Verstappen, 21, had dominated all weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but he was beaten in the dying moments by Ricciardo, the Australian claiming his first pole at a track other than Monaco and only the third of his career.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo snatched pole position from teammate Max Verstappen at the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday, while Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton sits in ideal position in third to win his fifth career Formula One championship. "I try to visualise how that could like down the straight [opens arms out wide] and through the first corner, I just hope we come out of it with two cars intact".
Verstappen fumed as Ricciardo celebrated, but Hamilton - in third - was considerably happier as he qualified ahead of title rival Vettel to edge towards the drivers' championship.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are wary of a repeat of last year's chaos at the opening few corners of the Mexican Grand Prix. "It's been well executed, we just need to convert it [into a win]". "Considering how bad yesterday was for us, and so I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who's back at the factory who've been working hard overnight and also the guys here, to rectify the issues we've had and get the auto back into a sweeter spot".
"The whole qualifying was crap", the deflated Dutchman said. I think ... it's having the mindset of really extracting the best performance out of every single day.More news: Florida man arrested in connection with pipe bomb packages
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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.
"I'm really, really happy with it", said Hamilton.
Immediately after qualifying, Hamilton was asked if he would take a cautious approach to Turn 1, and replied: "Well you saw what happened a year ago with the red auto behind, so I don't know. You get a nice tow from the guys up ahead so naturally I'm going to be fighting to at least gain a position but of course I'm aware of the Bulls ahead".
Hamilton suggested Mercedes allowed itself to be influenced by Vettel's position in the last race at Circuit of The Americas rather than focusing on simply getting the best race result, and even with only a top-seven finish required for Hamilton to become champion, Wolff insists the bigger title picture should not come into Mercedes' thinking.