Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix as his championship rival Nico Rosberg grabbed a front row spot alongside him in dramatic fashion.
Championship leader Rosberg was unable to match the pace of Hamilton over practice and qualifying, with the German falling behind the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo for much of final qualifying.
Rosberg eventually got the set-up he wanted in his Mercedes and he posted his quickest lap of the weekend on his final effort to grab second.
Hamilton was fastest with a flying lap of 1:18.704, while Rosberg trumped the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo down into third and fourth.
Nico Hulkenberg of Force India bettered the Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel to grab fifth. Hamilton trails Rosberg by 26 points with three Grands Prix remaining.
The world champion must win in Mexico, while Rosberg knows that finishing closest to his teammate in the final three races would be enough to secure his maiden world title.
Speaking after qualifying, Hamilton paid tribute to Rosberg for his persistence in eventually securing a front-row berth after what has been a testing weekend so far.
“He has struggled all weekend, but obviously did the job right at the end,” Hamilton told Sky F1. “He wasn’t happy with the set-up that he had had, and we have identical set-ups now, and then he was able to pull the car round and get a good job in his last lap in Q3.
“He still shows that he’s a great competitor.” Hamilton is 1.40 to win the Mexican Grand Prix while Rosberg is 3.40. Ricciardo can be backed at 10.00 to win the race.