Mexican GP: Verstappen tops FP3, Rosberg trails Hamilton

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the fastest time in the final practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix, 0.094s ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

In a frantic flurry of supersoft-tyre runs at the end of the session, Verstappen unleashed 1m19.137s, just under a tenth faster than Hamilton.

It was the second time he'd topped this session in a row, after also doing so in Austin.

Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest for Red Bull, with points leader Nico Rosberg fourth for Mercedes, almost half a second off the pace.

Story of the session

In sunny conditions, Mercedes ran on fresh softs initially. "Steering feels a little bit left-hand down," reported Hamilton before setting the pace on 1m20.158s, four tenths up on Rosberg's 1m20.566s.

Hamilton worked down to a 1m19.721s on softs as the track evolved, as Rosberg improved to 1m20.242s – still over half a second off.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel went second fastest with 1m20.048s on softs, 0.327s off Hamilton's pace, after Kimi Raikkonen aborted a lap that should have put his Ferrari inside the top four.

Verstappen, on softs, grabbed second from Vettel with 1m19.959s, under a quarter of a second off Hamilton's pace. Ricciardo then topped that on his second flying lap on softs, with a 1m19.950s that was good for second, 0.229s down.

Supersoft runs

Williams's Felipe Massa, who earlier suffered a grassy off at Turn 1, leapt to P4 on his second push lap on supersofts to lap in 1m19.997s.

Verstappen then raised the bar, his 1m19.137s good for P1, with Bottas jumping to third on 1m19.811s.

Ricciardo went P2 on 1m19.444s, hitting traffic – mainly Renault's Kevin Magnussen – at the end of his lap, and lapping three tenths off his teammate. Ricciardo then improved to 1m19.375s on his second push lap.

Hamilton had to abort his first lap on supersofts, as did Vettel after running wide. On his second effort, Hamilton went P2 on 1m19.231s, 0.094s off Verstappen.

Rosberg went off at Turn 12 on his first supersoft run, but recovered to fourth on his second push lap, a 1m19.618s. Bottas's time was good for fifth.

Raikkonen also went off at Turn 12 and could only manage 11th, but a second attempt elevated him to seventh, just behind Vettel.

Massa slipped to eighth, ahead of the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. Carlos Sainz was 10th for Toro Rosso, ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez.

Daniil Kvyat ended the session 12th for Toro Rosso, from McLaren's Fernando Alonso. Brits Jolyon Palmer (Renault) and Jenson Button (McLaren) were next up, ahead of Marcus Ericsson's Sauber.

Haas F1 suffered another troubled session, with Esteban Gutierrez in 17th and Romain Grosjean 19th.

"I cannot get the front tyres to work," said Grosjean, who spun near the end of the session. "It's a total disaster, I don't know what to do."

Gutierrez added: "I don't know what's going on, the front tyres are nowhere."

Kevin Magnussen was 18th for Renault, with the Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon in 20th and 21st respectively. Sauber's Felipe Nasr was last.

1  Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 16 1'19.137    
2  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 23 1'19.231 0.094 0.094
3  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 17 1'19.370 0.233 0.139
4  Nico Rosberg  Mercedes Mercedes 27 1'19.618 0.481 0.248
5  Valtteri Bottas  Williams Mercedes 19 1'19.811 0.674 0.193
6  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 16 1'19.937 0.800 0.126
7  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 16 1'19.994 0.857 0.057
8  Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 22 1'19.997 0.860 0.003
9  Nico Hulkenberg  Force India Mercedes 21 1'20.255 1.118 0.258
10  Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Ferrari 22 1'20.325 1.188 0.070
11  Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 20 1'20.472 1.335 0.147
12  Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Ferrari 20 1'20.586 1.449 0.114
13  Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda 18 1'20.600 1.463 0.014
14  Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 18 1'20.959 1.822 0.359
15  Jenson Button  McLaren Honda 19 1'21.152 2.015 0.193
16  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 21 1'21.245 2.108 0.093
17  Esteban Gutierrez  Haas Ferrari 16 1'21.338 2.201 0.093
18  Kevin Magnussen  Renault Renault 17 1'21.345 2.208 0.007
19  Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 15 1'21.601 2.464 0.256
20  Pascal Wehrlein  Manor Mercedes 23 1'21.758 2.621 0.157
21  Esteban Ocon  Manor Mercedes 22 1'21.921 2.784 0.163
22  Felipe Nasr  Sauber Ferrari 18 1'22.354 3.217 0.433

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Lewis Hamilton , Nico Rosberg , Sebastian Vettel , Sergio Perez , Romain Grosjean , Daniel Ricciardo , Valtteri Bottas , Jolyon Palmer , Daniil Kvyat , Max Verstappen
Article type Practice report