Mexico, FP3: Verstappen continues to set the pace in final practice
Ahead of Albon, Pérez
Max Verstappen made it a clean sweep of practice sessions at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, topping final practice for the Mexico City Grand Prix ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez.
At the start of the final hour of practice it was the Mercedes pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton who topped the order, with the former in P1 with a lap of 1:18.644. Red Bull’s drivers sat out the opening third of the session but when Verstappen appeared he immediately rose to P2 with his first flying lap, splitting the Mercedes drivers thanks to a lap of 1.18.717.
Pérez slotted into P6 with his opening flying lap but Daniel Ricciardo then knocked the Mexican back as he jumped to P4 with a good lap, just 0.6s off P1 man Russell.
Verstappen was heading out for a second run, however, and this time the Dutch driver found the pace necessary to oust Russell, clocking a lap of 1:18.429s to take top spot. Pérez too found an improvement on his second run, climbing to P3, a tenth off Russell.
With a little under 20 minutes left in the session Albon bolted on a fresh set of Soft tyres and the Thai driver set an impressive time of 1:17.957 to steal top spot from Verstappen.
Russell also improved in the final third, moving to P2, three tenths of a second off Albon as Verstappen slid back.
The three-time champion was biding his time, however, and when he went out for a final run he returned to the top of the order. It was not by much, though. Quickest in the opening sector, the Dutchman lost time in S2 and crossed the line just 0.070s ahead of Albon. The Dutchman was quickly on the radio to report that he had encountered significant traffic during his lap.
Pérez took third just 0.139s behind Verstappen, followed by Russell, McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas and the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda. Lando Norris was eighth for McLaren, ahead of Ricciardo and the top 10 was rounded out by Hamilton.
The shape of the top 10 might have been different had either Ferrari driver managed a clean lap on Softs at the end of the session with Leclerc and Sainz ending up 13th and 15th respectively.
Sainz was also involved in an incident in which he appeared to be blocked by the slow Aston Martin of Lance Stroll while on a push lap. The Spaniard had to break hard to avoid the Canadian, spinning as a result.
|01||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||1:17.887||19|
|02||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW45||1:17.957||19|
|03||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||1:18.026||19|
|04||George Russell||Mercedes W14||1:18.248||20|
|05||Oscar Piastri||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||1:18.392||22|
|06||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||1:18.437||26|
|07||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||1:18.450||26|
|08||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||1:18.480||21|
|09||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||1:18.499||15|
|10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W14||1:18.522||21|
|11||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes FW45||1:18.718||15|
|12||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||1:18.917||21|
|13||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF-23||1:18.970||22|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||1:19.094||21|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF-23||1:19.293||23|
|16||Nico Hülkenberg||Haas Ferrari VF-23||1:19.320||18|
|17||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||1:19.471||21|
|18||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault A523||1:19.509||19|
|19||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-23||1:19.573||9|
|20||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A523||1:19.839||19|