FP3: Russell heads dominant Mercedes one-two in final practice

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

George Russell led his team mate Lewis Hamilton in a dominant Mercedes one-two, beating freshly crowned double world champion Max Verstappen by almost half a second in the final practice session for the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Having set the benchmark on Friday, George Russell continued to dictate the pace at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the final practice session by clocking a 1m18.399s. His team mate Lewis Hamilton appeared to struggle for car balance at the start of the session, but he was in harmony with his W13 on his second set of fresh soft tyres, and went second fastest only over a tenth of a second adrift of Russell.

Reigning world champion Verstappen set the fastest lap on his first run, but was unable to make the same jump on the second red-walled tyres as Mercedes driver were able to. The Dutchman ended the session third quickest over four tenths of a second slower than the faster Mercedes racer.

His team mate Sergio Perez labelled his Friday as difficult at the high-altitude, maximum downforce Mexico City circuit, and this trend continued in the final session. The home hero set a 1m19.241s which was only enough for P5 in the end.

Ferrari continued to struggle with overheating after the heat had caused paint damage on Friday. Moreover, Scuderia’s drivers complained about poor driveability and lack of front grip which saw Ferrari struggle for single-lap performance for the very first time this year. As a result of the grip issues, Charles Leclerc only finished fourth fastest over seven tenths of a second adrift of Russell while Sainz was another two tenths slower.

Interestingly, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas ended the session only a couple of tenths of a second slower than Leclerc, Perez and Sainz on their way to P7 and P8 respectively.

Their team mates were unable to keep up with their pace. Zhou Guanyu set the 12th fastest time for Alfa Romeo while Daniel Ricciardo struggled for brake balance and ended the finale one-hour session down in P14.

Alpine were in perfect form yesterday, but they appeared to have lost momentum in the last session ahead of qualifying. Esteban Ocon finished the session over 1.5s down while his team mate Fernando Alonso was a further tenth of a second behind.

Haas and Aston Martin appeared to be the slowest teams in the final practice. Mick Schumacher had a wild spin through the esses in the early stages, but managed to keep it out of the wall to recover and take P17. His team mate Kevin Magnussen ended the session slowest over 2.8s down on Russell’s benchmark.

Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll took 16th on his birthday while his team mate Sebastian Vettel finished the session second to last after constantly complaining about the drivability of his AMR22.


163George RussellMercedes1:18.39922
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.543+0.144s22
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:18.876+0.477s18
416Charles LeclercFerrari1:19.123+0.724s22
511Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:19.241+0.842s23
655Carlos SainzFerrari1:19.301+0.902s20
74Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:19.317+0.918s21
877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:19.390+0.991s28
922Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:19.882+1.483s24
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:19.917+1.518s17
1131Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:19.960+1.561s18
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:20.019+1.620s24
1314Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:20.037+1.638s15
143Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:20.139+1.740s21
1510Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:20.330+1.931s23
1618Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:20.477+2.078s19
1747Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:20.598+2.199s24
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:20.848+2.449s21
195Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:20.986+2.587s22
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:21.271+2.872s24