F1 | Mexico City GP | FP3: Russell and Hamilton 1-2 for Mercedes ahead of qualifying
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished the last free practice session ahead of both Red Bull's and both Ferrari's. Can they do it again in qualifying?
George Russell was the fastest driver during the last free practice session in Mexico City, with the time of 1:18.399s, followed by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, with the times of 1:18.543s and 1:18.876s respectively. The rest that completed the Top 10 of the session were: Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, Norris, Bottas, Tsunoda and Albon.
It’s a cloudy day in Mexico City and we’re about to go green with the last free practice session before today’s qualifying and tomorrow’s race. Will Mexico bring luck to Checo Perez, the local hero responsible for the huge crowds at this year’s GP?
We’ve been obviously hit with the decisions made by FIA regarding the cost cap breach, which will see Red Bull pay $7m fine and have a reduced time in aerodynamic testing allowance by 10% for the next 12 months. Although the team already secured constructors championship, Checo’s win in Mexico can be crucial for the team and their morale after they’ve been hit with the penalty.
The session began with clear conditions, with the air temperature of 19.7C and track temperature of 37.6C. Green light and a few drivers went to explore the track. Bottas was the first one to start a proper lap, followed by Zhou, Stroll and Vettel. The Finnish driver bagged the lap time of 1:21.462s.
There was around 40% chance of rain during the session, as there were thunderstorms happening in the neighbourhoods of the track. Not many drivers went out to explore at the start, even if there was only one proper FP session beforehand during this racing weekend. Hamilton, Leclerc, Schumacher, Sainz, Ricciardo and Magnussen soon followed the steps of the first group an went out on track. After the first ten minutes of FP3, seven drivers set lap times: Sainz (with 1:19.884s), Leclerc, Hamilton, Bottas, Schumacher, Ricciardo, Zhou and Magnussen.
Schumacher had a spin in Sector 2 that momentarily brought in a yellow flag, but the young German was able to continue, and sustained no damage to the car. 20 minutes into the session, an the Top 10 was: Russell, Perez, Sainz, Leclerc, Hamilton, Norris, Bottas, Schumacher, Ocon and Zhou. Soon after we’ve hit that 20 mins mark, Verstappen set the fastest time of 1:19.296s.
A few drivers, including Alonso, Tsunoda, Gasly and more seemed to struggle with particular bits of the track, travelling around the racing lines. By the half hour mark, the top ten shuffled a bit compared to before. It was Verstappen first, who improve his time to 1:19.118s, followed by Russell, Perez, Sainz, Leclerc, Hamilton, Albon, Schumacher, Alonso and Tsunoda.
20 minutes before the end of the session, the top ten didn’t really change compared to before. So far this session no real dangerous situations occurred, other than the momentarily yellow flag at the beginning and few drivers having difficulties and lock-ups in particular parts of the track. Half of the grid went back to their pits. Russell topped the leaderboard with 1:18.399s, the first time below 1:19s. He was followed by his teammate Hamilton in second, two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez, and two Ferrari’s of Sainz and Leclerc.
Ten minutes before the end of the session, and the Top 10 was: Russell, Hamilton, Verstappen, Norris, Bottas, Perez, Sainz, Albon, Leclerc and Zhou in P10. The rest of the session went smooth without any disturbances.
The final classification after third Free Practice:
FP3 CLASSIFICATION— Formula 1 (@F1) October 29, 2022
Can Mercedes carry their speed into qualifying?
We'll soon find out! #MexicoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/65qCHh2s1H