Red Bull’s Perez quickest in final practice for Mexican GP

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Home favorite Sergio Perez of Red Bull set the fastest time of the final practice before Saturday’s qualifying at the Mexican Grand Prix, edging teammate and season championship leader Max Verstappen late in the session.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who trails Verstappen by 12 points with five races left, was nearly a half second behind Verstappen in third.

Formula One returned to Mexico City after cancelling the race in 2020 because of the pandemic. Perez comes to his home track in the best racing form of his career. He has one win this season and finished third in the previous two races.

That has forced Red Bull to consider whether it would order Perez to pull aside for Verstappen to aid the Dutchman’s pursuit of his first F1 championship if Perez is leading the race in the late stages.

The high altitude of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has been expected to favor the Red Bull cars. They dominated two of the three practice sessions ahead of Saturday qualifying and Sunday’s race.

Hamilton has won seven championships, including the last four in a row. The British driver could set the F1 career record with an eighth title.

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