MEXICO CITY (AP) Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo went 1-2 to top the first practice session Friday at the Mexican Grand Prix, where Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton can secure the season championship this weekend.
The Red Bull cars figure to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari for the win Sunday. Verstappen is the defending race champion and timed his best lap of 1 minute, 16.656 seconds at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Ricciardo was 0.483 seconds back. Hamilton can win his fifth career title if he finishes no lower than seventh. He was fifth in the opening practice.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who must win if he hopes to push the championship to the next race in Brazil, was seventh.
Friday’s sunny skies might be the best weather of the weekend as forecasts show potential for rain and thunderstorms in the area.
Overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Sophia Floersch was the fact that 19-year-old Dan Ticktum dominated and won the Macau Grand Prix – a victory that puts him closer to earning the superlicence required to allow him to race with Formula 1, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Ticktum won Macau’s qualification race as well as the Grand Prix, starting first in both events. For his victories, he earned 10 points, which combined with 25 for his runner-up finish in the European F3 Championship leaves him just five below the 40 needed for the license.
This was Ticktum’s second Macau Grand Prix victory.
“It was a dominant performance that I was preparing for,” Ticktum said on his web site. “I don’t think I’ve ever prepared as hard as I did for this race and it all worked out. In the final race a lot of variables were thrown at me but I handled them.”
On his way to victory lane, Ticktum had to survive several restarts including the lengthy red flag period following Floersch’s accident to repair the barrier.
“I can’t count how many safety car restarts we had to do,” Ticktum said. “It puts a lot of pressure on a driver here with such a long run down to the first corner. I can’t remember a weekend when I’ve put it all together so well.
“The car was absolutely perfect all weekend, it was so good and I can’t thank Motopark enough for that. I’ve never been so involved in the set-up, felt so at one with the car as I did this weekend.”