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Mexico Grand Prix, Practice session times, Dan Ricciardo results, Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton

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Max Verstappen dominated practice at the Mexico Grand Prix on Friday, ending the session over a half a second ahead of world champion and title rival Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutch Red Bull driver, who has a 12-point lead over Hamilton in the championship with five races left, clocked a blistering 1min 17.301sec.

That was 0.424sec ahead of Valtteri Bottas and 0.509sec faster than Hamilton in the second Mercedes.

Watch the every Practice, Qualifying and Race of the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix live & exclusive on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today.

SNUBBED! Brundle’s awkward TV exchange | 00:36

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, racing in front of his home fans at the spectacular Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, was fourth at 0.570sec behind his teammate.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, 1.017sec back from two-time Mexico GP winner Verstappen, filled out the top five.

“It was a solid session for us,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports. “Both drivers are starting to find a setup that they’re liking, the short runs and long runs look reasonable.

“I think Mercedes have still got a bit in the pocket so I don’t think we’ve seen their full potential, but focusing on ourselves it was a reasonable day.” Bottas had edged out Hamilton in the morning session in a best time of 1min 18.341sec, mastering the tricky, dusty conditions.

Verstappen and Perez had been third and fourth fastest respectively at 0.123sec and 0.269sec.

“We’re giving it absolutely everything we’ve got, they’re just quicker than us at the moment,” said Hamilton at the end of a frustrating day.

Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in an Alfa Romeo, meanwhile, had been put under investigation for not having followed the instructions of the race director to rejoin the track after coming off at the first turn in the opening session.

Both men escaped with a reprimand.

Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri will start from the back of the grid in Sunday’s race for taking too many engine parts after both also changed engines.

Meanwhile, Australian Daniel Ricciardo was classified 15th in FP2 after a disappointing session.

“We had an issue, so came in, and let’s say there [were] a few checks to go through, so we couldn’t get back out – or let’s say it wasn’t worth the risk going back out, so I got a few laps in on the hard and then that was it,” he said.

“We have to get it all together tomorrow, but we will obviously have the morning session to get on top of it.

“It’s definitely not written off yet. I mean it obviously gives us a bit more work to do but it’s definitely not out of reach. We’ve got some pace to find but I think [team mate] Lando [Norris]’s first run looked a little bit better this afternoon so we’ll try and dissect that and see what we can learn.”

– with AFP

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Enzo Fittipaldi crash, Theo Pourchaire, video, Oscar Piastri wins

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Enzo Fittipaldi, grandson of former Formula One world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, was airlifted to hospital after a serious crash at the start of the Formula 2 race in Jeddah, the FIA said.

French driver Theo Pourchaire, 18, who was also taken to hospital, was involved in the accident which happened when his ART car stalled on the grid.

Brazilian Fittipaldi, 20, then hit him hard from behind.

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“The drivers were immediately attended to by emergency and medical crews,” Formula 2 said in a statement.

“The drivers were conscious and extricated by the attending medical crews. Both have been transferred by ambulance and helicopter to King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah.”

“Theo is fine, he has no fracture,” Alfa Romeo F1 boss Frederic Vasseur told an AFP journalist at the starting grid for the Formula One Grand Prix.

Chaos in Jeddah.Source: Getty Images

The Formula 2 race was swiftly red-flagged with the rest of the field returning to the pits.

It restarted 40 minutes later before another accident and red flag brought it to a premature end, with Australian Oscar Piastri declared the winner as his world title edges closer.

Born in July 2001 in Miami, Enzo Fittipaldi graduated from karting through the levels to Formula 3 with Charouz Racing in 2021.

In September, he stepped up to Formula 2 for the second part of the season, making his debut for Czech team Charouz at Monza.

He finished seventh on Saturday in Race 2 in Jeddah, scoring his first points in F2.

He was a member of the Ferrari driver academy from 2017 to 2020. His grandfather Emerson won two F1 world championships with Lotus in 1972 when he was just 25, the youngest champion up to then, and two years later with McLaren.

Enzo’s older brother Pietro, 25, made his Formula One debut with Haas at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, replacing the injured Romain Grosjean.

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Oscar Piastri world championship, results, Saudi Arabia, standings, Australian driver, F1 prospect

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Australia’s Oscar Piastri could become Formula 2 world champion overnight after a stellar start to the second-last race weekend of the season.

Piastri claimed victory in the second sprint race in Saudi Arabia, extending his lead at the top of the championship for the F1 feeder series, and will be on pole for Monday’s feature race (1:25am AEDT).

The Melburnian, who will be Alpine’s reserve driver next season after missing out on an F1 seat at Alfa Romeo, leads the championship on 200 points.

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Guanyu Zhou, who was picked for the Alfa seat, has struggled all weekend and sits third on 143 points, while Robert Shwartzman has moved into second on 153 points.

If Piastri can extend his current 47-point lead out to 66 points, he will clinch the world title before next week’s finale in Abu Dhabi.

Piastri (left) looks to overtake Jehan Daruvala during the second F2 sprint race in Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Piastri (left) looks to overtake Jehan Daruvala during the second F2 sprint race in Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

With Shwartzman starting second in the feature race behind Piastri and Zhou sixth, that appears somewhat unlikely, though possible.

The Aussie would need to win the race with the fastest lap while Shwartzman finishes sixth or worse (without the fastest lap, seventh or worse), as Zhou finishes third or worse.

No Australian has ever won the Formula 2 title, nor of its predecessors GP2 or International Formula 3000.

Piastri would become the third driver to win the Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles consecutively, following George Russell and Charles Leclerc.

Meanwhile Jack Doohan, the son of motorbike great Mick, finished fifth in the second sprint race – just his second F2 appearance – after making the jump up from F3.

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Hamilton tries to send F1 title fight to finale after Mad Max’s big mistake: Saudi Arabia GP live

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Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as championship leader Max Verstappen smashed into a wall and could only manage third place.

Verstappen’s hopes were extinguished when his Red Bull speared into the barriers at the exit of the last bend on his final flying lap on the tight, unforgiving Jeddah street circuit just as he appeared poised to unseat his rival.

Follow the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix live from 4:30am AEDT below!

RACE CENTRE: Grid, live timing, results and more

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“It was terrible,” said a shaken but unhurt Verstappen.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was second and will share the front row on Sunday.

“What a tough track this is,” said Hamilton after a lap of 1min 27.511sec and who remains on course for a record eighth world title.

“It’s incredibly technical and complex. It’s amazing what they have built, the speed, it’s phenomenal.

“We were quick through practice but particularly FP3 and qualifying, we were struggling with the pace and the tyres, so for us to get a one-two, really proud of Valtteri and the team. It’s a great result.

“Given where we were, I’m grateful for what we have got today.”

Hamilton tops practice on fast track | 01:11

For Hamilton, who has cut Verstappen’s championship lead with successive wins in Brazil and Qatar, it was a fifth pole of the season and 103rd of his career.

Verstappen, who has an eight-point lead over Hamilton with just two races left, can claim his first world title on Sunday if he wins the race and Hamilton finishes outside the top six.

If not, the 2021 title battle will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi next weekend.

“I don’t really understand what happened (on the final flying lap). I locked up a bit,” Verstappen.

“It was terrible but in general, it was a good qualifying. It was a bit hard to switch on the tyres because it’s a street circuit but I knew the pace was there.”

– ‘Pretty brutal’ –

He added: “P3 is disappointing but today did show that the car is quick around here so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner was hoping Verstappen’s car did not suffer gearbox damage.

If it needs to be replaced the Dutchman will face a grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

“That was looking like the lap of the year. It’s a great shame,” Horner told Sky Sports.

“He just grabbed the front end at the last corner and tried to keep the momentum — as he could see on his dash he was 0.4 up going into the corner — and unfortunately he has ran out of road.

“Pretty brutal but we’ll hope the gearbox isn’t damaged and see what we can do tomorrow. Max will be frustrated. He knows what a good lap it was.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull made up the top five for Sunday’s race, the first to be held in the kingdom.

Leclerc SLAMS wall hard in practice | 00:31

Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Lando Norris (McLaren), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) complete the top 10.

Securing pole capped a dramatic day for seven-time champion Hamilton. He escaped a sanction for yellow flag incidents in Saturday practice after being summoned over an alleged failure to slow under double waved yellow flags, and for blocking the Haas of Nikita Mazepin.

However, the Mercedes star was cleared of any wrongdoing after the stewards admitted that a double-waved yellow light panel had been activated accidentally.

Mercedes were fined 25,000 euros for the second incident.

Verstappen was hit with a five-place grid penalty for failing to respect double-waved yellow flags during qualifying in Qatar last month.

Follow the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix below!

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