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

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Mexican GP: Leclerc beats Vettel by 0.027s to top FP3
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Oct 26, 2019, 4:06 PM

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.

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
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Mexican GP
Sub-event FP3
Author Scott Mitchell