Verstappen edges Hamilton in tight Mexican practice

 28 Oct 2017 - 19:22

Verstappen edges Hamilton in tight Mexican practice
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 28, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. Clive Mason/AFP

AFP

Mexico City: Max Verstappen topped the times ahead of world championship-chasing Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in Saturday's morning's closely-contested final free practice ahead of Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix.

The 20-year-old Dutchman clocked a best lap in a track lap record time of one minute and 17.113 seconds in his Red Bull to outpace the 32-year-old Briton by 0.075 seconds.

Four-time champion Vettel was third for Ferrari, just one-tenth down, but narrowly ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes with Australian Daniel Ricciardo fifth in the second Red Bull.

The top five were separated by only two-tenths of a second with Kimi Raikkonen sixth in the second Ferrari, four-tenths off the pace.

Hamilton led the session at times, but was unable to stamp his authority on the session as he prepares for qualifying later Saturday at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Hamilton needs to finish in the top five to clinch his fourth drivers' world title if Vettel wins, and in the top nine, if the German is second. 

All the top drivers found the conditions challenging due to the cold conditions early on, which prevented drivers finding it easy to gain best performance from the tyres.

Local hero Sergio Perez was seventh for Force India ahead of his team-mate Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz of Renault and his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.