Mexico City: Daniel Ricciardo outpaced championship-chasing Lewis Hamilton to top the times in Friday’s second free practice ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.
The Australian, showing his Red Bull car was competitive in the rarified, thin air conditions, clocked a best lap in one minute and 17.801 seconds to outpace the three-time champion’s Mercedes by one-tenth of a second.
Hamilton, who needs a top five finish on Sunday to clinch his fourth drivers’ world title, was outpaced earlier in the morning’s opening free practice session by his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton also overcame a spin in the second session.
“It didn’t really start out great, particularly in the second session with the big spin on my first lap,” said the three-time champion.
“That really threw off the session but we got lots of information, the track was feeling better in the second session once the temperature came up.”
Ricciardo admitted that he was expecting the Mercedes team to fight back in qualifying on Saturday.
“It’s always nice to top a session,” said Ricciardo. “It feels good. We’ve been chipping away and made some progress and we can find more time on the long runs and low fuel.
“But Mercedes are always strong on Saturdays so we have to see what happens. We can improve a few things. I think it will be very close.”
Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen was third, before he was halted by an engine failure, ahead of Hamilton’s only remaining title rival four-time champion Sebastian Vettel. — AFP