Verstappen sweeps Mexico practice ahead of rapid Albon

Max Verstappen swept all three practice sessions at the Mexico City Grand Prix after pipping Alex Albon to top spot in FP3.

Verstappen was faster than the Thai driver in the first and last sectors to pinch top spot by 0.07s, his Red Bull Racing car losing time to the Williams only in the middle sector. The Dutchman suggested over team radio that traffic on his flying lap had slowed him and that more had been on the table.

Sergio Perez was fastest of all in the first split in his attempt to rise to his teammate’s benchmark, but his lap fell away from him into the final two sectors, leaving him 0.139s slower than his teammate.

Six teams featured in the top seven places on an ideal sunny day in Mexico City, but the gap from the front three to the upper midfield had grown overnight.

George Russell led the way for Mercedes in fourth, but the Briton was 0.361s adrift. Oscar Piastri improved late in the session to move up to fifth ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Yuki Tsunoda, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

Lewis Hamilton was mystified by the 0.274s gap to teammate Russell on his way to 10th, with his engineer coaching him through a deficit through Turns 4 to 6, while Logan Sargeant beat Zhou Guanyu to 11th.

Charles Leclerc was an unrepresentative 13th for Ferrari after having his fastest lap baulked by Kevin Magnussen moving slowly on the racing line. The Monegasque abandoned the lap, but the soft tire in the warm weather was good for only one competitive flying lap, leaving his next tour uncompetitive.

Teammate Carlos Sainz fared worse, catching a low-moving Lance Stroll through the esses and spinning off the road, ruining his fresh set of softs. Sainz finished 15th behind Stroll in 14th, the Canadian having run off the road at Turn 12 on his first flying lap.

Nico Hulkenberg was 16th ahead Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly, Magnussen — who set just nine laps after picking up damage to his rear-left wheel on his first set of tires for the session — and Esteban Ocon.

Story originally appeared on Racer