Mexico City - World champion elect Lewis Hamilton said he was looking forward to an exciting fight with both Ferraris and Red Bull's pole sitter Max Verstappen despite qualifying back in fourth for Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who can clinch his sixth world title if he outscores Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 14 points in Sunday's race, said he had hoped to qualify in third position before Bottas' crash in the final seconds.
Bottas was severely shaken, but climbed out of his wrecked car and was transferred to the circuit medical centre.
He qualified sixth, making it unlikely that the drivers' title race will be settled on Sunday.
"I think third place was possible, but the last sector went to pot (when it was controlled by double yellow flags) so that was it," said Hamilton.
"Generally, I was quite happy with today. I knew it would be difficult, but I have a fighting position and I am going to give it everything.
"Red Bull look very quick on the long runs and I think it will be about seeing if their tyres last - that is going to be the name of the game in this race. I am really looking forward to the fight."