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Mexican F1 GP: Daniel Ricciardo leads close FP2 battle ahead of Lewis Hamilton

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Mexican F1 GP: Daniel Ricciardo leads close FP2 battle ahead of Lewis Hamilton
Oct 27, 2017, 9:49 PM

Daniel Ricciardo led the second practice session of the Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who had impressive long run pace and ...

Daniel Ricciardo led the second practice session of the Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who had impressive long run pace and looks a strong favourite for the weekend.

Hamilton needs only to finish fifth in Sunday's Grand Prix to clinch his fourth world championship. It is the same target he had when winning his first world championship on the last corner of the last lap in Brazil in 2008, but here he has two more races to spare.

Red Bull's impressive development since the summer break was underlined by their performance on a single lap, on a track where the influence of the engine is slightly mitigated in comparison to other circuits, due to the altitude.

Mercedes took a one-two in FP1, early in the day, as Valtteri Bottas logged a time of 1m17.824s on ultra-softs to finish the session 0.466 seconds clear of team-mate Hamilton.

Max Verstappen was another tenth behind in third place, while Sebastian Vettel was fastest on super-softs in FP1 with a time of 1m18.824s.

Ricciardo's FP2-leading time of 1m17.801s was delivered on ultra-softs, leaving runner-up Hamilton 0.131s behind while Red Bull counterpart Verstappen finished 0.163s off the top spot in third.

Verstappen struggled with set-up having trialled new parts in FP1, leaving his crew scrambling to find an adequate balance in the following session.

The Ferraris took fourth and fifth with Vettel leading his team-mate, while Bottas rounded out the top six, with 0.498s separating him and Ricciardo. Bottas complained of a lack of grip compared to the first practice session.

Just over two tenths behind was McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso in seventh, who fended off the Force Indias and Renaults.

Nico Hulkenberg (ninth) split the Force Indias, as the Renault driver was 0.050s behind Sergio Perez. Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10, 1.021s off the top, while he and Alonso were split by just over three tenths in a close midfield battle.

Force India's morning hit a snag as Ocon's stand-in, Alphonso Celis Jr, hit the outside wall in FP1 and caused damage to the rear of the VJM10.

Long-runs began 35 minutes in and it was closely matched between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, which averaged times of around 1m22s on ultra-softs.

Carlos Sainz Jr finished 11th ahead of Felipe Massa, whose team-mate Lance Stroll finished 14th.

Red flags were flown early on due to Romain Grosjean's dramatic spin at Turn 17.

When he recovered and sped down the pit straight, the left-rear tyre of his Haas de-laminated and caused damage to the floor and front-wing, leaving Grosjean to finish last.

Ahead of him was Pierre Gasly, who encountered engine issues on the way to his 19th place finish. Toro Rosso team-mate Brendon Hartley finished 13th, splitting the two Williams.

Stoffel Vandoorne finished 15th after McLaren replaced his new-spec engine with an older version due to problems in FP1. Further problems hampered his running in FP2.

The Mclaren pair also experimented with towing each other on Hermanos Rodriguez's long straights, anticipating qualifying to be a difficult affair.

Vettel had to retreat to the pits with an hour remaining as the fire extinguisher leaked under his seat and left fluid on his overalls, which the Ferrari driver likened to “acid" as the pressure of the fluid caused him an "unpleasant" amount of pain.

Will Red Bull carry its promising pace over to Sunday's race? Have your say in the comment section below.

Results

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR

GAP

LAPS

1

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

1m17.801s

26

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

0.131s

40

3

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

0.163s

17

4

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

0.250s

35

5

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

0.341s

40

6

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

0.498s

43

7

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

0.707s

26

8

Sergio Perez

Force India

0.927s

41

9

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

0.974s

19

10

Esteban Ocon

Force India

1.021s

42

11

Carlos Sainz Jr

Renault

1.259s

30

12

Felipe Massa

Williams

1.405s

37

13

Brendon Hartley

Toro Rosso

1.622s

40

14

Lance Stroll

Williams

1.723s

42

15

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren

2.043s

32

16

Pascal Wehrlein

Sauber

2.505s

38

17

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

2.517s

35

18

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

2.561s

38

19

Pierre Gasly

Toro Rosso

3.944s

10

20

Romain Grosjean

Haas

7.725s

3

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Series Formula 1