Lewis Hamilton trails Daniel Ricciardo in Grand Prix second practice in Mexico

F1 Motor sport (Mexican Grand Prix)

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Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo headed Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in a closely contested.Ricciardo was 0.131 seconds quicker than Hamilton, who had a spin early in the session, with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Vettel was only 0.032secs off Hamilton as the Ferrari driver clings to his fading title hopes.

Hamilton needs only to finish fifth on Sunday to clinch a fourth championship. If Vettel is second in the race, Hamilton needs only ninth to clinch the championship. If the German finishes anywhere else, Hamilton takes the crown regardless.

Big spin put me on back foot – Hamilton

The Brit had appeared to be struggling, his spin early in the second session following his being nearly 0.5secs slower than Bottas in the first.

He however ended the session 0.3secs quicker than Bottas with an impressively quick race-simulation run in the second part of the session.

Hamilton and Vettel were evenly matched on long-run pace but both lagged behind the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Verstappen, who looked the fastest cars in race trim by as much as half a second.

However, Red Bull do not have the extra power mode in qualifying trim so will likely have to fight past the Mercedes and Ferraris if they are to compete for the victory.

“It’s been a good day,” said Hamilton. “It didn’t really start out great, particularly in the second session with the big spin on my first lap.

“That really threw off the session and obviously made it a little bit tricky to get the run on the super-soft tyre. So I put myself on the back foot.

“But the single lap and then the long run on the ultra-soft was probably one of the best I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever done 26 laps that consistent, apart from in the race maybe.”

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