Young Verstappen leaves world champion Lewis in shade
Max Verstappen finished a Formula One practice session on top of the timesheets for the first time in his career yesterday.
Eighteen-year-old Toro Rosso driver Verstappen posted a best lap of one minute 25.990 seconds to finish the opening session on Formula One's return to Mexico three tenths clear of Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third in the standings.
Lewis Hamilton, who secured his third title in Austin on Sunday, was only 11th, 1.733 seconds slower than Verstappen's best lap.
Formula One is back in Mexico City for the first time in more than two decades this weekend. Nigel Mansell, Britain's 1992 world champion, earned hero status among Mexican fans for his audacious passing manoeuvre around the outside of Gerhard Berger at the Peraltada in 1990. And the circuit organisers have renamed the final turn of the modified track in his honour.
Mansell, here in Mexico City this weekend, claimed Hamilton can get within touching distance of Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven championships.
Hamilton's team-mate Nico Rosberg, who blamed a strong gust of wind for his championship-ending error in Sunday's United States Grand Prix, suffered another hairy moment when his rear brakes momentarily caught on fire. The German ran off the circuit at turn 12 before rejoining the track and promptly returning to his garage, but finished the session in sixth.
Sebastian Vettel, four points clear of Rosberg in the battle for second in the championship, was fourth just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull.