Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Ricciardo denies Verstappen his first pole position

2018 Mexican Grand Prix qualifying

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Daniel Ricciardo stunned team mate Max Verstappen by beating him to pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix by two-hundredths of a second.

Verstappen led much of the way throughout qualifying but on the final run of Q3 Ricciardo snatched pole position to lead a one-two for Red Bull.

Championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel share the second row of the grid, followed by their team mates.


The Red Bull and Ferrari drivers needed just a single run for each of their drivers to secure a place in Q2. This was despite the track improving quickly at the end of the session, which allowed the Force India pair to split Vettel from Raikkonen.

Mercedes also did a single run on the softer hyper-soft tyre, but began the session on the harder ultra-softs. After switching to the softer tyres Bottas set the best time of Q1 – and a new track record – lapping the circuit in 1’15.580.

Heading into the final minutes of running Fernando Alonso was under pressure. A lurid snap wide at turn 11 on his first run meant his lap time was deleted. He was among the first to start his final run and briefly leapt to seventh place with a clean lap, and despite slipping down the order stayed safe to reach Q2 for the first time in four races.

Team mate Stoffel Vandoorne, however, was a tenth of a second behind his team mate which was enough for him to miss the cut. Neither Williams driver ever looked like getting through, and both Haas drivers dropped out as they had last year.

It was a close thing for Romain Grosjean, however. He was within five hundredths of a second of beating Charles Leclerc to the final place in Q2 after the Sauber driver made a mistake in the middle sector of his fastest lap.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’16.911
17Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’16.966
18Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’17.599
19Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’17.689
20Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’17.886

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The hyper-soft tyres had fallen apart after a few laps during the heat of Friday practice so few drivers were willing to risk starting the race on them. Sure Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all sent their drivers out on ultra-softs.

Force India too were minded to avoid the hyper-softs. Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon joined the track on super-softs but could only manage 12th and 13th. And one of the drivers behind them was Pierre Gasly, whose 20-place grid penalty meant he had no reason to run at all.

So for the final runs Force India switched to the ultra-softs, the front-runners returned to the track on hyper-softs to cover themselves and the remaining runners put on fresh sets of hyper-softs too.

Esteban Ocon got himself up to 11th, putting Alonso’s McLaren between himself and Sergio Perez. Brendon Hartley ran wide at turn 12 and ended up 14th. Renault and Sauber kept their places in the lower reaches of the top 10, while none of the front-runners needed to improve their times, ensuring they will all start on ultra-softs.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’16.844
12Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’16.871
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’17.167
14Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’17.184
15Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-HondaNo time

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Ferrari were quick in the first sector. Vettel thundered down the long straight at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and was nearly three-tenths of a second quicker than anyone besides his team mate. He clung to that advantage as best he could over the rest of the lap.

Hamilton came close to beating him, setting the fastest times in the second and third sectors but ending up five hundredths of a second shy of his championship rival.

Verstappen had been consistently the quickest driver in the final sector, but Hamilton had found a way to keep his tyres alive until the end of the lap, and around the final corners the Red Bull was only fractionally quicker. It was enough, however, to tip the Red Bull ahead – by almost two-tenths of a second at the chequered flag. Ricciardo slotted in fourth ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen.

When the final runs began it seemed no one could find a way to improve. Neither Ferrari driver found any further time and nor did Verstappen, who had led all three practice sessions as well as Q1.

But Ricciardo had something up his sleeve. He entered the final sector fractionally down on Verstappen, but took four-hundredths off his team mate in the final part of the lap to grab pole position by 0.026 seconds.

Top ten in Q3

1Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’14.759
2Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’14.785
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’14.894
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’14.970
5Valtteri BottasMercedes1’15.160
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’15.330
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’15.827
8Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’16.084
9Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’16.189
10Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’16.513

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2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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86 comments on “Ricciardo denies Verstappen his first pole position”

  1. Was this the last chance for Max to become the youngest ever pole sitter?

    1. The last realistic one, yeah. Abu Dhabi and Interlagos too (same for Leclerc). Neither seems particularly realistic. Which only adds to the layers of irony and tension here. Gotta love F1.

      1. A wet Interlagos might well do it

        1. nah a wet interlagos Hamilton takes it

          1. Maybe we’ll see (if it happens to be wet) but let me remind you, Interlagos historically is not L. Carl Davidson H’s strongest circuit: he has finished there 7th (2007), 5th (08, but this one made him WDC), 3rd (09), 4th (10) DNF (11 & 12), 9th (13) 2nd (14 & 15), 1st (16) and 4th (17). So, one of his worst circuits, if not the worst. Ironically, Brazil 2016 (his only win there so far) will be remembered by one of the most astonishing wet drives in recent history, by some other guy whose name is M. Emilian V (and I’m not seeing orange, really).

          2. Are we supposed to think you’re clever that you googled some drivers middle names, or is this a racist “slave name” thing?

          3. While race result-wise Interlagos might be one of the worst circuit for Lewis, he never really has a problem with his pace there, especially on one lap needed for qualifying. Last year qualy incident is just another weird incident and we know it’s not because he’s desperate to push it really too far because it’s still on Q1.

          4. Will Jones – Wow… where did that come from…!?

    2. @johnmilk possibly a wet qualifying at Interlagos, though feel Hamilton would take some beating in the wet

      1. @burden93, I’d agree that wet conditions would probably be more advantageous to Hamilton and Mercedes, as the current Red Bull chassis hasn’t looked that competitive in wet conditions. We saw how they really struggled in Hungary on a wet track there, and in the more slippery conditions in Q3 in Japan, Red Bull seemed to slip back again from the two Mercedes drivers.

        If anything, if it were to rain in Interlagos, Red Bull might be more worried about a threat from the midfield pack instead – we saw how Renault managed to outqualify the Red Bull’s in fully wet conditions in Hungary and that the cold conditions of Baku saw them challenge Red Bull there too, and Hulkenberg does seem to be something of an Interlagos specialist (particularly in mixed conditions). Red Bull would probably prefer it if it stays dry, and they’ll just have to hope that they can wring the maximum out of the car in the middle sector to compensate for any potential deficiencies around the rest of the lap.

    3. Genuine crying shame if so – the guy is crazy but he should have had a pole by now.

      1. @nullapax

        Yes he should have a pole by now but losing out a pole to a guy genuinly beating him is not a shame.

        1. Not a personal shame – I meant unfair / undeserved / a bad reflection on his abilities.
          He needs to mature – I am not his biggest fan – but he has the gift.

      2. id say he “could have”, not should have. Ricciardo beat him in the “could have” moments, so there is no should have, wasn’t good enough.

    4. You just know Hamilton would be on pole in Max’s Red Bull.

      1. I know we’re supposed to be encouraging ‘youngsters’ to F1… but this, surely, isn’t what was intended… lol…!

      2. You know Verstappen would be champion already in the Mercedes 😉

  2. Not bad for a number 2 driver!

    1. Hes better than most number 1 drivers on the grid.

      1. all except maybe Alonso if you ask me

      2. Better than most number 1s on the grid? He’s better than the guy in the same team.

        1. hyoka
          Agree with you and a lot of others do also.
          What a qualy ALO had today!!

        2. This time he is.. by 0.026 of a second.
          But deserved .

  3. That came out of nowhere. The lack of pace of Haas, though. I didn’t see that coming at all.

    1. I saw it coming, most seasons they start of good, and get worse as the years goes on. Australia is the highlight of their year usually.

      1. So how many years go in a single season in orange lala-land?

    2. Not really. They struggled in Mexico last year as well.

  4. Seems every time Max has a shot someone just edges him to it. You reckon his last chance of getting youngest pole sitter would be a wet Brazilian qualifying.

    Really pleased for Ricciardo, could be red bull fireworks tomorrow in front of Hamilton and Vettel. Turn 1 will be fun, odds on for a crash

    1. Have that same feeling: max getting the better getaway or slipstream and then both not wanting to give up position

  5. Who was it on sky that predicted that in FP3? Johnny Herbert or Paul Di Resta, said he’d be behind all weekend then beat him by a whisker on the last Q3 lap.

    1. Ric seems to be at his best when he needs to prove a point. And what with all the back and forth this season, you have to wonder what he can do with that attitude next season.

      1. @hahostolze
        He has been needing to prove hes point for a long while now im not so sure thats it.

        1. Ric hasn’t outqualified Verstappen since Monaco. The moment he manages it is the exact moment that a Red Bull is the fastest car and Verstappen can get a new record. I think there’s something in that which can account for a tenth here or there.

          1. Possibly, Verstappen feeling way to secure might also be a part of it. Daniel came from nowhere and Verstappen wasnt happy with anything looking for stuff to blame in the interview.

          2. Hasn’t outqualified VER since Monaco, really?? So whenever VER gets to ‘outqualify’ RIC bc of an engine penalty or some other (tech-induced) issue, you happily put one on VERs tally, but whenever RIC beats VER, even on merit, like in just last weekend in the US, you don’t. You guys are just too awful, hahahahahhaaha. You simply stop counting whenever RIC beats your idol, hahahahhahaha.

            Since Monaco it has been like this:
            VER: Can, Fra, Austria (including tow from RIC), Bel, Sin
            RIC: Rus, USA, Mex
            So 5-3, not the ususal 12-0 or 11-1 I always see popping up from your orange loudmouths.

            Every other comparison in quali is futile bc of the aforementioned issues.

            Seriously, when will these guys like hahostolze stop making things up?? Every single article is full of lies and other orange-biased propaganda.
            Say ziggooooooooooooooooo, hahahahhahhaah.

          3. ok… This is one of the rare cases where Ricciardo is properly faster than Verstappen, put whatever stats you like to that but it wont change anything.

          4. @rethla
            Nor does your orange propaganda. Everybody can look those stats up. They won’t find anything lied in there. VER beats RIC in quali in about the ratio 3:2. I know this comes as a shocker to you. That’s the power of media and not willing to engage into some critical thinking of yourself.
            Now say ziggoooooooooooooooooooooooooo

          5. Hi krxx – are you going to be a plonker all your life…? lmao.

    2. @hugh11
      After practices, it was clear that Hulk, Ricciardo and Alonso will lose to their teammates. And then qualification happened.

  6. Will Red Bull go Team Orders?
    And if so will Danny Ric comply?

    1. No, but I think he will have the worst strategy of the 2 red bulls

      1. It would be pretty outrageous if red bull pitted max before ricciardo

    2. Why would they?

      1. There would be no point at this stage in the season Haho I agree, but Max is Red Bulls boy and tomorrow could be a golden time to cement that in everyones mind.

        Red Bull mean business.
        Max means business

        Dan has had enough of both I reckon and is walking away from them, why wouldn’t he mess them about?

        1. I think Red Bull love and appreciate Ric, have little reason to rob him of a result IF he does end up deserving it tomorrow. Maybe I’m naive.

          1. They should love and appreciate him – he has done wonderful things with their car.

            Let’s see what he does with it tomorrow.

      2. Max is favored by Helmut for sure. So that can give Max a win due to better strategy. However both Ferrari and Merc showed great race pace so Vettel and Hamilton can spoil the party.

    3. On the other hand Ricciardos PU might suddenly give up….

    4. They have no reason for team orders. None of their drivers are in contention for the championship.

    5. @nullapax I can see them telling a Red Bull who is 2nd after first lap to not attack and keep the position. This is RB’s best chance to score 1-2 for a while. Will an order like that work, though, is a whole different thing.

      1. Both Red Bull drivers are real honest racers – all bets are off ;)

      2. Multi 333, multi 333


    6. Wouldn’t be surprised if there is a “miscue” such as stupid pit strategy (most likely), a bad start due to clutch issue or another engine failure.
      I wouldn’t put anything past Marko due to his bitterness towards RIC.

      1. I’ve always thought this about Sharko…

  7. What a lap from Hulk, 5 tenths behind Raikkonen

  8. Just saw the pole lap. Stunning lap!!!!

  9. Ricciardo always reminds me of Senna and Prost in the late 80s early 90s. Verstappen reminds me more of a Ralf Schumacher/Michael Schumacher. Ricciardo really comes to the fore when a result is there to be taken, all his wins and poles are proof of that, I don’t think any of the field of f1 drivers could have achieved better in Red Bull then Ricciardo has.

    1. Hard to see how can a driver reminds you of both Senna and Prost, they were so different. Max does remind me of Senna a bit with his devil-may-care, ever bullying attitude (and his skill in the wet), and Dan reminds me of Prost, fast but with plenty of finesse

      1. Indeed, the comparison is one of the weirdest ever. Also to liken Ralf with MSCH. With all due respect, Ralf wasn’t even close to his brother when talking racing; not in terms of results, not in terms of style.
        Must be some ziggo-comparison.

    2. Ricciardo really comes to the fore when a result is there to be taken

      Maybe so, and taking nothing away from his pole today, but the point is to come to the fore when the going isn’t so good. And that’s what Verstappen has been showing this season much more than Ricciardo. A good lesson for Verstappen, though, maybe a touch overconfident and unprepared for Ricciardo suddenly showing his own pace finally.

      1. So your advice to HAM would be to just let it go. You orange FBoys are the worse, hahahahhahahahah.

        1. worst.

          1. A 12 year old who can check his own spelling. Impressive.

          2. Hahhahahahha.. sad, really, really, really sad.

            1) Ever heard of technology?
            2) It happens here all the time, everybody knows the reason(s) and nobody comments on it, except for david-br, a full-grown man.

            BTW, you’re finished posting comments making up excuses for Max and having a dig at and downplaying RIC?
            Good boy.

          3. krxx – any chance of growing up before next season…? Please…

            Or become a ‘real’ troll – and be ignored…?

  10. Max told on Dutch television that he had the same problem with the engine as in FP2 in his last flying lap.

    1. Lacking 80hp?

      1. No power at all. Great lap.

  11. Yes nice to get a pole but lets see what the race brings, less than a second between 1st and 6th.

    1. +1 It’s the race that counts and it seems really close. Even less than 0.6s. It’s gonna be all about the start, race management and (incident induced) strategy calls.

  12. If you’re calm and collected after losing out on these terms you might as well be Valtteri Bottas.

  13. One of the best pilots of today, Ricciardo, put in his place to CrashMax the star made by the media by “suggestion” of the owners of the circus, a driver who drives fast but which is totally unsporting, dirty, without rules.

    1. And I hoped that with Alonso retiring you would stop your moaning as well.

      1. Take a trip back through the history of the comments on this site sometime, the usual suspects have always moaned and been, well, weird, long before their mancrush of the moment was in the sport. It’s nothing to do with the subject of their usual moans and everything to do with them, and their longstanding mental health issues.

        1. That would explain it, @sleepywill.
          But maybe I’m moaning too much about people moaning and need to visit a health professional as well ;)

  14. I noticed that Ricciardo couldn’t get his helmet off due to the size of his grin ;)

    1. Hopefully there’ll be a Danny Ric shoey on the podium.

  15. I’m wondering how much Max cares about the “youngest polesitter” record? I mean obviously he wants to be on pole wherever possible, and he was pretty disappointed today to lose out but he already holds the more impressive record of being the youngest race-winner by a long mile, and considering how they’ve restructured the super-license points it’s pretty likely that record will stand for at least as long as he’s alive, if not literally forever. I just feel like if I were him that record wouldn’t mean that much.

  16. Prediction: If Max send a 50-50 passing move into a corner on lap 1, Daniel won’t be backing down, Hamilton to be gifted the lead by lap 2.

    1. @emu55 Daniel will be safe as long as it isnt pinnball Vettel diving into turn one ;)

  17. Bwahahaha.
    Long live the Honey Badger!

  18. I thought Vettel did well to be 2 tenths off pole in the clear 3rd best car.

    Mega lap from Ricciardo. You could imagine what Ricciardo and Verstappen would do if they had a car equal to the Mercedes.

  19. VER is crying like a baby….. Great job, Dan!

  20. The maturity some of these comments have reminds me of motorsport.com :|

Comments are closed.