Max Verstappen set the fastest time in the final practice session, with a 1:19.137. The early pace in the session had belonged to Lewis Hamilton, but when most of the grid came out at the end for their qualifying simulations track traffic played a big part in the lap times.
As the session began, it was Hamilton who had the early pace. He set a 1:19.721 which was over eight tenths faster than teammate Nico Rosberg.
But when the grid came to completing qualifying simulations in the last ten minutes of running, most of the grid returned to the track at the same time. This made for a very messy end of the session and had a lot of cars being held up in traffic.
Verstappen was the only driver who managed to get a clean lap in on the super soft tyres and ended the session 0.094 seconds up on Hamilton’s fastest time. The Brit had been a lot further back than this after his first fast lap but, managing to find some space to complete his second flyer, closed the gap down to under a tenth of a second.
Daniel Ricciardo was third with Nico Rosberg finishing the session fourth. Valtteri Bottas continued to show Williams impressive pace around the Mexican circuit in fifth and the Ferrari duo – who had performed a lot more competitively yesterday – were sixth and seventh. Felipe Massa completed the session in eighth and was the last driver to be within a second of the fastest time.
Felipe Massa completed the session in eighth and was the last driver to be within a second of the fastest time. Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr rounded up the top ten.
McLaren looked to be having a torrid session at the beginning of the 60-minute practice as both of their cars sat at the bottom of the time board 4 seconds off the pace. They managed to close that gap down, with Fernando Alonso finishing 1.4 seconds off the pace in P13 and Jenson Button six-tenths back in P15, after their qualifying simulation. It seems to be that the long straight on the Mexican circuit is a great hindrance to the Woking team.
The entire 60 minutes went by uninterrupted with track temperature slowly rising from 29C to 32C in the closing 15 minutes of running. The hotter temperatures will help some teams and will also bring the optimum working temperature to the super soft tyres. These things could all be crucial as we go into qualifying.