Max Verstappen has placed his Red Bull on top of the timesheets ahead of Lewis Hamilton for the final practice session in Mexico.

The Dutchman set the fastest lap seen around the revamped Mexican circuit, registering a 1:19.137 on the super soft compound tyre, narrowly edging Hamilton’s Mercedes by 0.094 seconds. Team mate Daniel Ricciardo was two-tenths adrift in third, however his fastest lap was hampered by a slow moving Kevin Magnussen in the final corner.

The result sets up an interesting qualifying, as Mercedes has only topped one of the three practice sessions this weekend, as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel edged Hamilton in FP2 yesterday afternoon.

While they showed threatening pace towards the Mercedes, Ferrari was unable to get close to the front running cars, as Vettel was best placed of the two in sixth position while Kimi Raikkonen was a fraction behind in seventh. Both cars were eight-tenths off Verstappen’s benchmark.

Valtteri Bottas improved from yesterday’s practice session for Williams, a trait the team carry through every race weekend as they fall down the order on Friday only to move into the top 10 on Saturday.

The Finn was six-tenths off the pace, sandwiching himself in between Rosberg in fourth and Vettel in sixth. His team mate Felipe Massa was a further two-tenths back in eighth place, while Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg just beat Carlos Sainz to ninth position.

Problems struck the Haas drivers yet again during practice, this time both drivers experienced issues getting temperature into their front tyres. Romain Grosjean then questioned his team late in the session if they had altered his car, as he lost all balance and labeled it “undrivable”.

Image via Red Bull Content Pool

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Josh Kruse

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