FP3: Perez heads Red Bull one-two in final practice

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

Red Bull's Mexican driver Sergio Perez went quickest in the final practice for the Mexico City Grand Prix in front of his home crowd, narrowly beating his team mate Max Verstappen. Defending champion Lewis Hamilton ended the session third quickest.

It took a long time until the action got underway in the third and final practice for the first ever Mexico City Grand Prix. The race that has changed its name for this year has attracted huge crowds that are passionate for their home hero Sergio Perez.

The first drivers to take it to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez were Yuki Tsunoda and George Russell with both of them having endured a tough time on the slippery surface in the early part of the session. Fans needed to wait almost twenty minutes for the action to get going. The majority of the drivers opted for two sets of red-walled soft tyres for the final practice, stockpiling fresh sets of medium and hard compounds for the 71-lap race.

Championship leader Max Verstappen set the early pace with a 1m 17.217s which seemed to be unbeatable until his team mate Sergio Perez beat it on his second fresh set of soft tyres. The Mexican ultimately clocked a 1m17.024s to head a Red Bull one-two.

Verstappen achieved his best time on his first set of tyres, and hence he was expected to raise the bar even more on his second set of red-banded tyres. However, the Dutchman was unable to generate enough rear grip during his first attempt on the second fresh C4 compound. Despite having time for a second push lap, he opted to pit and carry out start simulation at the end of the pit lane in the dying minutes of the session.

The two Mercedes were quick yesterday in Free Practice 1, but they were unable to replicate that form in the final practice. Their top-speed was great again, but both Hamilton and Bottas suffered in the tricky middle sector, ending the session 3rd and 4th respectively.

The fight for the fifth place was intense once again with Ferrari heading that battle. Carlos Sainz finished P5, narrowly beating Yuki Tsunoda, who is set to start his first every race in Mexico from the back of the grid due to engine penalties.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who will start tomorrow from the back of the grid, was 11th, leading the Alfa Romeo pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, as Sebastian Vettel took P14 in the second green British car.

After their struggles in the USA, it was a another difficult session for Alpine, Fernando Alonso and Ocon finding themselves 15th and 16th ahead of qualifying, ahead only of Russell, Haas’ Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi and the P20-placed Nikita Mazepin in the second Haas.

111Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda1:17.02415
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:17.217+0.193s12
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:17.675+0.651s14
477Valtteri BottasMercedes1:17.708+0.684s17
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:18.029+1.005s20
622Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda1:18.037+1.013s25
73Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:18.121+1.097s15
810Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Honda1:18.202+1.178s18
916Charles LeclercFerrari1:18.213+1.189s20
104Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:18.312+1.288s16
1118Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes1:18.352+1.328s20
127Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:18.531+1.507s22
1399Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:18.556+1.532s19
145Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes1:18.614+1.590s17
1514Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:18.847+1.823s15
1631Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:18.999+1.975s17
1763George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:19.211+2.187s19
1847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:19.238+2.214s14
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:19.313+2.289s12
209Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari1:20.479+3.455s15red