A dominant Lewis Hamilton delivered another crushing display over his title rival Nico Rosberg to secure pole position for the championship-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton was in a field of one under the floodlights at the Yas Marina Circuit to finish more than three tenths of a second ahead of Rosberg.
But the German, who is 12 points ahead of Hamilton, will join his Mercedes team-mate on the front row, and should he finish in the top three tomorrow evening, he will be crowned world champion.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line as the best of the rest to line up in third with Kimi Raikkonen fourth on the grid for Ferrari.
Formula One's parent company paid just £5.2m in corporation tax last year - on profits of some £372.3m, ITV News has found.Read the full story ›
Jenson Button will treat Sunday's final race of the season in Abu Dhabi as his last in Formula One.
The 36-year-old British driver has still not completely ruled out a return in 2018, but it looks increasingly likely that Sunday's race will be his swansong.
"I go into this weekend thinking it's my last race," Button said at the press conference ahead of the race.
"At this moment in time I don't want to be racing in F1 beyond this race."
Button had already announced that he will take up an ambassadorial role for McLaren next year with the British team's highly-rated reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne partnering Fernando Alonso.
McLaren has an option for Button, who has competed in more than 300 grands prix, to return to their race set-up in 2018, but it is one which is largely viewed as an insurance policy should Alonso walk away from the British constructor.
Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson has been retained by Sauber for the 2017 season. He joined the Swiss team in 2015.
Sauber's announcement ahead of this week's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix leaves just three seats available on the grid next year.
The identity of Ericsson's team-mate, currently the Brazilian Felipe Nasr, remains unclear while Manor are also yet to determine their line-up for 2017.
"It is great news that I will be racing for another year for the Sauber F1 Team," Ericsson said.
Lewis Hamilton kept his slim championship hopes alive by claiming pole position for Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix ahead of his title rival Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg, 26 points ahead of Hamilton in the title race, arrived here in Mexico knowing that a win tomorrow, and 10th or lower for Hamilton, would be enough for him to clinch the championship.
But the German, who has been strangely out of sorts this weekend, was staring at a disappointing fourth on the grid only to save his very best lap of the weekend until the closing moments to join Hamilton on the front row.
The Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start from third and fourth respectively.
A member of Lewis Hamilton's world championship-winning Mercedes F1 team has been robbed at gunpoint ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.
The incident, which reportedly involved two gunmen, occurred as the individual was travelling in a chauffeur-driven vehicle from Mexico City Airport to the team's hotel on Wednesday.
While both the member of the Mercedes team, who was not wearing branded apparel, and driver were unhurt in the ordeal, the incident is likely to raise security concerns ahead of Sunday's race.
"A team member was robbed while travelling from the airport towards the city on Wednesday when in heavy stationary traffic," a Mercedes spokesperson told Press Association Sport.
"Wallets and watches were taken and there were no physical injuries, but they were a little shaken up for obvious reasons."
The spokesperson declined to elaborate on whether the team would take further safety precautions, and that the Mercedes personnel was unnamed but not of high profile.
Nico Rosberg deserves to beat Lewis Hamilton to this year's world championship, according to Red Bull prodigy Max Verstappen.
Rosberg, 31, is on the brink of claiming his first world title after moving 26 points clear of Hamilton with only three rounds remaining.
And while Hamilton was faster than Rosberg in both practice sessions in Mexico City on Friday, the German knows he can afford to finish second in two of the final three races, and third once, and still clinch the title.
Rosberg, who can win the championship as early as this weekend if he triumphs in Mexico and Hamilton finishes 10th or lower, has enjoyed a relatively trouble-free year. In contrast, the defence of Hamilton's third title has been plagued by a number of mechanical problems.
"Of course Lewis had some bad luck, but Nico has had some very strong races, too," Verstappen told Press Association Sport. "That is racing - it is a mechanical sport - and these things can happen.
"This year, definitely compared to last year, Nico really stepped up and he has some great results. He deserves it and he is definitely fighting hard for it. He is fired up because Lewis won the world championship twice, and he finished second and that is not nice. So, you always try to work harder in the winter and become stronger and even better."
Championship leader Nico Rosberg has admitted he will be fulfilling a "childhood dream" if he secures the Formula Onetitle here in MexicoRead the full story ›
The racing driver beat Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to pole position.Read the full story ›
Nico Hulkenberg believes Renault can play a "challenger role" in Formula One in the future after signing for the team from next season onwards.
The 29-year-old German was expected to be announced as Renault's first driver for 2017 and current team Force India released a statement on Friday morning confirming Hulkenberg would be leaving at the end of the year.
Now the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hour winner has been confirmed with the Enstone-based team on a multi-year deal, reported to be a two-year agreement with the potential for a third-year extension.
Speaking after the confirmation of his move, Hulkenberg paid homage to compatriot and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who collected his first two titles with the team in 1994 and 1995.
"I'm very happy to join Renault Sport Formula One Team in 2017," he said.
"Renault has always been a big player in the motorsport world that brings up incredible memories : in his stint with Renault, Michael Schumacher not only helped make Germany an F1 nation, he also sparked my enthusiasm and fire for racing.
"As a part of the Renault family, I want to develop the car and write new success stories."