Verstappen leads final Mexican GP practice as Mercedes hits traffic

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Max Verstappen closed out practice for the Mexican Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets as traffic left Mercedes Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg frustrated.

Hamilton and Rosberg were surprised by Ferrari’s pace in FP2 on Friday afternoon as Sebastian Vettel set the pace, but aimed to strike back during the qualifying simulations on Saturday morning.

Verstappen was one of the first drivers to head out for his final run in FP3, laying down a benchmark of 1:19.137 for the rest of the field to try and match.

Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo was two-tenths of a second off after having his lap compromised by Kevin Magnussen at the final corner, while the Mercedes drivers also toiled with traffic.

Hamilton finally found some space with three minutes remaining, allowing him to post a lap that was 0.094 seconds off Verstappen’s effort, but could not go any faster before the end of the session, leaving the Briton second overall.

Teammate and title rival Rosberg also struggled, running wide on one of his late laps and hurting his tires before going fourth, around half a second off Verstappen’s time at the top.

Valtteri Bottas shot up to fifth for Williams as the Ferrari drivers failed to emulate their Friday pace, with Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen finishing sixth and seventh.

Felipe Massa finished eighth in the second Williams, while Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. finished ninth and tenth respectively for Force India and Toro Rosso.

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