Lewis Hamilton may be the driver chasing the championship but there was not quarter given by Daniel Ricciardo as he topped FP2 for the Mexican GP.
Friday’s second practice didn’t get off to the best of start with the red flags waved after just six minutes.
Romain Grosjean, having sat out FP1 for Antonio Giovinazzi, was in need of as much track time as possible but instead brought out the reds. He spun out of the final corner but still crossed the line with a 1:25.5. However, his tyres were shot as was the floor of his Haas, which spewed debris all over the track. His day was over.
Grosjean, though, wasn’t alone in his spin.
Practice resumed after an eight minute delay with Lewis Hamilton burning rubber as he spun at the exit of Turn 11, flat-spotting his set of supersoft tyres. Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz also got turned around.
However, Hamilton’s title rival Sebastian Vettel had it worse, reporting that “something burst, there’s acid or something on my seat.” He added that it “might have been the extinguisher.” He returned to the pits and climbed out of the car with a notable white patch on his race suit.
The ultras were the tyre of choice for Friday afternoon’s hot laps with Ricciardo quickest of all with a 1:17.801. That put him 0.131s ahead of Hamilton while Max Verstappen, who set is best time on his second flying lap, was a further 0.032s down.
Verstappen’s session ended early with a “terminal” engine issue. It was, however, a Friday engine and that means he won’t incur any penalties.
Vettel was only fourth for Ferrari, 0.250s off the pace, finishing ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.
Fernando Alonso was best of the rest as he crossed the line with a 1:18.508, which put him two-tenths up on Mexico’s Sergio Perez while Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon completed the top ten.
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:17.801
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.932 0.131
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:17.964 0.163
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:18.051 0.25
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:18.142 0.341
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:18.299 0.498
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:18.508 0.707
8 Sergio Perez Force India 1:18.728 0.927
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport 1:18.775 0.974
10 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:18.822 1.021
11 Carlos Sainz Renault Sport 1:19.060 1.259
12 Felipe Massa Williams 1:19.206 1.405
13 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:19.423 1.622
14 Lance Stroll Williams 1:19.524 1.723
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:19.844 2.043
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:20.306 2.505
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:20.318 2.517
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:20.362 2.561
19 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:21.745 3.944
20 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:25.526 7.725