Red Bull made good on their Mexican Grand Prix promise as Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo ran first and second in the opening practice session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Renault caused the biggest stir in FP1 as they took third and fourth in the session, while Ferrari languished fourth fastest, putting Sebastian Vettel's hopes of taking a crucial victory in doubt.
The effects of altitude effectively balance out engine power, ensuring that Renault's power deficit is not as keenly felt.
And Red Bull proved that their chassis remains strong as Verstappen clocked a top time of one minute 16.656 seconds.
Much of the drivers' focus was tyre degradation as Pirelli's hypersofts struggled to cope.
Kevin Magnussen said his tyres felt like "chewing gum", while his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean complained that it felt like he was driving in the wet – despite blazing sunny skies in Mexico City.
Although he also requires a string of poor races for Hamilton, Vettel needs to take victory in the remaining three races of 2018 to stand a chance of winning the title, however the German was seventh, over two seconds down on Verstappen's time.
Needing a seventh-place finish to secure his fifth title, Lewis Hamilton ran fifth-fastest to suggest Mercedes have the pace to see the Briton crowned in Mexico for a second year in succession.
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