Verstappen in control after Practice 2 in Mexico

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen easily topped Free Practice 2 for the Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix.

Qualifying simulations suggested Red Bull had gained the upperhand after the day’s first 60-minute outing saw Mercedes on top.

A busy start saw 16 of the 20 cars immediate head out on track, which had been swept since Free Practice 1.

The slippery surface flag were out on entry into the stadium segment, oil having been dropped in one of the support sessions.

With so many cars on track the field found itself stacked in the final complex as they jockeyed for track position.

Hamilton found himself almost tripping over Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi, and Sebastian Vettel.

Times were predictably faster that the morning session, Verstappen recording a 1:18.206s effort on the medium tyres to kick off proceedings.

It was an effort that left him 1.1s clear of Yuki Tsunoda, who was second fastest at the time.

The benchmark soon lowered to 1:17.820s, a time which left him 0.7s ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.

Meanwhile, both Mercedes drivers were again struggling for braking into the first corner, as they did in Free Practice 1.

Hamilton and Bottas both locked up and left the circuit, navigating their way around a bollard on the outside of Turn 3 to rejoin.

During FP1, the pair had experienced similar offs, in Hamilton’s he was reprimanded for not respecting the rejoiin procedure.

A gearbox problem for George Russell saw him limp around, his Williams remaining in fifth gear until reaching the pit lane.

It saw the Brit climb from his car and change out of his race suit, as the team set about investigating and repairing the issue.

After 20 minutes, the session fell into something of a lull as the focus shifted towards single lap pace.

Bottas’ first qualifying simulation resulted in a 1:18.022s, leaving him second to Verstappen by 0.112s.

Hamilton then usurped Verstappen with a 1:17.810s, quickly bested by the Dutchman with 1:17.301s, a 0.509s difference between the title protagonists.

Third fastest was Perez, who dropped time in the final third of the lap, his time just 0.061s slower than Hamilton.

At McLaren, a gearbox gremlin for Daniel Ricciardo saw the Australian out of the car midway through proceedings, having completed just seven laps and no soft-tyre running.

A second qualifying simulation effort from Bottas netted him a 1:17.725s to climb to second amid suggestions he used a scrubbed set of tyres for the lap.

The time deficit to Verstappen, 0.424s, was therefore less worrying that initially it seemed.

In terms of outright laptimes, that where the session effectively ended with focus shifting to long runs.

A mixture of tyre compounds remained in use, Mercedes opting for the red-walled soft compound tyres and Red Bull the mediums.

Nicholas Latifi stopped at Turn 14 to draw the double yellows, stopping short of the wall before engaging reverse and carrying on.

It was a minor interruption as the session completed otherwise uninterrupted.

Behind the top four, Carlos Sainz headed Pierre Gasly, then Charles Leclerc, Yuki Tsunoda, Vettel, and Fernando Alonso.

Lando Norris was only 12th for McLaren while Ricciardo, who never rejoined the session, was only 15th with just seven laps to his name.

A final 60-minute practice session follows, commencing at 04:00 AEDT on Sunday morning.

Results: Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix, Free Practice 2

Pos Num Driver Team Time Diff Laps
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:17.301 28
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.725 +0.424s 31
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.810 +0.509s 26
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:17.871 +0.570s 26
5 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:18.318 +1.017s 29
6 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:18.429 +1.128s 29
7 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.605 +1.304s 28
8 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:18.644 +1.343s 31
9 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:18.681 +1.380s 32
10 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:18.732 +1.431s 27
11 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:18.841 +1.540s 25
12 4 Lando Norris McLaren 1:18.979 +1.678s 27
13 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:19.227 +1.926s 31
14 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:19.431 +2.130s 37
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:19.521 +2.220s 7
16 47 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:19.620 +2.319s 30
17 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:19.730 +2.429s 36
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:20.820 +3.519s 17
19 9 Nikita Mazepin Haas 1:21.581 +4.280s 28
20 63 George Russell Williams 2

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