Max Verstappen quickest as Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel close gap in final practice for Mexican Grand Prix
Mexican Grand Prix - FP3

Max Verstappen quickest as Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel close gap in final practice for Mexican Grand Prix

28/10/2018

Max Verstappen made it a clean sweep of practice sessions for the No.33 car ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, although the field closed up in the last bit of track action before qualifying.

Verstappen and Red Bull dominated Friday's two sessions but the weather was much different on Saturday morning, with morning rain leaving the track damp at the beginning of the session. Verstappen went quickest on a 1:16.284, although Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were just 0.254s and 0.282s behind respectively -- on Friday, the Dutchman had been over a second quicker than the nearest non-Red Bull car.

Valtteri Bottas was the notable absentee from the top six. The Finn pulled his Mercedes to the side of the road in the stadium section in the final 10 minutes with what the team confirmed was a hydraulics issue, leaving the world champions with a short turnaround to fix any lingering issue ahead of qualifying.

The result will continue Red Bull's optimism of a strong weekend at the high-altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, where the thin air appears to negate some of Renault's crippling power deficit which has hampered the team for much of the year. If Verstappen was to take pole position on Saturday afternoon it would make him the youngest driver ever to do so.

Daniel Ricciardo had a less convincing session in the other Red Bull, finishing 0.7s off the pace. The lower temperature and track conditions meant tyre management was less of an issue than it had been on Saturday, but the Australian sounded frustrated on the radio after posting his quickest qualifying simulation attempt. Kimi Raikkonen finished just behind in fifth, just ahead of the man he will swap places with next season, Sauber's Charles Leclerc, who turned in an impressive performance as the only driver outside of the top three cars to finish within a second of the leader.

Pierre Gasly, running a new Honda power unit, was eighth ahead Of Marcus Ericsson and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg. Once again the Force Indias were split by less than a tenth of a second, with Esteban Ocon just edging Sergio Perez to the 11th quickest time of the day. Romain Grosjean was 13th for Haas in a session which saw him run wide at Turn 1 after missing his braking point.

The McLarens of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso finished 14th and 15th respectively. Alonso experienced the rare thrill of having his papaya McLaren top of the order early on, albeit having been the first driver to set a time on the dry tyres after a quiet start to the session. It's likely to be the high point of McLaren's weekend on what looks set to be another miserable chapter of its dismal 2018 season.

Brendon Hartley was 16th for Toro Rosso ahead of Williams pair Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll. Kevin Magnussen finished bottom of the order after setting just one lap, with Haas opting to use the time of FP3 to change his car's intercooler ahead of qualifying.

Related news

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso emerged victorious in a stop-start, attrition-heavy 2018 MotoGP season finale at a wet Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Australia, while crashes for Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak helped seal a sixth World Rally Championship title for M-Sport Ford's Sebastien Ogier.

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville is officially out of the running for the World Rally Championship drivers' title, after crashing out of the first stage of the final loop.

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue

Sebastien Ogier was in pole position to take a sixth consecutive world rally championship title after finishing the second day of Rally Australia with a lead of more than 50 seconds over his main challenger Thierry Neuville on Saturday.

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow

Belgian Thierry Neuville's hopes of winning a maiden world title at Rally Australia this weekend suffered a hammer blow after a calamitous sixth stage on the opening day, when he damaged his car landing from a jump and then stalled in a chicane.

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales fought through Q1 to take pole position in a scintillating final qualifying session of the 2018 season in Valencia.

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead

Lewis Hamilton won an action-packed Brazilian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen crashed out of the lead following a collision with a lapped backmarker.

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty

Newly-crowned champion Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to pole position by 0.093s in a tight qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel outpaced Lewis Hamilton to top the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix with a new track record.

RELATED NEWS

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale
Valencia Grand Prix

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso emerged victorious in a stop-start, attrition-heavy 2018 MotoGP season finale at a wet Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier
Rally Australia

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Australia, while crashes for Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak helped seal a sixth World Rally Championship title for M-Sport Ford's Sebastien Ogier.

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title
Rally Australia

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville is officially out of the running for the World Rally Championship drivers' title, after crashing out of the first stage of the final loop.

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue
Rally Australia

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue

Sebastien Ogier was in pole position to take a sixth consecutive world rally championship title after finishing the second day of Rally Australia with a lead of more than 50 seconds over his main challenger Thierry Neuville on Saturday.

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow
Rally Australia

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow

Belgian Thierry Neuville's hopes of winning a maiden world title at Rally Australia this weekend suffered a hammer blow after a calamitous sixth stage on the opening day, when he damaged his car landing from a jump and then stalled in a chicane.

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale
Valencia Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales fought through Q1 to take pole position in a scintillating final qualifying session of the 2018 season in Valencia.

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead
Brazilian Grand Prix

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead

Lewis Hamilton won an action-packed Brazilian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen crashed out of the lead following a collision with a lapped backmarker.

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty
Brazilian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty

Newly-crowned champion Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to pole position by 0.093s in a tight qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil
Brazilian Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel outpaced Lewis Hamilton to top the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix with a new track record.

DERBY OF THE WEEK
Tottenham Hotspur - Chelsea
Derby of the week
17:30
24/11/2018
Derby of the week
W 2.60    
   W 2.62
The odds are correct at the time of publishing
12-11-2018 13:30 and are subject to change
Football Live Scores
Tennis Live Scores