Ferrari one-two in FP3, Sainz shines for McLaren

Image by Zak Mauger/LAT

Ferrari one-two in FP3, Sainz shines for McLaren

Formula 1

Ferrari one-two in FP3, Sainz shines for McLaren

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Ferrari finished practice at the Mexican Grand Prix in first and second place while Carlos Sainz produced a standout performance for McLaren.

Charles Leclerc pipped teammate Sebastian Vettel to the fastest time at the end of a tricky session that took place on a damp track. Leclerc posted a 1m16.145s to beat Vettel by just 0.027s, and Mercedes was close behind in the final practice session as Valtteri Bottas registered a 1m16.259s.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth — 0.1s off his teammate — while Sainz put in a clean lap to finish fifth, a quarter of a second behind the championship leader. Sainz’s time was impressive but his position was aided somewhat by Max Verstappen getting blocked on his final flying attempt on soft tires, with the Red Bull driver having set the fastest first sector but then gesticulating angrily at an Alfa Romeo in the middle sector.

Verstappen still ended up sixth ahead of Pierre Gasly, with the Frenchman continuing Toro Rosso’s strong weekend to split the two Red Bulls. Gasly had also been feeling unwell in the build-up to the session — one of a number of F1 members struggling in Mexico — but ended up 0.004s ahead of the man who replaced him at Red Bull, Alex Albon.

Lando Norris and Sergio Perez were ninth and 10th as a little over a second covered the top 10 on the second-shortest circuit on the calendar.

A fully wet track meant the first half hour of the session was carried out on intermediate tires by those who did venture out on track, but there was little running as teams waited for conditions to improve. When they did, a number of drivers ran wide — at both Turn 1 and in the middle sector — but without any major dramas.

The biggest issue of note struck the two Renault drivers, with the team detecting an unusual issue on both cars that was flagged up by a hydraulic leak for Daniel Ricciardo. The team said pollution of one of the cooling systems was found, that requires careful cleaning not to damage any components. As a result, Ricciardo did not participate in the session and Nico Hulkenberg’s running was ended after just one lap.

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