November 29, 2021

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Mexico City GP: Sergio Perez and Red Bull quickest ahead of F1 qualifying with Mercedes adrift

Watch Qualifying live on Sky Sports F1 from 8pm, with build-up from 7pm; Do Mercedes have any hope of denying Red Bull a front-row lock-out in Mexico after their rivals lapped over half a second quicker in final practice?

Last Updated: 06/11/21 7:10pm


Red Bull appear firmly in the box seat at the Mexico City Grand Prix after their speed advantage over Mercedes grew in final practice, although it was home favourite Sergio Perez and not Max Verstappen who ended up fastest.

The 0.4s lap-time advantage that Red Bull held over their title rivals on Friday increased to 0.651s, with Lewis Hamilton finishing a distant third as a result.

“Six-and-a-half tenths?” replied a forlorn-sounding Hamilton when told of the gap to Perez by his race engineer in the closing minutes of the session.

Verstappen had again led most of the session but abandoned his final attempt after lacking grip on his final set of soft tyres.

That allowed team-mate Perez to nip in for a quickest time of 1:17.024 – to the delight of the large and partisan home crowd at the atmospheric Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso all locked up heading into turn one in third practice

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Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso all locked up heading into turn one in third practice

Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso all locked up heading into turn one in third practice

Mexico has never had a home driver finish on the podium in previous 20 editions of the race, although Red Bull would face a huge dilemma if Perez ran ahead of Verstappen, the 12-point title leader, in Sunday’s race.

Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished third and fourth respectively and appear to have it all to do to deny a Red Bull front-row lockout in qualifying from 8pm, live on Sky Sports F1.

One second adrift of the leading two teams, but Carlos Sainz’s promising start to the weekend continued in fifth place for Ferrari ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Riccardo for McLaren, who seemed to take a step forward from a tricky opening day.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc spins out during the final practice session at the Mexico City GP

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc spins out during the final practice session at the Mexico City GP

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc spins out during the final practice session at the Mexico City GP

But Lando Norris will take a grid penalty in the sister McLaren for a change of engine parts, the final Mercedes-powered car on the grid to exceed the mandatory limits at least once this season.

Engine changes for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon were also confirmed during final practice, meaning there are now four drivers automatically heading to the back rows for Sunday’s race start.

Tsunoda and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll had power-unit changes confirmed on Friday.

Williams’ George Russell, meanwhile, carries a five-place grid penalty into qualifying for a gearbox change.

Mexico City GP Practice Three Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:17.024
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.193
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.651
4) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.684
5) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +1.005
6) Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +1.013
7) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +1.097
8) Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +1.178
9) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1.189
10) Lando Norris McLaren +1.288
11) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1.328
12) Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +1.507
13) Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +1.532
14) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +1.590
15) Fernando Alonso Alpine +1.823
16) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.975
17) George Russell Williams +2.187
18) Mick Schumacher Haas +2.214
19) Nicholas Latifi Williams +2.289
20) Nikita Mazepin Haas +3.455