Lewis Hamilton has revealed he clinched his fifth world championship just days after the death of his grandfather.
Britain's Lewis Hamilton celebrated his fifth Formula One world championship title with two races to spare by finishing fourth in a Mexican Grand Prix won by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
"You can understand his frustration, and hope that this dark cloud that is following him around lifts for the final two races", said the Brit. "I need him at his best to fight him again".
Reflecting on his season Hamilton added: "It has been the toughest year physically, mentally and personally with everything I'm committed to, but I have wonderful support".
He needs only to finish seventh to win a title that would match him with the late Juan Manuel Fangio for second-most in F1 history.
"He has really been the dominant driver this year", said the Austrian.
The Red Bulls got their first front-row pairing since before the era of hybrid engines started in 2014.
Verstappen's day was the opposite to Ricciardo's, with the 21-year-old Dutchman angered by vehicle problems that prevented him from becoming Formula One's youngest ever pole sitter and suffering a sleepless night. He lost it by 0.026 seconds. "It was pretty good for me".
Ricciardo's effort set up what could be his last chance to win for Red Bull. Verstappen is the defending race champion and dominated the three rounds of practice.
Ricciardo then had a disaster start from pole as Verstappen and Hamilton flew past him to lead the way from the Australian and Vettel, who refrained from taking huge risks.
With Verstappen galloping into the distance and Hamilton losing time to his rivals behind, he was the first of the leaders to stop for fresh rubber on lap 11.
Four of the top-five placed cars use Renault engines, but McLaren - the other team on the grid who are powered by the French manufacturer - were nowhere to be seen.
His exit from the race marked the Aussie's eighth retirement this season.
Ricciardo said the sloppy conditions at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit were some of the "worst" for racing. "I'll let Gasly drive the vehicle".
"Those guys (Red Bull) are in a league of their own", he said.
He'll want to be cautious from the start as the cars barrel through the opening long run into the first turn.
That Ferrari calamity started a streak of six wins in seven races for Hamilton, who hit his usual second-half stride.
In a repeat of last year's qualifying session, both Haas drivers dropped out in Q1.
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