Lewis Hamilton could be in trouble after veering in front of Daniel Ricciardo
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The first practice session at the Mexican Grand Prix suggested the top three teams could all be in the fight for victory this weekend.
It was a Ferrari one-two in free practice one in Mexico City with Carlos Sainz setting pace just 0.046 seconds clear of Charles Leclerc. The Red Bulls of home hero Sergio Perez and world champion Max Verstappen were next up with Lewis Hamilton and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso completing the top six, who was covered by less than two-tenths of a second.
Hamilton’s teammate, George Russell, sat out the session with AlphaTauri-bound Nyck de Vries taking his seat as Mercedes completed their mandated ‘young driver’ sessions for the season.
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However, what promises to be a strong weekend for Mercedes could be impacted by a hairy-looking moment involving Hamilton and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Entering the stadium section at the end of the lap, Hamilton slowed down to let the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly through.
Ricciardo then approached at speed with Hamilton’s crawling Mercedes suddenly jerking to the left in a last-second attempt to get out of the Australian’s way. However, the movement seemed to impede Ricciardo, who was coming to the end of a hot lap, more than help him.
Speaking commentary for Sky Sports, former F1 driver Paul di Resta said: “That’s not nice. I think they’ll [the stewards] will look into that. I’m not saying anything will happen [in terms of a penalty], but it should be used as an example for the rest of the weekend."
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Given the nature of the track – the third-shortest on the calendar behind Monaco and Zandvoort – traffic is inevitable, which could help Hamilton avoid a potential punishment, like a grid penalty.
It is feasible Ricciardo could join Hamilton at Mercedes next season, with the eight-time grand prix winner holding talks with the Brackley squad over a third driver role.
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