F1 world championship leader Verstappen had sat at the top of the timesheets for much of the session, but Perez edged out his teammate by 0.193s with a late effort to delight his home crowd. 

Perez received a huge roar from his Mexican fans as he crossed the line with a new fastest lap to set the benchmark time heading into qualifying.

Verstappen looked to have the upper hand over the rest of the field following a dominant showing in second practice on Friday, but the Dutchman was left to settle for second after failing to improve on brand new tyres with a scrappy lap at the end of FP3. 

His title rival Lewis Hamilton took several attempts to set the third-fastest time but still ended up a whopping 0.651s adrift of Perez.

Hamilton’s struggles for pace were summed up by his bewildered response when informed of the gap to Red Bull. 

“Six-and-a-half-tenths?” the Briton said over team radio to his race engineer Peter Bonnington. 

Teammate Valtteri Bottas was fourth-fastest, just 0.033s behind Hamilton as both Mercedes drivers failed to come close to threatening the Red Bulls. 

Fifth place went the way of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who was over a second off the pace as he pipped AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren and Pierre Gasly

Charles Leclerc had a number of sideways moments as he struggled for grip in his Ferrari on his way to posting the ninth-quickest time. 

McLaren’s Lando Norris completed the top 10 but the Briton will start from the back of the grid as one of four drivers to have taken a new engine in Mexico. 

He will be joined at the rear of the field by Tsunoda, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon for the start of Sunday’s race. 

Full results from final practice for the 2021 F1 Mexico City Grand Prix. 

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