F1 Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole position
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, after winning a tense qualifying battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton was three tenths up on Vettel after the first runs in Q3, with Bottas just two thousandths of a second slower in third, before Daniel Ricciardo crashed his Red Bull heavily at Turn 14 and caused the session to be stopped.
Hamilton went even faster on his final run once the session resumed, sealing pole position with a 1m22.188s lap – the fastest ever recorded by an F1 car around Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.
Bottas momentarily held top stop before Hamilton’s improvement despite a scruffy final flying lap, with Vettel then denying Mercedes a front row lockout by posting the second fastest time on his final run.
Despite setting the pace in final practice, Ferrari ultimately didn’t quite have the speed to challenge the best of the Mercedes drivers, with Vettel 0.268s down on Hamilton, but fractionally quicker than Bottas.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, more than half a second further back, while the remaining Red Bull of Max Verstappen claimed fifth.
Romain Grosjean produced a stunning effort to qualify his Haas inside the top six, nearly four tenths clear of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
Massa was just 0.044s clear of Carlos Sainz Jr, who in turn narrowly beat Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat to eighth on the grid.
Ricciardo wound up 10th after failing to set a time before his crash.
Neither Force India made it through to Q3. Sergio Perez, who complained of a gearshift problem, missed the cut by just 0.074s despite improving by nearly four tenths on his final flying lap, while Esteban Ocon failed to find time on his final run and wound up 14th.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified 12th fastest on his debut for the works Renault team, only 0.010s down on Perez, while Fernando Alonso manhandled the troubled McLaren-Honda to the 13th best time, ahead of Ocon and Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.
Last-minute Sauber stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi was 16th fastest, after replacing the unfit Pascal Wehrlein ahead of final practice.
The Ferrari reserve was quicker than Ericsson after the first runs in Q1, but went off at the penultimate corner on his final effort, so wound up 0.183s down and failed to make the Q2 cut.
Kevin Magnussen’s difficult first weekend racing for Haas continued, the Dane running off track on his final Q1 flier and failing to improve his time.
He was fractionally faster than the second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne, who completed only one flying lap in qualifying after a fuel-flow problem forced him to return to the pits for most of the session.
Williams repaired rookie Lance Stroll’s car in time to make a late appearance in Q1, following his heavy crash at the end of FP3.
The Canadian was 19th fastest, though faces a grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of the session, while Renault’s Jolyon Palmer qualified slowest of the 20 runners, more than a second down on Stroll and over three adrift of Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m23.485s||1.297s|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.487s||2.299s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.512s||2.324s|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.081s||2.893s|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.568s||3.380s|
F1 Australian GP: Ferrari driver Vettel fastest in final practice
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel broke the unofficial Albert Park lap record on his way to top spot in third practice, ahead of qualifying for the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel was the early pace-setter as Ferrari decided to complete a burst of swift laps on ultra-softs in the opening minutes of the session, with he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen setting the early pace.
German Vettel subsequently improved his time midway through the hour-long session, recording a session’s best of 1m23.380s – again set on a set of ultra-soft tyres.
That was enough for him to trump Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, the pair ending up second and third respectively.
Unlike Ferrari, Mercedes decided to wait until later in the session to complete its runs on the ultra-soft tyre.
Bottas and Hamilton both headed to the track with a little under 20 minutes remaining, with Bottas jumping into second with a 1m23.859s and ending the session the faster of the two Silver Arrows.
Hamilton wasn’t far behind in third and tucked in with a 1m23.870s – although he did go fastest of all in the first sector on his flying lap, only to lose time by running slightly wide at Turn 13.
That wound up being the last of the significant improvements in the top order, as a Lance Stroll crash sparked the first red flag of the day when he hit the wall at the exit of Turn 10.
The Williams driver had just started an ultra-soft run with 10 minutes to go when he side-swiped the wall and rolled to a stop half way down to Turn 11.
The stoppage was long enough for the session not to be restarted.
Raikkonen ended up fourth in the second Ferrari, the Finn having suffered a puncture early on in the session – while his engine also cut out on the approach to Turn 13 as he ran up the escape road.
His best time was a 1m23.988s, with that effort more than a second faster than the next best car of Nico Hulkenberg.
Behind the Ferraris and Mercedes, Renault driver Hulkenberg was the best of the rest as he jumped from 10th to fifth late on with a best effort of 1m25.063s, also set on ultra-soft tyres.
That was enough for him to displace Daniel Ricciardo, who was the fastest Red Bull in sixth – the Australian and his team-mate Max Verstappen, who ended the session in 12th, both struggling to find time on their ultra-soft runs.
Ricciardo finished half a second clear of Romain Grosjean who was seventh in the leading Haas.
Toro Rosso pair Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were next, while Grosjean’s team-mate Kevin Magnussen was finally able to complete finally sufficient running and completed the top 10.
The McLarens were 14th and 15th, with Fernando Alonso finishing ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Antonio Giovinazzi – who was confirmed as a late stand-in for Pascal Wehrlein before the session – completed 18 laps to end up just over a second behind Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.092s||1.712s||15|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m25.948s||2.568s||11|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.049s||2.669s||11|
|12||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m26.269s||2.889s||7|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.457s||3.077s||12|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.103s||3.723s||16|
Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who lines up fourth, said he hasn’t focused too much on set-up changes or getting distracted by the unrepresentative practice sessions.
"We know from every year here there’s always a bit of a difference with the weather," said Raikkonen.
"It’s hot during the daytime so it’s a bit of a waste of time, those sessions.
"We know what will happen for the evening, to make the right choices and make it work when it actually matters.
"I hardly changed my car – I changed a little bit for FP3 just to get a better feeling.
"It was not ideal at that time of day but you know the pace is going to improve, so we pretty much kept the car the same."
Kimi: car good for 3rd, lap just wasn’t perfect
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty good qualifying, the car has behaved well all day. Today we went a lot faster than we had been in practice, we did our best and it was almost enough for third place, but my last lap was not perfect in some places. It’s hard to say if we’ll be able to fight with the Mercedes tomorrow: usually in race conditions we are a bit closer, but I’m sure they will also be very strong. Tomorrow we can only do our best, we’ll try to make a good start and then we’ll see.”
Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to Abu Dhabi GP F1 pole position
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for his Formula 1 world championship showdown with Nico Rosberg, with a commanding performance in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton held provisional pole after the initial runs in Q3, just over three tenths quicker than Rosberg, and eventually completed two laps good enough for pole by breaking into the 1m38s on his final run.
Championship leader Rosberg also improved on his second Q3 run, but ended up more than three tenths behind Hamilton.
If Hamilton wins Sunday’s race, Rosberg only needs to finish third to clinch his first F1 world title.
Daniel Ricciardo qualified his Red Bull third fastest, nicking ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari by just 0.015 seconds on his final Q3 run.
Ricciardo and his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, who qualified sixth fastest, will both start the race on the super-soft tyre, after progressing through Q2 without the ultra-soft favoured by Mercedes and Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest in the second Ferrari, less than a tenth slower than Raikkonen.
Vettel suggested he lost time in Turns 16, 17 and 18, and that he went the wrong way on set-up for qualifying.
The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez locked out row four, just 0.018s apart, while Fernando Alonso qualified his McLaren a tenth faster than Felipe Massa’s Williams, which rounded out the top 10.
Massa’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas just missed out on making Q3 in the second Williams, finding time on his final Q2 lap but narrowly losing out to Alonso, who was quicker than Bottas by just 0.040s.
Jenson Button qualified 12th in the sister McLaren, dropping two tenths to Alonso in the middle sector and suggesting his car picked up understeer in the cool conditions.
Esteban Gutierrez beat Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean to 13th on the grid by just under a tenth of a second, while Jolyon Palmer was 15th in the best of the Renaults, 0.175s clear of Pascal Wehrlein, who put his Manor into Q2 for the fifth time this season.
Both Toro Rosso drivers fell in Q1, after losing most of Friday’s second practice to FIA safety checks to its cars, following punctures suffered on Daniil Kvyat’s car.
Kvyat was only 17th quickest, a tenth slower than Wehrlein, while Kvyat’s team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr qualified on the last row of the grid.
Renault apologised to Kevin Magnussen after he failed to go quicker on his final Q1 run and wound up 18th, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who complained of an ERS problem exiting Turn 14.
Esteban Ocon was 20th in the second Manor, after a slow first sector, while the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson qualified last, the Swede apologising to the team for locking up under braking for Turn 17 and ruining his final flying lap in Q1.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.589s||0.834s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.818s||1.063s|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.501s||1.746s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.519s||1.764s|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m42.003s||3.248s|
|21||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m42.393s||3.638s|
Abu Dhabi GP FP3: Sebastian Vettel tops F1 final practice
Sebastian Vettel was a surprise fastest in the final Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had set the pace with just over half of the one-hour session completed having been among a group of drivers to set times on ultra-soft Pirellis early on, which included Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel.
With just over forty minutes to go, Nico Rosberg, who had been fifth fastest behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with both using the slower super-soft Pirellis early on, went fastest after bolting on the fastest tyre.
Seconds after Rosberg knocked Raikkonen off top spot, Hamilton posted a time 0.103s quicker to take top spot.
But Vettel, on a fresh set of ultra-softs, then went 0.137s faster than Hamilton with 11 minutes remaining to secure top spot.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Raikkonen slotted in second and third on their late runs on ultra-softs, which left Hamilton and Rosberg, who remain favourite to qualify on the front row, down in fourth and fifth after completing their qualifying simulation runs before everyone else.
Ricciardo ended the session a distant sixth, a second off the pace, after failing to exploit the potential of his ultra-soft tyres.
Force India driver Sergio Perez was seventh fastest, less than a tenth off Ricciardo, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg ended up eighth after missing half of the session with a fuel system problem.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas and Haas’s Esteban Gutierrez, who took a fresh Ferrari engine ahead of this session, rounded out the top 10, ahead of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was 12th fastest ahead of Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa didn’t get the best out of his final set of tyres after a spin at Turn 6 right at the start of his run.
Toro Rosso returned to the track after stopping running in yesterday’s session amid concerns it and the FIA had about safety following two punctures believed to be car-related.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat completed only 23 laps between them, with Sainz best placed in 18th place.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||0.137s||21|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1.056s||20|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.110s||19|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1.292s||13|
|18||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||2.526s||10|
|21||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||3.330s||13|
Q: Thank you for that you two. And Kimi, nice to see you here. Max Verstappen had that third place bought and paid for for most of the qualifying session but you pulled it right out at the end. Where did that come from?
Kimi Raikkonen: I struggled the whole qualifying in a few places, in a few corners in the middle sector. To be honest the last lap it was pretty average from my viewpoint. Obviously it was enough to be in third place. The Mercedes seems to be a bit too far. I struggled the first two corners with the tyre warm-up a bit. Even in the middle I wasn’t really happy but I don’t mind, it was good enough for this and we’ll see what we can do.
Q: Kimi, just looking at the way you’ve performed today in particular, you were quickest in practice in Sector One and Sector Three, which was interesting. And then obviously it took a little while to get it all together but what is it about Sector Two that was causing you problems and Ferrari problems today that you managed, I guess, to finally put right.
KR: I think we’re lacking a bit of downforce overall there, comparing maybe to the guys in front of us – but you know the car’s been behaving today, pretty good and just been struggling on the tight corners to turn around the car and a bit of front-locking so obviously it’s been a bit guessing whether we can turn or not. As I said, it was not ideal, the lap, but it was good enough for third place and even making a perfect lap it wouldn’t be fast enough for Mercedes today. But, y’know, tomorrow is another day and we try to improve.
KR: For me, it’s another race. I’ve had some good memories here but also some not so good. It will be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow and obviously with Felipe, he’s made his decision to do something else with his life and I’m sure he will enjoy it and all the best for whatever he does.
KR: Obviously it’s not up to us. I think if it was up to the drivers we would come back but this is how it seems to be in many places. The drivers like the places but there’s always a question mark whether we’re coming back or not. Sadly, it’s all about money unfortunately. The best amount gets the race.
Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Kimi, congratulations for this position. We are used to seeing Red Bull in this position. I would love to know what difference has been the factor that has made Ferrari much better this weekend, because so far it’s really good?
KR: Yeah, but it’s been very close. I think it’s been very close most of the year and obviously sometimes we’ve been a bit behind, sometimes in front but I think we’ve done a very good job in the recent races as a team and improved in certain areas and trying new things. We’ve learned some positive things and as a team we’ve worked very well in recent months and I think it’s helping us to get back to where we were at the start of the year so hopefully we can have a good strong race tomorrow. It’s all about learning from what we’ve done and improving things. All of us have been pushing in the same direction and it seems to start paying off a little bit.
Kimi Raikkonen surprised ‘average’ lap put him third on Brazil grid
Kimi Raikkonen called the qualifying lap that put him third on the Brazilian Grand Prix grid "pretty average", despite beating Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel and both Red Bulls.
Raikkonen was the only one of that quartet to improve during their final runs in Q3 at Interlagos, which vaulted him from sixth to third in the final classification, behind only the dominant Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Raikkonen has shown improved form on Saturdays recently in F1, and has now outqualified Vettel at the last four races in succession.
Ferrari congratulated the Finn on a job well done after the session, but Raikkonen admitted over team radio to being surprised the lap was good enough for third on the grid.
"I struggled the whole qualifying with a few corners in the middle sector," he explained.
"We’re lacking downforce compared to the guys in front.
"I struggle in the first two corners with tyre warm up. In the middle, I wasn’t happy either, but I don’t mind, it was good enough for this.
"The car has been behaving today pretty good, just struggling a bit in the right corners to turnaround the car, and [with] front locking. It’s been a bit of guessing.
"To be honest, the last lap was pretty average in my view, but it was enough to be third.
"Mercedes seem to be a bit too far [in front] – even if we made the perfect lap it wouldn’t be fast enough."
Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to Brazilian Grand Prix pole
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix, a tenth of a second faster than Mercedes team-mate and Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg.
With rain threatening, but never arriving beyond a few spots, throughout qualifying, Hamilton had the advantage after the first runs in Q3.
While Rosberg did make a small improvement on his second run, Hamilton was fast enough to defend top spot – with his pace in the long middle sector particularly strong.
Kimi Raikkonen capitalised on the two Red Bull drivers and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel failing to improve on their second runs to jump to third late on, 0.668s off pole.
Max Verstappen shaded Vettel for fourth by just a hundredth of a second, complaining about losing rear grip mid-way through his second flier, with Ricciardo aborting his final quick lap in the middle sector and not able to do better than sixth.
Two weeks after qualifying last in Mexico, Romain Grosjean equalled the Haas team’s best grid position of the year as he went seventh fastest.
Nico Hulkenberg had the edge in the Force India battle, lapping half-a-tenth faster than team-mate Sergio Perez, with the pair in eighth and ninth place.
McLaren-Honda returned to Q3 after a three-race absence, Fernando Alonso ending up 10th.
Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were both eliminated in a late flurry of improvements in Q2 as some spots of rain fell.
Bottas missed out on the top 10 by just 0.060s to Hulkenberg, while Massa had a poor first run then was unable to make a big enough improvement to do better than 13th.
The two Williams cars sandwiched the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, with the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr 14th and 15th, and Renault driver Jolyon Palmer 16th after several lock ups on his only Q2 lap on fresh rubber.
Jenson Button was the highest-profile casualty in Q1 in 17th place, lapping almost six tenths slower than team-mate Alonso and complaining of a lack of front grip having failed to improve his time on his second run.
Kevin Magnussen did improve on his second run having been slowest on the first, but that was only good enough to jump up to 19th, ahead of the Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon.
Ocon complained about Wehrlein holding him up on his final run, while Wehrlein complained about being overtaken by his team-mate.
But Ocon was the only driver to get in trouble with the stewards, who will investigate whether or not he impeded Palmer as the Descida do Lago downhill left-hander during the session.
Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr annexed the back row, with the Swede finding a bigger improvement on his second run to jump ahead of his team-mate by just 0.058s having earlier been over three tenths slower.
Nasr complained about traffic during his second run, although he was still able to improve on his first-run time by over four tenths.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.485s||0.749s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.540s||0.804s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.104s||1.368s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m12.165s||1.429s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m12.726s||–|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m12.920s||–|
Rosberg outpaces F1 title rival Hamilton in Brazilian GP practice
Formula 1 championship leader Nico Rosberg beat title rival Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time in final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix at an overcast Interlagos.
Rosberg, who can clinch the title by winning Sunday’s race no matter where Mercedes team-mate Hamilton finishes, posted the quickest lap of the weekend so far with a 1m11.740s effort.
Hamilton, who was quickest in both Friday practice sessions, had to settle for second, just 0.093s slower than Rosberg.
Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed the cooler conditions compared to Friday’s session to finish third and fourth, 0.219s and 0.287s down respectively on Rosberg.
Behind the leading quartet came Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who had hoped the drop in temperatures would help their cause, but they were 0.337s and 0.547s off the pace ultimately.
Following the scorching temperatures for second practice that rose to 31C, with the track hitting a peak of 52C, FP3 was run in very different conditions.
Heavy overnight rain resulted in a grey start to the session and a damp circuit in places that started off at 22C and rose to a high of 25C.
A handful of drivers conducted exploratory laps on full-wet tyres early on, before Hamilton pitted for slicks, claiming the track was "pretty dry" despite light drizzle in some places.
Hamilton went off on his first flying lap on softs, before setting the first competitive time of the day with a 1m16.980s.
There was a momentary disturbance 15 minutes into the session that resulted in double-yellows flags being waved in sector one, when an umbrella blew onto the track at the Senna S, but this was swiftly dealt with.
Others soon followed Hamilton’s lead by venturing out on either soft or medium dry tyres, leading to the times tumbling as the rain eased off.
Raikkonen set the benchmark time on soft tyres with a lap of 1m12.530s before Ricciardo beat that by almost a quarter of a second with 17 minutes remaining, effectively sparking the start of the qualifying simulation runs.
Rosberg eventually emerged as the fastest driver of the session, posting a time of 1m11.740s that Hamilton couldn’t quite reach.
Valtteri Bottas was seventh in his Willliams, and the only other driver to finish within a second of Rosberg.
Bottas was almost four tenths of a second ahead of Jolyon Palmer’s Renault, while Felipe Massa’s Williams and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda rounded out the top 10.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson finished bottom of the standings, the only driver without a time to his name.
He completed only one lap due to technical issues, necessitating an engine change.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m12.077s||0.337s||19|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m12.287s||0.547s||21|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m13.203s||1.463s||14|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m13.231s||1.491s||19|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m13.293s||1.553s||20|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m13.609s||1.869s||13|
Raikkonen said the car improved for Saturday, but he was also confused by how the tyres performed and cited an engine problem for ruining his final run in Q3.
"I felt my car was definitely better today," he said.
"It was more to do with getting the tyres working as you want because it seems to be quite tricky.
"One lap, you make them work easily, like in Q1, then we had a struggle in Q2 and it seemed to come back in the last qualifying.
"In the last qualifying, the first lap was decent but I felt I lost time in a few places and then there was something a bit odd feeling in the last part.
"We had some issue with power on the last set of tyres so I feel there was a lot of lap time that we never got to use. The team is looking into it.
"After a little struggle in Q2, I took it a bit easy in the first run in the last part of qualifying first run so the position we are is not showing where the lap time was from our side.
"It’s just unfortunate what happened."
Lewis Hamilton takes Mexican GP F1 pole position
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s Mexican Grand Prix, while Nico Rosberg climbed from fourth to second with his final lap.
Hamilton did a time good enough for pole position on his first run in the Q3 top 10-shootout and was unable to improve on his second attempt.
But Rosberg had the most to do on his second runs, as he was initially only fourth fastest, behind Hamilton and Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
With all drivers using super-softs during Q3, Verstappen and Ricciardo were only able to make tiny improvements on their second runs in an attempt to consolidate second and third places.
Rosberg, who has had a tough weekend, managed to do enough on his final run to jump to second, one tenth faster than Verstappen.
Nobody was able to challenge Verstappen and Ricciardo for second-row slots, with Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg’s first run in Q3 good enough for fifth place.
Ferrari had a disappointing session, with Kimi Raikkonen unable to improve on his first run time and ending up sixth and Sebastian Vettel moving from eighth to seventh on his last run as the team struggled to find grip with an increase in track temperature near the end.
Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were eighth and ninth, with Carlos Sainz Jr completing the top 10.
The two Mercedes drivers, as well as the two Ferrari drivers, will start the race on the soft-compound Pirellis having set their fastest times in Q2 using the slower rubber.
Raikkonen did go out on super-softs in Q2, but did not improve on his soft time.
McLaren driver Fernando Alonso missed out on a place in Q3 by 0.113s seconds to Sainz, and will start 11th.
Home hero Sergio Perez was unable to improve his laptime on his second run using super-softs, having set a time ultimately good enough for 12th using the softs.
Jenson Button took 13th in the second McLaren ahead of Renault’s Kevin Magnussen, Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.
Wehrlein had earlier put in a stellar last lap on a third run in Q1 to reach Q2.
Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 having spun in the Esses while trying to improve on his final flying lap.
Although he held 16th place at the time, Wehrlein’s late effort then bumped him down to 18th place.
Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was only able to complete one four-lap run, reporting a total loss of power and returning to the pits and not running again thanks to an electrical problem.
Felipe Nasr was 19th ahead of the Manor of Esteban Ocon, while Romain Grosjean in the second Haas had a trouble session.
Grosjean was unable to post a laptime on his first run after locking up and going off at Turn 12, before being called back into the pits because he didn’t have enough fuel to do another run.
Although he did set a time during a seven-lap run on his second set of super-softs, he was unable to threaten the top 16 and lost time on his final attempt when Gutierrez spun in front of him.
Jolyon Palmer was unable to participate in qualifying after suffering chassis damage from clouting a kerb during Saturday morning practice.
MEXICAN GP GRID
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m19.054s||0.350s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m19.133s||0.429s|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m19.330s||0.626s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m20.378s||1.674s|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m20.287s||1.583s|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m21.454s||2.750s|
Mexican GP practice: Max Verstappen fastest for Red Bull in FP3
Max Verstappen set the pace in final practice for the Mexican Grand Prix, in a session where several Formula 1 qualifying simulation runs were affected by traffic.
In a tricky final 15 minutes at the Mexico City track when finding a clear lap was at a premium, Verstappen managed to find enough space to post a time of 1m19.127s.
As at the end of Friday practice, Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second quickest, finishing 0.094s adrift of the Dutchman after being 0.004s down on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in FP2.
Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was a quarter of a second back in third, managing to improve over the closing stages on two occasions.
Ricciardo initially posted a time of 1m19.444s, on a lap that included passing a slow Carlos Sainz Jr and Kevin Magnussen in the stadium section.
Ricciardo then shaved almost a tenth of a second off on his next quick lap before finally concluding with a 1m19.370s.
Championship leader Rosberg had to settle for the fourth quickest time, just under half a second down on Verstappen.
Traffic was a major concern for Rosberg, both during the early part of the session when the soft tyre was key, and again when he bolted on the super-softs.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas managed to get ahead of Ferrari pair Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, the latter running wide on entry to the stadium complex on one of his late hot laps.
Felipe Massa was the only other driver to finish within a second of Verstappen in his Williams, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sainz completing the top 10.
As on Friday the temperatures were again on the cool side, with air hitting a maximum of 14C and track only 29C during the opening half hour, with the latter rising to 32C during the final 15 minutes.
Prior to the late qualifying simulations, Hamilton led the way on the soft tyre with a lap of 1m19.721s, with Ricciardo, Verstappen and Vettel all between the Mercedes driver and Rosberg.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m19.137s||16|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.233s||17|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1.118s||21|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1.188s||22|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.335s||20|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1.449s||20|