Max narrowly fastest in third free practice GP Mexico
Published on 28 October 2023 by Kees-Jan Koster
Max Verstappen finished the third free practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix as fastest. After finishing in first position for the first two practice sessions, Verstappen continued his dominance performance. With a 1:17.887 he was a tenth of a second faster than Alexander Albon, who surprisingly finished second. Sergio Perez completed the top three at his home circuit.
The final free practice at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has a quiet start. Many drivers are waiting for a long time in their pit boxes, so ten minutes into the session there are only four times set. Max comes out after twenty minutes and is immediately fast. On the soft tyre he sets the second fastest time, putting the Dutchman 73 thousandths of a second behind the fastest time of George Russell. Soon after Verstappen comes out on soft tyres again and then sets the fastest time, this time more than two tenths faster than Russell.
Perez also only starts his session after twenty minutes. The home hero is greeted by the Mexican fans with loud applause. Halfway during the session, Perez is in third position, three tenths behind his teammate. Verstappen leads in front of Russell and Perez, but the big surprise is Daniel Ricciardo. He is in his AlphaTauri on medium tyres only half a second slower than Max and is in fourth position. Lewis Hamilton completes the top five, almost eight tenths slower than Verstappen.
Williams also has a good session. With twenty minutes to go are Logan Sargeant and Albon in eighth and nineth position. Sargeant took last week his first points in the Formula 1 and performs well again during the practice sessions this weekend. He is within a second of Verstappen in the lead.
Kevin Magnussen is less lucky. He has an issue with his left rear tyre and the Danish driver must come into the pits after only one lap. Magnussen does not get a lot of preparation for qualifying. As Oliver Bearman was in his car in the first free practice session, so Magnussen only really drove in the second session. At then end of the session the Haas is repaired and Magnussen can drive eight laps in the end.
At the end of the session the drivers simulate a qualifying lap. Albon immediately sets the fastest time. With a 1:17.957, he is the first driver to go under the 1:18.000. Many drivers follow, but none go faster than the time set by Albon. But when Verstappen goes for a second run, he goes faster. Still Max is not happy as he complains about the traffic over the radio.
Verstappen is still the fastest when the session finishes. He will fight at 23:00 Dutch time for pole position. Competition comes from an unexpected direction, with Alexander Albon in second position less than a tenth behind. Sergio Perez, George Russell and Oscar Piastri complete the top five.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:17.887||18|
|2||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:17.957||+0.070s||18|
|3||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:18.026||+0.139s||18|
|5||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||1:18.392||+0.505s||21|
|6||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:18.437||+0.550s||25|
|7||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:18.450||+0.563s||25|
|8||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:18.480||+0.593s||20|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:18.499||+0.612s||14|
|11||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||1:18.718||+0.831s||14|
|12||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:18.917||+1.030s||20|
|14||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:19.094||+1.207s||20|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||1:19.320||+1.433s||18|
|17||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:19.471||+1.584s||20|
|18||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||1:19.509||+1.622s||18|
|19||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:19.573||+1.686s||8|
|20||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:19.839||+1.952s||18|