Ricciardo pips Verstappen for Mexico GP pole

Hamilton says Red Bull are 'out of reach'

"If I get a good tow and there's an opportunity to overtake, I'm going to take it. I hope that this kicks in soon, I'm definitely getting more excited as I think about it more".

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 awesome support".

Starting third, he immediately jumped past Daniel Ricciardo at the start but tyre issues saw both Mercedes cars struggle and Hamilton dropped back to finish fourth - enough to earn 12 points. "It was the goal when I won the championship past year". It is not over for me. "We were struggling, both Valtteri and I, and I was just trying to hold on and bring the auto home". "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. We've called a bit back on the power unit but still there is a deficit so we're not in a happy place", said team boss Toto Wolff. "I don't know if that comes with age but I am sure experience helps and I feel like I have performed my best this year". "I congratulated him, asked him to keep pushing next year and we'll fight him again".

"Number five is something incredible". We had our chances, we used majority but some we did not. I was really working my way up.

The championship leader got a helping hand at Sochi Autodrom from his Mercedes colleague as Bottas was ordered to move aside and allow Hamilton to win and open up a 50-point advantage over Vettel. Hamilton is on 71 victories; Schumacher won 91.

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He told David Coulthard post-race: "It's a unusual feeling right now".

Ricciardo has achieved a lot in his time with Red Bull: seven victories in a auto that has rarely been the best is an impressive effort. "You never know what is around the corner and up ahead of you. I still wasn't convinced, it wasn't the cleanest (lap), but once I heard I got pole I got to relax a little", added the Australian, who is leaving Red Bull for Renault at the end of the year.

"Thanks, legends", shouted a wildly happy Ricciardo over team radio before adding later: "I knew it was in there somewhere - I just knew the pace was in the auto - Max showed that all weekend. I hope you are having a great weekend and I hope the rest of 2018 is an awesome year for you".

And Mercedes had a pre-recorded message from another celebrity to once again mark the 33-year-old Brit's achievement. "Deserves all the credit Mercedes is giving him and more..."

Ricciardo's needed boost Daniel Ricciardo, right, topped qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.

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