Verstappen squeezes out Alex Albon in Mexico City GP FP3

Alex Albon confirmed his impressive pace for WIlliams in FP3 of the 2023 Mexico City GP

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Max Verstappen continued his clean sweep of the 2023 Mexico City GP by topping FP3 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the Dutchman deposed surprise leader Alex Albon late-on by just seven-hundredths of a second.

Albon confirmed he’ll be a major threat at least for qualifying in just a few hours’ time though Logan Sargeant was unable to replicate that form in the other Williams as he finished outside the top ten.

The other continuation from Friday was Sergio Perez‘s deficit to Verstappen – in spite of the raucous home support he was over a tenth back with the Dutchman leaving some time on the table.

George Russell had a better session finishing fourth, still four-tenths behind Verstappen but best of the chasing pack. Oscar Piastri surprisingly beat teammate Lando Norris, the McLarens sat fifth and eighth but separated by just nine-hundredths, with Valtteri Bottas continuing to look strong in sixth.

AlphaTauri are dark horses to reach Q3 finishing seventh and ninth, while Lewis Hamilton completed a tight top ten.

The only major incidents of the session were from Carlos Sainz – he got all out of shape on the kerbs entering the stadium section and nearly rear-ended Valtteri Bottas, the Spaniard was able to get his Ferrari under control just in time to bail out alongside.

And in a major twist of fate at the end of the session, both Ferraris were both impeded on their final flying laps with Carlos Sainz sent into a spectacular spin seemingly out of frustration at Lance Stroll.

Kevin Magnussen had perhaps the most difficult session of all, he suffered a wheel fastening issue and got into a team radio fight with his engineer over blocking Charles Leclerc.

“The ride and rear grip feels pretty terrible”

Oscar Piastri on team radio in FP3

Soft tyres: handle with care

Zhou Guanyu during Mexico City GP practice | Alfa Romeo F1 Team

FP3 confirmed what two hours of track time had already hinted heavily. The soft tyres won’t be the silver bullet in qualifying, and drivers will need to handle with care to avoid falling apart in sector three.

Bottas went fastest in the first sector at one point but ended that lap half a tenth down on the quickest time, while Piastri suffered a similar dropoff.

At an absolute maximum, the soft tyres will only be good for one flying lap but drivers will need to get the kid gloves out to ensure they stay optimal all the way through.

Verstappen just about kept it together on his fastest lap, but still haemorrhaged time to Albon in the final sector, with the left-sided tyres taking the brunt of wear.

Tsunoda was one driver who beat the odds though, setting his fastest time with a second run on the softs.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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