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Verstappen pips surprise challenger in FP3 at Mexican Grand Prix

Verstappen pips surprise challenger in FP3 at Mexican Grand Prix

F1 News

Verstappen pips surprise challenger in FP3 at Mexican Grand Prix

Verstappen pips surprise challenger in FP3 at Mexican Grand Prix

Max Verstappen lead his third consecutive practice session at a hot Mexican Grand Prix, ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon in second and home favourite Sergio Perez in third.

George Russell had a solid session for Mercedes in fourth, with Oscar Piastri and Valterri Bottas behind in fifth and sixth.

Alex Albon drives his Williams FW45 through sector one at the Mexican Grand Prix

Yuki Tsunoda made sure AlphaTauri had both cars in the top ten late with seventh ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in ninth.

Lando Norris had a below-par session with eighth while Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top ten for Mercedes.

READ MORE: F1 Driver Salaries: How much do Hamilton, Verstappen and co earn?

First run sees big gaps

Aston Martin went out early, eager to avenge their Friday practice woes, and get over their recent slump in form.

Ferrari were the first to be aggressive, conducting early soft tyre runs which left them 1-2 just ten minutes into the session with Yuki Tsunoda in third.

Not long after, the two Mercedes - who always show strongly in Mexico, usurped the Ferraris as George Russell sat atop the timesheets by half a second.

Lewis Hamilton struggles in Mexico after finishing tenth in FP3

Red Bull tried to spoil everyone’s party as they have so often this season, but Verstappen failed to crack Russell’s lap with his first attempt, despite setting his time on a slightly more rubbered in track.

Eventually the Dutchman found his way past and into first place, with Perez lifting himself up the order to leave Red Bull handily placed in first and third halfway through the session.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Albon EXCITED by new Williams F1 project as star driver enjoys extra responsibility

Midfield surprises

Daniel Ricciardo pushed his AlphaTauri into fourth place on the medium tyres on an alternative run plan, as he continues to push for a Red Bull drive next season, but only found three extra tenths during his soft tyre run.

Williams continued to show promising pace as both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant found themselves in the top ten on differing strategies, before a searing last run propelled Albon to second.

McLaren were in search of pace, with both drivers showing signs of struggles throughout the session but did manage to recover late on.

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Final qualifying simulations leave mixed results

In the final runs, Williams continued to surprise as Alex Albon lead the chasing pack by nearly half a second, indicating that they may have the pace to make Q3 with both cars this weekend.

Even Mercedes’ attempts to beat Albon were futile, sitting at least three tenths behind with both cars after their second soft tyre runs.

Home favourite Sergio Perez could be an outsider for victory on Sunday with improved pace in Mexico City

Despite struggling with tyre temperatures, Max Verstappen fought to return back to the top of the times with ten minutes to go, albeit a tenth ahead of the Williams.

Home favourite Sergio Perez looked good to go second but ended up third after falling away in the third sector of his lap.

Ferrari left it late and ended up in traffic, with Sainz even taking a spin while stuck behind Lance Stroll in the fast, flowing sector two, ending the session with their cars 13th and 15th respectively.

Mexican Grand Prix FP3 Times

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 1:17.887s

2. Alex Albon (Williams): +0.070

3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull): +0.139

4. George Russell (Mercedes): +0.361

5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren): +0.505

6. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo): +0.550

7. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri): +0.563

8. Lando Norris (McLaren): +0.593

9. Daniel Ricciardo (AlphaTauri): +0.612

10. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): +0.635

11. Logan Sargeant (Williams): +0.831

12. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo): +1.030

13. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): +1.083

14. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin): +1.207

15. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari): +1.406

16. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas): +1.433

17. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin): +1.584

18. Pierre Gasly (Alpine): +1.622

19. Kevin Magnussen (Haas): +1.686

20. Esteban Ocon (Alpine): +1.952

READ MORE: Unstoppable Verstappen is a MAJOR PROBLEM for F1

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