Mexican GP: Verstappen tops FP2 despite late stoppage

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Mexican GP: Verstappen tops FP2 despite late stoppage
Edd Straw
By: Edd Straw
Oct 26, 2018, 8:36 PM

Red Bull pairing Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo dominated Friday afternoon practice for the Mexican Grand Prix, both lapping a second faster than the rest of the Formula 1 field.

Verstappen hit the front during the early running with his pace on ultrasoft Pirellis, posting a time of 1m17.437s to lead teammate Ricciardo.

That put them ahead of hypersoft-shod Sergio Perez, with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in fourth and 1.3s down using supersofts.

Sebastian Vettel was the first of the frontrunners to attempt a qualifying simulation run on hypersofts, but was only quick enough to go second behind Verstappen.

This set the pattern for the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers struggling during their quick runs, with Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas all failing to challenge Verstappen.

When Verstappen did start his performance run, Renault driver Carlos Sainz was his closest challenger, having posted a 1m17.953s – putting him ahead of the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers.

Verstappen then nailed a lap of 1m16.720s, putting him fastest by 1.233s before Ricciardo slotted into second just 0.153s behind.

Despite his pace, Verstappen said over the radio it was "all over the place, the engine is not doing what it should do" when asked how it was.

With 10 minutes remaining, Verstappen pulled off at the exit of Turn 3 after cutting across the grass when the engine cut out at the entry to Turn 1.

Behind Sainz in third, Vettel ended up the best of the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers and just one thousandth of a second slower.

That put him 0.092s quicker than the other Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, who had Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley – who was briefly fastest during the first runs – snapping at his heels.

This meant Lewis Hamilton ended up seventh, 1.380s off the pace, and 33 thousandths faster than Raikkonen, having earlier had an off-track moment on his first run when he locked up into Turn 1.

Valtteri Bottas was ninth in the second Mercedes, seven thousandths behind Raikkonen.

Perez was shuffled down to 10th by the end of the session, even though he did improve on his second hypersoft run.

That put him ahead of Racing Point Force India teammate Esteban Ocon, having his first run of the weekend after handing his car over to Nicholas Latifi in FP1, who was a quarter-of-a-second quicker than the leading Haas of Romain Grosjean.

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, who sat out FP1 for Antonio Giovinazzi, pipped Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly to 14th, with McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne completing the top 15.

At the bottom of the timesheets, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso beat Kevin Magnussen to 19th place.

The Dane struggled with tyre temperatures, saying they were "absolutely nowhere" during his performance run.

Many drivers complained about the tyres, with long runs on hypersofts in particular also producing very rapid degradation.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 21 1'16.720  
2 Australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 32 1'16.873 0.153
3 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Renault Renault 35 1'17.953 1.233
4 Germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 42 1'17.954 1.234
5 Germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 36 1'18.046 1.326
6 New Zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 35 1'18.061 1.341
7 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 40 1'18.100 1.380
8 Finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 42 1'18.133 1.413
9 Finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 40 1'18.140 1.420
10 Mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 24 1'18.167 1.447
11 France Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 24 1'18.485 1.765
12 France Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 39 1'18.733 2.013
13 Monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 39 1'19.024 2.304
14 France Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 36 1'19.047 2.327
15 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 30 1'19.096 2.376
16 Canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 25 1'19.219 2.499
17 Sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 41 1'19.322 2.602
18 Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 37 1'19.335 2.615
19 Spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 31 1'19.543 2.823
20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 35 1'19.670 2.950
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Mexican GP
Author Edd Straw
Article type Practice report