Mexican Grand Prix Practice Report: Who will be on pole?
After another strong practice session for Red Bull it’s difficult to decide which driver has the upper hand and will take pole position this afternoon.
Max Verstappen set a new lap record of 1:17:113 to go quickest to edge out Lewis Hamilton by 0.075s. While Sebastian Vettel finished third, 0.117s down on Verstappen. Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top five in the other two Mercedes and Red Bull cars. The top five was within 0.248s of each other, with anyone one of them having the chance take pole position in qualifying.
While the top four continued to run till the last minute, Ricciardo still running the old spec Renault engine ended his session early to save mileage.
Kimi Raikkonen once again looked off the pace compared to the top five runners, finishing 0.404s down on Verstappen.
Further down the grid, Force India were the best of the rest with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten, but both drivers were suffering down in turn one.
Further down the grid, there were more problems for Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly as he suffered yet another engine problem just 5 minutes into the session. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he has only completed 10 laps thus far this weekend.
With both McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne facing heavy grid penalties for engine component changes, McLaren decided to focus on race simulations, ending the session 16th and 19th respectively.
Ricciardo was the quickest man yesterday. Red Bull took a lot of time in the garage to find the optimum setup for race and qualifying. While Vettel suffered an unusual incident with a fire extinguisher exploding in his Ferrari. Surprisingly, Hamilton compromised his race strategy when he made a mistake at turn 11 and damaged his supersoft tyre. With only one more set of supersoft tyre, he was unable to do any running on the compound and gather sufficient data.