Russell heads Mercedes duo in Mexico GP final practice

Carl Bingham/Motorsport Images

Russell heads Mercedes duo in Mexico GP final practice

Formula 1

Russell heads Mercedes duo in Mexico GP final practice


George Russell led a Mercedes one-two in final practice for the Mexico City Grand Prix after Max Verstappen struggled to string together a lap.

Russell set the benchmark early with a 1m18.399s on softs, the most used tire of the hour, and teammate Hamilton crossed the line shortly afterwards just 0.114s adrift.

The younger Briton had the edge in the first and particularly the last sectors, while Hamilton clawed back around half the difference in the middle split. It translated to a comfortable lead for the German marque over the field, the W13 appearing at home in the low-grip conditions of the still slippery, high-altitude circuit.

Things weren’t so straightforward for Verstappen. The Dutchman’s first attempt at a flying lap left him marginally down in the first sector before missing the apex at Turn 4, after which he abandoned the tour with the “same problem again.” He later complained about being unable to charge his battery.

He regrouped for a second attempt, but it was good enough only for third, 0.477s off the pace.

Charles Leclerc came in fourth, but he described the car as “really difficult to drive” with “so much understeer.” He was 0.724s adrift, though he had a tenth in hand over Sergio Perez and almost 0.2s on teammate Carlos Sainz in fifth and sixth respectively.

Lando Norris followed in seventh, just behind Sainz by only 0.016s, keeping at bay Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.

Half a second further back, Yuki Tsunoda led a tight midfield group, heading an impressive Alex Albon in 10th ahead of Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu and Fernando Alonso.

Daniel Ricciardo’s car appeared to be spitting plumes of smoke on his flying lap, which was spoilt by him running wide at Turn 12 on the approach to the stadium section, leaving him well adrift of his teammate.

Pierre Gasly was an uncomfortable 15th, his time on track spent mostly locking up, particularly at Turn 13.

Lance Stroll followed ahead of Mick Schumacher, who survived a fast spin at Turn 11 to end the session 17th.

Nicholas Latifi was 18th ahead of a distraught Sebastian Vettel in 19th. The German described his final lap as “shocking,” which he said was down to the car generally being maladjusted to the circuit.

Kevin Magnussen, whose only practice time of the weekend was around 40 minutes of the Pirelli tire test on Friday, completed the order in 20th.

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