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Verstappen edges clear in Mexico FP3 with Hamilton, Vettel close

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Max Verstappen edged clear of the field in the final Formula 1 practice session ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix as just one-tenth of a second covered the top three teams on Saturday morning at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Verstappen followed up Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo’s charge to P1 in FP2 by leading the way in FP3, turning in a fastest lap time of 1:17.113 in the final session ahead of qualifying later today.

Verstappen’s time gave him an edge of just 0.075 seconds over Hamilton, who finished second for Mercedes, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was just 0.117s off P1 in third place.

The fight for pole looks poised to extend beyond the leading trio from final practice as Valtteri Bottas took fourth for Mercedes ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen, with the latter taking P6 despite being just four-tenths back from Verstappen at the front.

Force India stamped its authority on the fight to lead the midfield heading into qualifying as Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished seventh and eighth respectively, but the team looks set to be run close by Renault, who took P9 and P10 with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenberg.

Romain Grosjean was able to go some way to making up for his lost time on Friday, completing 22 laps for Haas, but compatriot Pierre Gasly was less fortunate in the Toro Rosso as he suffered an engine failure just minutes into the session.

Despite the team’s best efforts to get the car fixed to head back out, Gasly ultimately finished the session with just two laps on the board, meaning he will enter qualifying with a mere 12 tours of the track under his belt.

Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.

Holmatro, INDYCAR renew partnership in five-year extension

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Holmatro, a long-time partner of INDYCAR and title sponsor of the Holmatro Safety Team, have renewed a long-standing partnership that will see Holmatro and INDYCAR continue their partnership in a five-year contract extension.

“Holmatro has been a trusted partner and supplier in Indy car racing for more than 20 years,” said president of competition and operations Jay Frye. “Holmatro’s growth parallels some of the great strides made in safety for INDYCAR drivers and teams. We’re pleased to see this partnership continue, as it is a great benefit to everyone in the paddock.”

Holmatro’s relationship with INDYCAR dates back to 1991, when they first supplied tools to the safety team of the CART sanctioned PPG IndyCar World Series. Holmatro branding will continue to be featured on the firesuits, vehicles, and transporters of INDYCAR’s safety team throughout the agreement.

“Holmatro is extremely pleased to extend our partnership with INDYCAR for another five years,” said Tony Barboza, general manager for Holmatro. “We’re extremely proud to be affiliated with the premier on-track safety team in the world. Members of the safety team serve on their home fire departments when not at INDYCAR events and, like them, we believe in constant improvement and innovation. When the race is for life, you can count on the INDYCAR Safety Team and Holmatro rescue tools.”

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