First-lap chaos sees Vettel, Hamilton collide, suffer damage (VIDEO)

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Formula 1 title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel came together in the opening lap of Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix in the latest – and seemingly deciding – twist in the championship race.

Vettel took pole on Saturday for Ferrari, knowing he realistically had to win in Mexico to stand any chance of keeping his title hopes alive heading into the final two races of the year. Hamilton, meanwhile, required only a top-five finish to clinch his fourth crown.

Vettel made a flying start from pole, only to come under pressure from Max Verstappen and Hamilton from P2 and P3 on the grid as they used the slipstream down the long front straight.

Verstappen was able to muscle his way past Vettel through Turn 2, with the pair making contact momentarily to break part of the Ferrari driver’s front wing.

While he was able to keep his foot in and fight for position, Vettel soon hit more trouble when Hamilton flew past exiting Turn 3, only for the pair to touch and both suffer damage.

A left-rear puncture forced Hamilton to slow and nurse his car back to the pits, while Vettel sustained severe damage to his front wing, prompting him to come in for a replacement.

The pair were left P19 and P20 at the end of the first lap, but with Vettel needing at least a top-two finish to keep his title hopes alive, the championship looks to have seen its final deciding moment in Mexico.

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

FIA F3 Europe
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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.