Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in second practice ahead of this weekend Mexican Grand Prix. The Australian set his fastest time on the slowest soft tyres which put him one tenth faster than Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, with his teammate Max Verstappen third.
Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas set the pace early on using ultrasofts during the first half hour. But then Ricciardo responded on his ultrasoft run with a 17.8, which put him fastest.
That left the Englishman a tenth off the pace after being forced to abandon his early running after he had a huge spin on his first lap of the session. But that still left him three-hundredths of a second faster than Verstappen.
Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest, however, the Ferrari driver had to abandon his qualifying simulations after his fire extinguisher exploded in the car. That means he was unable to complete his run, he did return to the track for his race simulation.
However, Mercedes looked to struggle a bit with the balance of the car as Hamilton managed to spin the car early on. Mercedes is expected to be out of their comfort zone as they have a performance deficit to Ferrari in the tighter corner.
That can be recovered in the first sector because of the long straight on the way to the first corner. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas were fifth and sixth respectively, however they were within half a second of Ricciardo.
Fernando Alonso was seventh fastest which is encouraging pace from the McLaren, however the Spaniard will start last thanks to engine penalties. Force India’s Sergio Perez was eighth with his teammate Esteban Ocon tenth, with the duo being spilt by the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. The gaps between them was less than a tenth
Carlos Sainz was eleventh fastest with the Williams’s Felipe Massa twelfth fastest and Lance Stroll fourteenth. In between the two William’s was the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley.
Romain Grosjean only managed three laps after a spin at the final corner which saw the Frenchman flatspot all four tyres. That caused more damage as his left-rear tyre delaminated, causing extensive damage to the floor of his car.
The debris on track resulted in a ten minute red flag period as marshals were sent out to sweep up the chunks of carbon fibre and rubber littering the track.