George Russell edged out team mate Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes occupied the top two positions in Saturday’s final practice session for the Mexico City Grand Prix – sending a clear message to rivals Red Bull and Ferrari before qualifying.
Russell produced a blistering time of 1m 18.399s – more than one-and-a-half seconds quicker than his Friday benchmark – in another bright and warm session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, ending up 0.144s clear of Hamilton.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull were Mercedes’ nearest challengers, but the Dutchman – almost half a second off the pace – was left to rue a “terrible” first sector during an early lap on soft tyres and “the same problem again” at the start of his second run, which prompted him to back off, recharge and have another go.
Behind, the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz took P4 and P6 respectively, sandwiching the other Red Bull of home favourite Sergio Perez, who sparked roars in the grandstands every time he completed a lap.
FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE LA CIUDAD DE MÉXICO 2022
Practice 3 results
|1 George RUSSELL Mercedes||1:18.399|
|2 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||+0.144s|
|3 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||+0.477s|
|4 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||+0.724s|
|5 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||+0.842s|
As per the United States, FP3 marked a valuable final hour of track time ahead of qualifying, with five drivers sitting out first practice for rookies and second practice dedicated to further evaluation of Pirelli’s prototype 2023 tyres.
Behind the Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari cars, Lando Norris was next up for McLaren, as Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and the Williams of Alex Albon rounded out the top 10 positions.
Alpine pair Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were 11th and 13th respectively, split by the second Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu, with Daniel Ricciardo down in 14th, some eight-tenths slower than team mate Norris.
Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) were next on the timesheets, the former surviving a trip across the grass and the latter picking up a fine for pit lane speeding.