Mexican Grand Prix – Max Verstappen completed the clean sweep of Mexican practice sessions though Alex Albon showed the Williams pace to go P2.
Unlike the busy start to FP2 yesterday, there was no movement out to track for the first couple of minutes of the final practice session. It was Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas who ventured out first with the Aston Martins following suit. The Finn started the day’s timesheets off with a 1:20.740 on the hard compound.
After ten minutes only ten drivers had made it out to the track and only four of those had put times on the board, Bottas’s time being beaten by the two Ferraris and Yuki Tsunoda. Charles Leclerc was the fastest at that stage with a 1:19.283, just over a tenth and a half quicker than Carlos Sainz.
A quarter of the way through the session Pierre Gasly had a bit of a spin at T12 briefly bringing out the Yellow Flags as he recovered, but it wasn’t as dramatic an incident as Fernando Alonso’s was yesterday.
The home hero, Sergio Perez and his teammate, Max Verstappen, finally made their appearance on track twenty minutes into the session. The Red Bull drivers were on the soft tyres and their first timed laps put them into P5 and P2 respectively, Verstappen going just 0.073 seconds slower than George Russell’s 1:18.644, also set on the soft compound.
As that was happening, Kevin Magnussen messaged in to Haas that he didn’t feel one of his wheels was attached properly. He headed back to the pits as a result but if that is true then the Stewards probably won’t look too kindly on that situation.
As the session ticked past the halfway point, Verstappen had improved to the top with a 1:18.429, two tenths up on Russell, while Perez had moved into P3. Daniel Ricciardo on the mediums had moved into P4 in his AlphaTauri, half a second off Verstappen.
The track quietened down again over the next few minutes ending up with only the Ferraris and Alonso circulating for a while, before others started trickling back out after the forty minute mark.
After being less than a tenth off Verstappen in FP1, Alex Albon once again showed the speed of his Williams, going almost half a second up on the reigning champion to set a 1:17.957.
WIth a little less than ten minutes to go, Russell and Oscar Piastri also beat Verstappen’s earlier time but were still almost three tenths or more off Albon’s effort. However the Dutch driver then put in another lap and regained the top of the times but only by 0.070 seconds.
Neither Ferrari was in the top ten and both had to abort laps near the end after getting blocked in the middle sector, Leclerc almost hitting the back of Magnussen while Sainz ended up spinning after coming up behind a slow moving Lance Stroll.
There weren’t really any time changes at the end so Verstappen completed the clean-sweep of session so far this weekend with a 1:17.887 while Albon, as he was in FP1, ended the practice hour less than a tenth off the Dutch driver. Perez was P3 with a 1:18.026 while Russell was in P4, 0.361 seconds slower than the lead Red Bull.
Piastri took P5 ahead of Bottas while Lando Norris, in P8, was sandwiched between the two AlphaTauris with Tsunoda setting the better time of the two. The final car in the top ten was the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton with a 1:18.522.