Vettel got the better of Verstappen by a tenth of a second in qualifying simulations, while Ferrari have often held much in hand ahead of Saturday’s action in their recent run of success, suggesting the fight for pole may not be so close.
Hamilton looked much stronger in his long runs, but the signs from Friday running would suggest he will have to wait to secure a sixth world title.
Alexander Albon crashed at Turn 7 and lost the majority of the session, although there was plenty of reason for Honda optimism, with Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly both slotting into the top seven for Toro Rosso to back up Verstappen’s P2.
Mexican GP FP2 results
1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:16.607
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:16.722
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:17.072
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:17.221
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:17.570
6. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1:17.747
7. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) 1:18.003
8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 1:18.079
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) 1:18.261
10. Lando Norris (McLaren) 1:18.349
11. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) 1:18.362
12. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 1:18.366
13. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 1:18.380
14. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) 1:18.681
15. Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1:18.766
16. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 1:18.889
17. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1:19.306
18. George Russell (Williams) 1:19.968
19. Robert Kubica (Williams) 1:20.180
20. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) 1:21.665