Mexican Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel has gone comfortably quickest in second practice, as he showed off Ferrari’s potential in Mexico City.
Sebastian Vettel has finished the second practice session in Mexico City as fastest man. There had been indications after Friday’s early FP1 session that Ferrari had been confident enough in their pace to not run the Soft tyre during the opening session, and this played out when the two Ferrari drivers did fit the red marked Soft tyres halfway through FP2.
It was a session topped by the Scuderia almost from the get-go, as Vettel had gone quickest early in the session on the Medium tyres. Putting in a 1:17.960 on the yellow tyres, he enjoyed a two tenths advantage over Charles Leclerc – helped out by Leclerc spinning at Turn 1 when he lost the rear under braking at the end of the long pit straight. Lewis Hamilton was also in the mix, as he slotted his Merc into P3 just before the session was red-flagged for just over five minutes.
This was to allow the marshals to recover Alex Albon’s car after he crashed his Red Bull into the barriers on the outside of the entry to the esses in Sector 2. Albon took too much kerb on the outside on entry into the corner and lost the rear of the RB15, sliding sideways and damaging the right hand side of the car. With the car brought behind the barriers, Red Bull have to wait until the end of the practice session to assess the damage and see whether any critical components have been damaged.
When the session resumed, Ferrari sent their drivers out on the Soft tyres for the first time. Leclerc promptly did a 1:17.072 to go fastest, fastest of all in the first and second sectors. Vettel, moments later, then went quicker than Leclerc in all three sectors to pop in a 1:16.607 to go almost half a second clear of anyone. This time went unbeaten for the rest of second practice, as the focus switched over to the race simulations.
Max Verstappen was able to slot in between the two Ferrari drivers as he did a 1:16.722 on the Softs, just over a tenth of a second off Vettel’s pace. Leclerc had to settle for P3 and almost half a second down.
Valtteri Bottas had a scruffy session, with a spin in the stadium section as well as regular minor lock-ups and rear twitches. He finished P4, leading Mercedes’ challenge, with a best time of 1:17.221 and 0.3 clear of Lewis Hamilton in P5.
Toro Rosso’s pace in FP2 was eye-opening, as they weren’t particularly far off Mercedes’ pace on the same tyre. Daniil Kvyat finished in P6 and 1.140 seconds off Leclerc’s pace and less than two tenths down on Hamilton’s time. Underlining the Honda-powered team’s pace, Pierre Gasly finished P8 and a quarter of a second down on Kvyat.
Carlos Sainz finished P8 for McLaren and 1.5 seconds down on the top time, while Nico Hulkenberg was P9 for Renault – this was despite lengthy stays in the garage at the start and end of the session. The top ten was rounded out by Lando Norris in the second McLaren.
Fully reset from his minor FP1 crash, Lance Stroll finished second practice in P11 for Racing Point and just ahead of home hero Sergio Perez in the second car. Daniel Ricciardo was P13 for Renault, while Kimi Raikkonen was best of the Alfas by finishing P14.
Romain Grosjean was P15, suggesting that Haas are lacking single-lap pace again this weekend as he was over two seconds down on the top time. Antonio Giovinazzi was P16 in the second Alfa, with Kevin Magnussen P17 in the second Haas – suggesting the Dane’s 100th Grand Prix weekend is going to be a struggle. George Russell finished P18, ahead of Mexico debutant Robert Kubica as the Williams duo brought up the rear and just ahead of the sidelined Alex Albon.