to try and compete, so we will do the best we can to have a real race."
What's being said about Red Bull's day of dominance
Hot track and a delicate hyper certainly put cat among pigeons in Friday's P2 at Mexico. Red Bulls dominant, Ferrari and Mercedes nowhere. Renault Sport next best after Red Bull!— Mark Hughes (@SportmphMark) October 26, 2018
Here's a working theory: because cars struggling to get the hyper to even last 1 lap, having a less powerful engine is an advantage! Hence Renault power. Would also explain Hartley's speed in old Spec 2 Honda.— Mark Hughes (@SportmphMark) October 26, 2018
Sky F1's Mexican GP schedule
Saturday, October 27
3.45pm: Practice Three build-up LIVE!
4pm: MEXICAN GP PRACTICE THREE LIVE!
6pm: Qualifying build-up LIVE!
7pm: MEXICAN GP QUALIFYING LIVE!
Sunday, October 28
5.30pm: Pit Lane LIVE!
6.30pm: On The Grid LIVE!
7.10pm: THE MEXICAN GP LIVE!
9.30pm: Paddock Live
Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.