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Mexico GP: Resilient Hamilton grabs pole position

2016-10-29 21:35

'F1IESTA': Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton will start on pole position for the Mexico Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack . Image: AP / Rebecca Blackwell

Mexico City - Lewis Hamilton continued his fighting late-season defence of his world title by grabbing pole position ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in Saturday's tense qualifying session for Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix.

The defending three-time world champion dominated the session and delivered a best lap in one minute and 18.704 seconds, two-tenths of a second clear of championship leader Rosberg who salvaged a front row starting spot with the last lap of the top-ten shootout action.

Tyre strategy could be key 

Hamilton's success brought him his 10th pole position of the season and the 59th of his career.

Dutchman Max Verstappen looked sure to take second until Rosberg's final fastest effort and he wound up third for Red Bull ahead of his team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

The Red Bull pair will start Sunday's race on super-soft tyres while the Mercedes men will be on ordinary softs, a strategic decision that may create a dramatic opening lap at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Nico Hulkenberg also delivered a spectacular late lap to take fifth place for Force India ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.

More: Mexico GP Qualifying - As it happened

Valtteri Bottas was eighth ahead of his Williams team-mate Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz who was 10th for Toro Rosso.

Rosberg leads the title race by 26 points with three races remaining and knows that if he can win on Sunday and Hamilton scores only one point or less he will take his maiden championship.

Starting grid for Sunday's Mexican GP:

1st row

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)
Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes)

2nd row

Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-TAG Heuer)
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull-TAG Heuer)

3rd row

Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Force India-Mercedes)
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari)

4th row

Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams-Mercedes)

5th row

Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams-Mercedes)
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Toro Rosso-Ferrari)

6th row

Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren-Honda)
Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India-Mercedes)

7th row

Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren-Honda)
Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Renault)

8th row

Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber-Ferrari)
Pascal Wehrlein (GER/Manor-Mercedes)

9th row

Esteban Gutierrez (MEX/Haas-Ferrari)
Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso-Ferrari)

10th row

Felipe Nasr (BRA/Sauber-Ferrari)
Estban Ocon (FRA/Manor-Mercedes)

11th row

Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas-Ferrari)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR/Renault)


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