Sebastian Vettel fastest in FP2 ahead of Lewis Hamilton


Sebastian Vettel tops FP2 in Mexico - Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel topped Free Practice two in Mexico City halting the dominance of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

Vettel made the best use of the Supersoft Pirelli tyre as he set a time of 1:19.790 early in the session to hit the top of the time sheets before everyone settled down for long runs, and although other drivers tried, his time was not beaten.

Lewis Hamilton finished a close second, just 0.004 seconds behind Vettel, and it is an extremely important race weekend for the three-time World Champion who needs to finish ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg to keep his Championship hopes realistically alive.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit has proved to be a challenge for all the drivers with very low grip and high tyre degradation, and Rosberg was third fastest albeit four tenths behind the top two drivers, Kimi Raikkonen was close fourth but was considerably slower than Vettel.

Red Bull Racing showed some strong race pace throughout FP2 but had to settle behind the Ferrari and Mercedes with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen finishing fifth and seventh respectively.  Nico Hulkenberg split the two Red Bull cars on the soft tyre, the German finished over second clear of home favourite Sergio Perez finishing fifteenth in the second Sahara Force India F1 Team car.

Williams Martini Racing had a relatively good session with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finishing eighth and thirteenth close to their Force India rivals, while newly resigned Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat looked a close matched with his highly rated team-mate Carlos Sainz, finishing only two tenths behind in eleventh while Sainz squeezed into the top ten.  Kvyat’s session ended with him stranded at the side of the circuit however, when he pulled off track at pit entry just as the chequered flag flew.

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team looked competitive with Fernando Alonso in the top ten while Jenson Button finished twelfth. McLaren struggled with the low grip of the circuit but managed to show some competitive lap times on the high fuel runs.

The under pressure Jolyon Palmer finished behind team-mate Kevin Magnussen in the Renault Sport Formula 1 car. Palmer was sixteenth fastest while Magnussen outperformed the Renault in fourteenth.

The usual suspects rounded out the times, with Sauber F1 Team, Haas F1 Team and Manor Racing MRT battling down the field and hopefully challenging for points if the race goes in their favour.

Mexican favourite Esteban Gutierrez will be disappointed to finish last in front of his home fans but the Haas team will hope to battle for his points of the season in front of the fanatically Mexican fans.  Team-mate Romain Grosjean, the scorer of all twenty-nine of Haas’ points in 2016, had a disrupted session, missing the majority as the Frenchman suffered an electrical problem on his initial outlap that required his mechanics to work on his car to enable him to return to the track with twenty minutes remaining.

Ferrari may have topped the times but people are expecting Mercedes to maximise the super soft tyre and take pole on Saturday.