Daniel Ricciardo set the pace in the second Free Practice session of the weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with the Australian setting a new track record in the process.
Red Bull Racing had finished third and fourth earlier in the day in the first session, but Ricciardo secured top spot on his qualifying simulation with a lap of 1:17.801s, 0.131 seconds clear of second placed Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton lost a set of Supersoft tyres early in the session after a wild spin at turn eleven, but the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer recovered to the pits and returned to the track on the Ultrasoft tyre, and looked particularly strong on that tyre in the long runs.
Max Verstappen confirmed that the pace of Red Bull was strong by setting the third best time, 0.163 seconds off his team-mate, but the Dutchman completed only seventeen laps before an oil leak curtailed his session.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were fourth and fifth for Scuderia Ferrari, with both locking up their left front tyres in the stadium section during the session, with the former also having an issue with his fire extinguisher early on, while morning pace setter Valtteri Bottas was half a second off the pace in sixth in the second Mercedes.
Fernando Alonso, despite losing around half a second in the first sector thanks to the pace deficit of his MCL32, had an encouraging session, putting his McLaren Formula 1 Team car into seventh, 0.707 seconds off the pace, just ahead of Sergio Perez in the leading of the Sahara Force India F1 Team machines in eighth.
Ninth went to Nico Hülkenberg of the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, the final driver to get within a second of Ricciardo, while Esteban Ocon completed the top ten having returned to his Force India after allowing Alfonso Celis Jr. to run in the morning session, with the Frenchman ending up 0.094 seconds behind his team-mate.
Carlos Sainz Jr. just missed out on the top ten in the second Renault by 0.238 seconds, and despite a spin, the Spaniard ended up just ahead of the leading Williams Martini Racing machine of Felipe Massa, while Brendon Hartley ended up thirteenth despite a spin at turn six in his Scuderia Toro Rosso, with the New Zealander also complaining over the radio about a possible anomaly with his power unit.
Lance Stroll was another driver to rotate during the ninety-minute session, with the second Williams driver ending up fourteenth, with Stoffel Vandoorne fifteenth despite an issue with a loose tyre early in the session on his McLaren.
Pascal Wehrlein was the leading Sauber F1 Team driver in sixteenth, with team-mate Marcus Ericsson eighteenth after resuming his seat following Charles Leclerc’s latest free practice session on Friday morning, with the team-mates either side of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas F1 Team machine.
Pierre Gasly, another driver to sit out the morning session to allow Sean Gelael his chance, completed only ten laps before he was forced to end his session with a mechanical issue, with the Toro Rosso driver ending up nineteenth.
Romain Grosjean, another of those to miss opening practice in favour of test driver Antonio Giovinazzi, caused an early red flag when he spun exiting the final corner, and although he was able to recover, his tyre exploded down the straight, causing major floor and bodywork damage and leaving debris littered on the track.
The damage was enough to see his session end without a representative lap time on the board, and like Gasly, it leaves him firmly on the back foot heading into the rest of the weekend.
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Free Practice 2 Result
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