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Max narrowly fastest in third free practice GP Mexico

Published on 28 October 2023 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished the third free practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix as fastest. After finishing in first position for the first two practice sessions, Verstappen continued his dominance performance. With a 1:17.887 he was a tenth of a second faster than Alexander Albon, who surprisingly finished second. Sergio Perez completed the top three at his home circuit.

The final free practice at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has a quiet start. Many drivers are waiting for a long time in their pit boxes, so ten minutes into the session there are only four times set. Max comes out after twenty minutes and is immediately fast. On the soft tyre he sets the second fastest time, putting the Dutchman 73 thousandths of a second behind the fastest time of George Russell. Soon after Verstappen comes out on soft tyres again and then sets the fastest time, this time more than two tenths faster than Russell.

Perez also only starts his session after twenty minutes. The home hero is greeted by the Mexican fans with loud applause. Halfway during the session, Perez is in third position, three tenths behind his teammate. Verstappen leads in front of Russell and Perez, but the big surprise is Daniel Ricciardo. He is in his AlphaTauri on medium tyres only half a second slower than Max and is in fourth position. Lewis Hamilton completes the top five, almost eight tenths slower than Verstappen.

Williams also has a good session. With twenty minutes to go are Logan Sargeant and Albon in eighth and nineth position. Sargeant took last week his first points in the Formula 1 and performs well again during the practice sessions this weekend. He is within a second of Verstappen in the lead.

Kevin Magnussen is less lucky. He has an issue with his left rear tyre and the Danish driver must come into the pits after only one lap. Magnussen does not get a lot of preparation for qualifying. As Oliver Bearman was in his car in the first free practice session, so Magnussen only really drove in the second session. At then end of the session the Haas is repaired and Magnussen can drive eight laps in the end.

At the end of the session the drivers simulate a qualifying lap. Albon immediately sets the fastest time. With a 1:17.957, he is the first driver to go under the 1:18.000. Many drivers follow, but none go faster than the time set by Albon. But when Verstappen goes for a second run, he goes faster. Still Max is not happy as he complains about the traffic over the radio.

Verstappen is still the fastest when the session finishes. He will fight at 23:00 Dutch time for pole position. Competition comes from an unexpected direction, with Alexander Albon in second position less than a tenth behind. Sergio Perez, George Russell and Oscar Piastri complete the top five.

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Results third free practice Mexico:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:17.887 18
2Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:17.957+0.070s18
3Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:18.026+0.139s18
4George RussellRUSMercedes1:18.248+0.361s19
5Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:18.392+0.505s21
6Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:18.437+0.550s25
7Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:18.450+0.563s25
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:18.480+0.593s20
9Daniel RicciardoRICAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:18.499+0.612s14
10Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:18.522+0.635s20
11Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:18.718+0.831s14
12Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:18.917+1.030s20
13Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:18.970+1.083s21
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:19.094+1.207s20
15Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:19.293+1.406s22
16Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:19.320+1.433s18
17Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:19.471+1.584s20
18Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:19.509+1.622s18
19Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:19.573+1.686s8
20Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:19.839+1.952s18