Mexican GP: Leclerc beats Vettel by 0.027s to top FP3

Charles Leclerc emerged on top of a late shootout on a drying track to head a Ferrari one-two in final practice for Formula 1's Mexican Grand Prix.

Mexican GP: Leclerc beats Vettel by 0.027s to top FP3
Listen to this article

Leclerc edged teammate Sebastian Vettel by 0.027s as Valtteri Bottas lapped just over a tenth of a second off the pace in the lead Mercedes.

The session started with a wet track after more overnight rain, and the few cars completing laps did so on intermediate tyres.

There was further disruption at Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Renault, as Vettel suffered sensor issues, Pierre Gasly sat out the start of FP3 with illness, and Renault tried to fix a hydraulic leak on Daniel Ricciardo's car.

While Vettel and Gasly would eventually join the session, Ricciardo failed to even complete and installation lap – and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg managed just the one – after Renault opted to park both cars because both had suffered "a pollution of one of the cooling systems, which requires careful cleaning not to damage any component".

Of those that were able to complete some running, Max Verstappen set the early pace on intermediates with a 1m26.118s, four tenths clear of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

The bulk of the meaningful running came in the final 10 minutes after Kimi Raikkonen's Alfa Romeo had vaulted up the order by switching to soft tyres.

Several drivers had off-track moments as they battled the low-grip conditions, but by the end of FP3 the leading times were quicker than Friday's dry FP2.

Mercedes looked as though they would grab the top two places but Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were shuffled back to third and fourth as the Ferraris posted their final times.

Hamilton ended up 0.236s off the pace, ahead of Carlos Sainz, who was within half a second of Leclerc in his McLaren.

Max Verstappen was only sixth in his Red Bull with teammate Alex Albon eighth in a new chassis after his crash on Friday.

Gasly managed to overcome his illness to complete 10 laps and split the Red Bull drivers in seventh in his Toro Rosso.

Both Red Bull drivers were set to improve on their final laps but encountered traffic, with Verstappen – who set the fastest first sector of anyone at the time – bemoaning "unbelievable" driving from an Alfa Romeo and Albon getting baulked by Robert Kubica.

Lando Norris ended the session ninth in the second McLaren, with Racing Point's home driver Sergio Perez completing the top 10.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 14 01'16.145
2 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 11 01'16.172 00.027
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 18 01'16.259 00.114
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 16 01'16.381 00.236
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 14 01'16.638 00.493
6 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 12 01'16.903 00.758
7 France Pierre Gasly
Toro Rosso 10 01'17.090 00.945
8 Thailand Alex Albon
Red Bull 19 01'17.094 00.949
9 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 11 01'17.146 01.001
10 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 10 01'17.207 01.062
11 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 14 01'17.529 01.384
12 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 19 01'17.740 01.595
13 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 8 01'17.866 01.721
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 8 01'17.881 01.736
15 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 12 01'18.132 01.987
16 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 14 01'18.527 02.382
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 13 01'20.965 04.820
18 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 13 01'22.002 05.857
19 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 1
shares
comments
Suzuka ruling will have "minimal" impact on Renault's F1 future
Previous article

Suzuka ruling will have "minimal" impact on Renault's F1 future

Next article

FIA plans to abandon Formula 1's Q2 start tyre rule

FIA plans to abandon Formula 1's Q2 start tyre rule
Load comments
Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari Prime

Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari

Formula 1's return to Spain on Friday ended with Ferrari leading the way from Mercedes, while Red Bull could only manage third fastest overall courtesy of Max Verstappen. But its chances of victory are far from remote with a deeper dig into the times despite Ferrari's strong start...

Formula 1
May 20, 2022
The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries Prime

The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries

The VW Group’s German superpowers of sportscar racing have all but confirmed they are coming to F1 when the next set of engine rules come into force in 2026. Here's why both manufacturers are all set to take the plunge, and crucially how it might work

Formula 1
May 19, 2022
How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup Prime

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

Holding a race in Las Vegas – party central, a city of dreams and decadence and, yes, more than a smattering of tackiness – has been on Liberty Media’s most-wanted list since it acquired Formula 1’s commercial rights. But, as LUKE SMITH explains, F1 has been here before and the relationship didn’t work out

Formula 1
May 18, 2022
Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads Prime

Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads

A Formula 2 and Formula E champion, Nyck de Vries is currently considering where his future in motorsport lies. Continuing in WEC and Formula E is possible and he's also courted glances Stateside after impressing in an IndyCar test. But ahead of his Formula 1 FP1 debut with Williams, he could have another option if he impresses...

Formula 1
May 18, 2022
Why Leclerc's crash shouldn't put off F1 drivers tasting history Prime

Why Leclerc's crash shouldn't put off F1 drivers tasting history

OPINION: For a demo run ahead of Monaco's Historique Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was blessed with the opportunity to drive Niki Lauda's former Ferrari 312B3 - but a brake failure at Rascasse suggested Leclerc's Monaco hoodoo transcended contemporary F1. Although an awkward incident, Leclerc deserves credit for embracing F1's history.

Formula 1
May 18, 2022
Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari is a mirage Prime

Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari is a mirage

OPINION: The fight for the 2022 Formula 1 world titles between Red Bull and Ferrari so far features little of the public animosity that developed between the former and Mercedes last year. But that isn’t to say things are full on friendly or won’t get much worse very quickly…

Formula 1
May 17, 2022
The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Prime

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Formula 1
May 16, 2022
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

Formula 1
May 15, 2022