Mexico GP | Ricciardo edges Hamilton in FP2 with absolute track record

Daniel Ricciardo betters Lewis Hamilton to top second practice at the Mexico Grand Prix.

As Hamilton spun, Vettel burnt and Grosjean’s Pirelli shreaded, Daniel Ricciardo set the pace at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez. Topping the red-flagged second practice at the Mexican Grand Prix with an absolute track record, the third race weekend in a row Formula One has done so.

Daniel Ricciardo’s pace, dipping into the 1:17’s, came halfway through the second 90-minute session of the weekend to move ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton had previously set the best time of the session on a 1:18.077 and improved to by another tenth with his next flying lap. Keeping enough life in the purple-walled Pirelli’s. However, losing time as the lap progressed rather than consistently improving.

Third-placed Max Verstappen bettered the efforts of Ferrari and Bottas to round out a strong session for Red Bull. Overturning the brief edge Vettel held over him, after improving on his previous effort that saw the German lose time with a twitchy moment exiting the middle-sector esses.

FP2, on the other hand, was not perfect for Red Bull as the team was forced to retire Verstappen’s car early as it began to consume more oil than fuel. Though, the power unit concerned is not the Dutchman’s race engine.

The middle-sector esses caused an early disruption to Lewis Hamilton’s session, too. With the champion-elect, who only needs fifth place on Sunday to secure the championship, an early spinner in FP2.

Hamilton’s spin came 17-minutes into FP2, four minutes after the session returned to green after a red-flag period caused by Romain Grosjean. With the Briton spinning as he tackled the still dusty track before losing control out of Turn 11. Spinning 90 degrees to the left and badly flat-spotting both front supersoft tyres.

Ruiling the Briton out of his race simulation on that tyre and hampering the data gathering for both Mercedes drivers with Bottas only running the soft compound.

As for Grosjean, the Haas driving Frenchman caused an early red flag at the Mexican Grand Prix as he suffered a tyre-carcass blow-out just six minutes into the second session of the day.

Romain had run wide out of the final bend before his car snapped into a spin that sent the Frenchman off onto the run off area. As he then accelerated down the long main straight, his rear left tyre gave way. Spraying debris from the tyre into the air and over the track, along with pieces of carbon fibre as the shredding tyre destroyed elements of the floor.

Issues also crept up in FP2 for Sebastian Vettel and Stoffel Vandoorne. With the McLaren man hit with early engine concerns on his second Honda power unit of the day.

Those concerns were minor in comparison, though, and the Belgian was able to continue soon after. But hit soon after with another concern as his steering felt unstable and parked in the pit lane with a loose wheel.

Sebastian Vettel’s FP2 issues came 23-minutes into the session as he requested his mechanics checked for moving under braking into Turn 1. The German then turned his attention to something burning him in the cockpit after his fire extinguisher had burst.

“Something burst… aghh! Acid or something. Think it might be the extinguisher,”

After a change of race suit, Vettel returned to the track and later completed a long run on the supersoft tyres with an average lap time of 1:22.2 seconds. Two-tenths slower than his team-mate had been capable of achieving, and a further two-tenths down on what Hamilton had averaged for Mercedes.

Pos Driver Team Engine Laps Time Gap
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG 26 1’17.801
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 40 1’17.932 0.131
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG 17 1’17.964 0.163
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 35 1’18.051 0.25
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 40 1’18.142 0.341
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 43 1’18.299 0.498
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 26 1’18.508 0.707
8 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 41 1’18.728 0.927
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 19 1’18.775 0.974
10 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 42 1’18.822 1.021
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault Renault 30 1’19.060 1.259
12 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 37 1’19.206 1.405
13 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Renault 40 1’19.423 1.622
14 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 42 1’19.524 1.723
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 32 1’19.844 2.043
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 38 1’20.306 2.505
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 35 1’20.318 2.517
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 38 1’20.362 2.561
19 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Renault 10 1’21.745 3.944
20 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 3 1’25.526 7.725

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