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Lewis Hamilton's hopes of clinching sixth world title suffer setback in Mexico

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of clinching sixth world title suffer setback in Mexico
© Reuters
The Mercedes driver will start only fourth on the grid as he chases a sixth world title.

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of closing out his sixth World Championship in Mexico hit a setback after he qualified only fourth for Sunday's grand prix.

Max Verstappen will start from pole position as he bids for a hat-trick of victories here. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc will join the Red Bull driver on the front row with Sebastian Vettel starting from third.

Hamilton will be crowned king of the world on Sunday if he outscores Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 14 points.

And although he qualified ahead of his only championship challenger – the Finn finishing sixth – Hamilton must be on the podium to stand any chance of moving to within one of Michael Schumacher's record haul.

In a late twist, Bottas crashed out on his final lap, running wide at the final corner. The Mercedes driver hit the wall before smashing into the advertising hoardings.

Bottas took a number of deep breaths on the radio and remained in his car for some moments, but eventually walked away from the accident.

His Mercedes team should be able to repair his car to ensure he lines up from his sixth-place grid slot. But if his mechanics are forced into changing car parts, Bottas could incur a penalty and slip down the grid.

Hamilton's Mercedes machinery is not suited to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez venue, which sits a breathless 2,200 metres above sea level. He finished fourth last year and ninth in 2017, though he won the previous year's race.

The five-time world champion was almost half a second down on Verstappen as the Red Bull driver edged out Leclerc. The young Monegasque finished two tenths off Verstappen's pace.

Lewis Hamilton's car throws up spray on the wet track in Mexico
Lewis Hamilton's car throws up spray on the wet track in Mexico (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

"It's been an interesting day but to come out on top was incredible," said Verstappen after securing only his second career pole.

"The team kept pushing hard, kept bringing new parts to the car and today we showed we are very quick."

Verstappen's surge to the summit of the standings ended Ferrari's run of five poles.

"Red Bull were quick, and particularly Max, but the race is still on tomorrow," said Leclerc. "The start will be very important, and hopefully we can take advantage of our top speed."

Verstappen's team-mate, the London-born Thai Alex Albon, was fifth.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly brushed off a sickness bug which has affected more than 150 members of Formula One's travelling circus to finish 10th.

Home favourite Sergio Perez will have a chance of a points finish after he qualified 11th for Racing Point.

British teenager Lando Norris made it through to Q3 and finished in eighth position, one place behind Carlos Sainz in the sister McLaren.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States24282173
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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