Mexican GP practice: Vettel faster than Hamilton by 0.004s in FP2

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel claimed top spot in the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix by just four-thousandths of a second

Mexican GP practice: Vettel faster than Hamilton by 0.004s in FP2

Vettel bolted on super-soft tyres after completing six laps on the mediums early on, setting the fastest time of 1m19.790s 26 minutes into the session.

This relegated Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who had established himself on top of the timesheets early on with his run on soft rubber before heading for the pits after an off at Turn 1 after which he declared the tyres were "completely done", to second.

Hamilton then improved on his run on super-softs, but despite twice setting quick laps he couldn't quite overhaul Vettel.

His best laptime was set on rubber two laps older than that of Vettel, but he also set a time 13-thousandths of a second slower than the Ferrari driver with comparable tyre life.

Hamilton later had a brief off in the baseball stadium section while on a long run on super-softs, although it resulted only in him cutting the track at Turn 13 before heading to the pits.

Nico Rosberg was third fastest, 0.435s off the pace and 0.034s faster than Kimi Raikkonen, having done his initial work on the medium-compound Pirellis and, like Hamilton, having an off at Turn 1 early on after a big lockup.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest for Red Bull, later complaining about graining on his long run on super-softs, but behind him was arguably the most eye-catching performance of the session as Nico Hulkenberg was the only driver to get into the top 10 using the slower soft compound.

The German's lap was 0.784s off the pace, which was enough to split the Red Bulls and condemn Max Verstappen to seventh - the Dutchman later complaining that his steering wheel wasn't straight and that his left-rear tyre had "completely gone" while on a long run.

Valtteri Bottas set a time good enough for eighth with 50 minutes to go using super-softs.

Carlos Sainz Jr, who briefly ran second fastest early in the session, was ninth ahead of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso with both drivers setting their times on super-softs.

Alonso's session came to an end after only 25 laps, with the Spaniard not returning to the track after ending his long run on super-softs with over 20 minutes remaining.

Daniil Kvyat was 11th ahead of Jenson Button, the Toro Rosso driver ending the session parked up and out of the smoking car after being instructed to stop just as the chequered flag was shown.

With track temperatures higher than this morning's session, in the 32-35C bracket, many drivers had offs in the first part of the session as they adapted to the available grip levels.

Felipe Massa had a spin at Turn 6 early in the session, ending up down in 13th place ahead of the lead Renault of Kevin Magnussen.

Sergio Perez was another to rotate early on, this time at Turn 5, but unlike team-mate Hulkenberg he couldn't break into the top 10 on soft rubber and was only 15th.

Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein was a solid 17th fastest, just behind Jolyon Palmer's Renault, although he was caught out later on in the session when he had a brief off at Turn 8 with just two minutes remaining.

Sauber driver Felipe Nasr also spun at Turn 6, ending up 19th and four-hundredths behind team-mate Marcus Ericsson.

Romain Grosjean hit electrical trouble while on his outlap and spent much of the session in the garage and wasn't able to set a time until there were 23 minutes remaining.

Using super-soft rubber, his lap was good enough for 20th fastest, relegating Haas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez to last place.

FP2 TIMES

Pos Driver Car Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.790s 47
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.004s 37
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0.435s 46
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.469s 37
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 0.658s 43
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 0.784s 43
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 0.829s 42
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 0.839s 41
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1.184s 46
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1.213s 25
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1.403s 39
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1.408s 39
13 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1.536s 45
14 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1.652s 39
15 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1.789s 41
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1.995s 44
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 2.190s 42
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 2.207s 42
19 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 2.247s 43
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 2.315s 14
21 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 2.508s 44
22 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 2.618s 33


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