Vettel edges Hamilton by 0.004s in FP2 in Mexico
- November 26, 2019
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Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of FP2 for the Mexican Grand Prix as Ferrari showed competitive pace on Friday afternoon.
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Having been first to set his time on supersoft tyres, Vettel set the pace with a 1:19.790, having completed one slow timed lap before going for a fast lap. Tyre preparation was a key part of FP2 and Lewis Hamilton needed two timed laps to get within 0.018s of Vettel’s time. A third attempt at a flying lap saw Hamilton close the gap even further but he ended up just 0.004 slower than the Ferrari.
- AS IT HAPPENED: Mexican Grand Prix – FP2
Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg – who can win the title this weekend – was third quickest but 0.4s further back from the leading pair. Both Mercedes drivers also struggled under braking for Turn 1 early in the session, with Hamilton running very deep and taking to the grass after locking up heavily.
Kimi Raikkonen ended the session in fourth place, 0.469s adrift of team-mate Vettel, and more encouragingly for Ferrari 0.2s clear of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. The two Red Bulls were even split by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India, which was an impressive feat as both Force Indias set their best times on soft tyres compared to supersofts for the rest of the field.
Valtteri Bottas in eighth place was only 0.010s slower than Max Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso ensured there were seven different teams represented in the top ten, although both were over a second slower than Vettel.
Amid cool conditions – air temperature was just 16C and track temperature didn’t climb above 35C – a number of drivers complained of a lack of grip, with both Sergio Perez and Felipe Nasr spinning at Turn 6. Perez ended a difficult session 15th – nine places behind his team-mate – but will have been encouraged by Hulkenberg’s pace.
Haas endured a tough afternoon session, with Romain Grosjean confined to the garage with an electrical issue for the first hour of running. Grosjean emerged to eventually complete 14 laps with a best time of 1:22.105, leaving him only ahead of Esteban Ocon’s Manor and 22nd-placed Haas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.
While Ocon was 21st, Manor team-mate Pascal Wehrlein had a strong afternoon as he ended up 17th quickest ahead of both Saubers and Haas drivers.
Grosjean wasn’t the only driver with reliability issues, as Daniil Kvyat also hit trouble at the end of the session, with the Russian coming to a halt on the pit lane entry after the chequered flag and having to walk back to the pits.
Traffic was also a problem during the long runs in the second half of the session, with Vettel angrily bemoaning being stuck behind Alonso’s McLaren before running wide himself at Turn 12.
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