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.
|3||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:18.876||+0.477s||18|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:19.241||+0.842s||23|
|7||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:19.317||+0.918s||21|
|8||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:19.390||+0.991s||28|
|9||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:19.882||+1.483s||24|
|10||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:19.917||+1.518s||17|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:19.960||+1.561s||18|
|12||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:20.019||+1.620s||24|
|13||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:20.037||+1.638s||15|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:20.139||+1.740s||21|
|15||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:20.330||+1.931s||23|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:20.477||+2.078s||19|
|17||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:20.598||+2.199s||24|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:20.848||+2.449s||21|
|19||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:20.986||+2.587s||22|
|20||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:21.271||+2.872s||24|