Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2023

Verstappen completes practice clean sweep as Albon takes second again

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen completed a clean sweep of all three practice sessions in Mexico as Williams driver Alexander Albon was his closest rival once again.

The world champion set the quickest time of the weekend so far with a 1’17.887, less than a tenth of a second ahead of Albon. Sergio Perez was third in the second Red Bull.

It was a clear, warm start to Saturday, with clear blue skies and temperatures in the low twenties as the green light appeared at the end of the pit lane to begin the third and final hour of practice. With teams eager to save tyres, there was little activity on the track in the early minutes.

Valtteri Bottas was the first driver onto the track, posting the opening lap of the day with a 1’20.740 on the hard tyres. The Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc were sent out on soft tyres for their first runs, with Sainz posting a 1’19.449 which was quickly beaten by Leclerc on his first lap.

The Mercedes drivers took to the track for the first time after ten minutes had elapsed, also on the soft tyres. George Russell’s first push lap was quickest of all with a 1’18.644, while team mate Lewis Hamilton was half a second slower, though still ahead of the Ferraris.

Pierre Gasly brought out the yellow flags briefly after a spin entering the stadium complex at turn 12. After righting his car, he managed to continue on his way. Russell had a small mistake through the high-speed sweepers in the middle sector, running off onto the escape road at turn 10, but with no harm done.

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Over 20 minutes after the session began, Verstappen finally took to the track for the first time on the soft tyres. He immediately jumped into second place, less than a tenth of a second behind Russell’s best. After cooling down his tyres he attempted another push lap and went quickest with a 1’18.429, two-tenths faster than Russell.

With around 20 minutes remaining in the session, just a handful of cars remained on track as the majority of the field returned to the pits to prepare for qualifying simulation runs towards the end of the session. Esteban Ocon ran off the track at the first corner, briefly prompting yellow flags, before Albon suddenly jumped his Williams to the top of the times by being the first driver to break under 1’18s all weekend.

The final 15 minutes were dedicated to preparing for the upcoming qualifying session. Verstappen was the first over the line on a push lap and retook the fastest time by 0.070s over Albon, despite complaining of traffic over the first two sectors. Both Leclerc and Sainz had their final push laps ruined by traffic – Leclerc by Kevin Magnussen’s Haas at turn ten, before Lance Stroll got in the way of Sainz at the same corner, leading to Sainz spinning through 360 degrees.

Perez improved to third, but was just as far from Albon as the Williams driver was from Verstappen. As the chequered flag flew at the end of the hour, Verstappen was confirmed as the fastest driver for the third straight practice session. Albon was second for the second time in three sessions, with Perez third ahead of Russell in fourth.

Oscar Piastri was the fastest McLaren driver in fifth with Bottas once again well in the top ten in sixth. Yuki Tsunoda was seventh-quickest for AlphaTauri ahead of Norris in eighth and Daniel Ricciardo ninth. Hamilton completed the top 10 in the second Mercedes.

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2023 Mexican Grand Prix third practice result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’17.88719
223Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’17.9570.07018
311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’18.0260.13918
463George RussellMercedesW141’18.2480.36119
581Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’18.3920.50522
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’18.4370.55026
722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’18.4500.56326
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’18.4800.59321
93Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’18.4990.61215
1044Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’18.5220.63520
112Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’18.7180.83115
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’18.9171.03020
1316Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’18.9701.08322
1418Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’19.0941.20720
1555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’19.2931.40622
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’19.3201.43318
1714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’19.4711.58420
1810Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’19.5091.62218
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’19.5731.6869
2031Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’19.8391.95219

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2023 Mexican Grand Prix combined practice times

P.#DriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’19.7181’18.6861’17.88774
223Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’19.8131’19.4461’17.9570.07072
311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’20.0151’18.9881’18.0260.13975
463George RussellMercedes1’19.2271’18.2480.36150
581Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’20.4631’19.1631’18.3920.50585
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.9551’18.4370.55059
722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’19.2901’18.4500.56360
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’20.2371’18.8051’18.4800.59382
93Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’20.5681’19.0021’18.4990.61276
1044Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’20.7241’19.0241’18.5220.63575
112Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’21.1571’19.9001’18.7180.83171
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’21.1291’19.4151’18.9171.03074
1316Charles LeclercFerrari1’20.2971’18.9521’18.9701.06585
1431Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’20.6771’19.0771’19.8391.19074
1518Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’20.6871’20.0751’19.0941.20763
1655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’20.4791’19.2571’19.2931.37079
1727Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’20.9681’19.5351’19.3201.43376
1814Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’21.3471’20.4261’19.4711.58467
1910Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’19.6421’19.5091.62247
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’20.1121’19.5731.68639
2150Oliver BearmanHaas-Ferrari1’21.3133.42631
2241Isack HadjarAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’21.9414.05425
2361Jack DoohanAlpine-Renault1’22.1094.22225
2442Frederik VestiMercedes1’22.9375.05026

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2023 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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2 comments on “Verstappen completes practice clean sweep as Albon takes second again”

  1. Alex on pole, please :)

  2. Pretty close field, just a second from 5th to 18th. Could produce some surprise grid positions, which is always fun.

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