until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Russell leads Mercedes 1-2 as rivals struggle in practice

by Ben Anderson
2 min read

George Russell led a Mercedes 1-2 in final practice for the Mexican Grand Prix, relegating Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen to a distant third.

Key moments

– Russell leads Mercedes 1-2
– Verstappen nearly half a second off
– Ferrari only fourth and sixth

Mercedes expects to go well on such a high-altitude F1 circuit, knowing it can run the W13 at its highest downforce settings without the car being compromised by excessive drag in the way it usually is.

Russell looked rapid on both of his soft-tyre runs and finished up well clear of Red Bull and Ferrari.

His initial 1m19.405s benchmark was bettered twice by Verstappen’s Red Bull, which did a 1m19.296s lap – which Verstappen described as “terrible with the kerbs” in sector one – and then a 1m19.118s before Russell took charge on his second set of new red-walled Pirellis and inflicted the damage.

Russell went massively quicker on his second run, setting a 1m18.399s lap that stood as the fastest of the session, the car looking particularly strong through the low-speed corners at the start and finish of the lap.

His Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was actually quicker across the first two-thirds of the lap on his own second run, but he lost time through the final sector and wound up 0.154s down.

Verstappen made another attempt, but went too deep at Turn 4 so backed out of his first flying lap, then could only manage a time just under half a second slower than Russell’s Mercedes when he tried again.

Charles Leclerc languished outside the top 10 in his repaired Ferrari until a late effort lifted him to fourth, but the best of the Ferrari drivers was still seven tenths off the ultimate pace, complaining of the car being very difficult to drive and having too much understeer.

Home hero Sergio Perez was a tenth further back in fifth, requiring a late flourish to vault ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris and the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas.

These two then slipped out of the top six when Carlos Sainz made a late improvement in the second Ferrari, with a lap which was still a full nine tenths off the impressive pace set by Russell.

Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri and Alex Albon’s Williams rounded out the top 10, while Alpine could only manage 11th (Esteban Ocon) and 13th (Fernando Alonso) on what looked to be a very slippery track.

Practice 3 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 George Russell Mercedes 1m18.399s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.543s +0.144s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m18.876s +0.477s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m19.123s +0.724s
5 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m19.241s +0.842s
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m19.301s +0.902s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m19.317s +0.918s
8 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m19.39s +0.991s
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m19.882s +1.483s
10 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m19.917s +1.518s
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m19.96s +1.561s
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m20.019s +1.62s
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m20.037s +1.638s
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m20.139s +1.74s
15 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m20.33s +1.931s
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m20.477s +2.078s
17 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m20.598s +2.199s
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m20.848s +2.449s
19 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m20.986s +2.587s
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m21.271s +2.872s
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