Mexico GP | Verstappen fastest in final practice, edging Hamilton

Final practice at the Mexico Grand Prix topped by Max Verstappen.

Narrow margins again keeping Hamilton from the top, as Verstappen sets the pace in FP3. Traffic may have played its part in Hamilton’s deficit, but Red Bull end practice first and third, keeping Mercedes off the top for the second successive session.

With Mercedes focusing on longer runs in Friday practice, Sebastian Vettel was able to take the fight to Mercedes in FP2 – with Hamilton narrowly missing out on P1.

But while Ferrari was only able to end final practice sixth and seventh, Max Verstappen and Red Bull took the fight to Mercedes – despite the long main straight and circuit design supposedly not to the Red Bull’s suiting.

Initially, Hamilton was able to top the leaderboard. Dipping into the 1:19s after being warned not to flat spot his set of soft tyres.

At the time, Rosberg, too, was capable of topping the timesheet. Having bettered Ocon’s opening pace, but later fell down the order to end the day in fourth.

Then when supersofts came into play late on, Verstappen had clean air to run in as he bettered Hamilton’s benchmark. While Ricciardo caught heavy traffic through the stadium, crossing the line three-tenths off his team-mate.

Hamilton himself came out for his flying laps stuck amidst a spate of traffic. For Mercedes sent the reigning champ out at the exact moment the track became a hive of activity. Although, after abandoning his first lap, Hamilton made large gains through the final sector as he set his personal best time of the day.

Rosberg, in comparison, struggled with traffic and track limits. Pushing too hard into turn 12 and forced to run deep and utilise the available run=off area. As well as continuing to have an “under engaged” launch, like he felt in FP2.

Mid-way through the final practice session, Williams saw their best positions of the morning. With Bottas leading Sainz for fourth, six-hundredths of a second up on the Toro Rosso. And going on to end the day fifth fastest, bettering the pace of both Ferrari’s despite their strong FP2.

Bottas and Massa also marked strongly in the speed trap. Topping the leaderboard with Valterri via a 364.2 KM/H – five kilometres and hour ahead of both Ferrari’s.

 

Pos Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 16 1’19.137
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 23 1’19.231 0.094 0.094
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 17 1’19.370 0.233 0.139
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 27 1’19.618 0.481 0.248
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 19 1’19.811 0.674 0.193
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 16 1’19.937 0.8 0.126
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 16 1’19.994 0.857 0.057
8 Felipe Massa Williams 22 1’19.997 0.86 0.003
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 21 1’20.255 1.118 0.258
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 22 1’20.325 1.188 0.07
11 Sergio Perez Force India 20 1’20.472 1.335 0.147
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 20 1’20.586 1.449 0.114
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 18 1’20.600 1.463 0.014
14 Jolyon Palmer Renault 18 1’20.959 1.822 0.359
15 Jenson Button McLaren 19 1’21.152 2.015 0.193
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 21 1’21.245 2.108 0.093
17 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 16 1’21.338 2.201 0.093
18 Kevin Magnussen Renault 17 1’21.345 2.208 0.007
19 Romain Grosjean Haas 15 1’21.601 2.464 0.256
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 23 1’21.758 2.621 0.157
21 Esteban Ocon Manor 22 1’21.921 2.784 0.163
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber 18 1’22.354 3.217 0.433