MEXICAN GP – Lewis Hamilton sets the pace in FP1, going a tenth faster than Charles Leclerc

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in first practice for the Mexican Grand Prix, after going a tenth faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. The Mercedes driver set his fastest time on the soft tyres, while the track rubbered in following rain overnight in Mexico City.

The lack of grip became clear during the first forty-five minutes before the signs of what could be a close battle between the top three teams. Leclerc set the early pace on the mediums before Red Bull’s Max Verstappen within a tenth of the Ferrari.

Signs of what could be a close battle between the top three teams. Leclerc set the early pace on the mediums before Red Bull’s Max Verstappen within a tenth of the Ferrari, although Verstappen used soft tyres to hold that position.

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in first practice for the Mexican Grand Prix, after going a tenth faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. The Mercedes driver set his fastest time on the soft tyres, while the track rubbered in following rain overnight in Mexico City.

Alex Albon and Valtteri Bottas went fastest early on during the soft runs but were pushed down after the red flag when there teammates and Leclerc made the switch to the soft tyres. The red flag was caused by Lance Stroll who lost the rear at the final corner.

Although he was able to get going and return to the pits the session was red-flagged so the barriers on the outside could be reconstructed. When the session resumed Hamilton went fastest and Verstappen closed the gap to one and a half tenths.

The twenty minutes following the red flag proved to be the best of the conditions, as it allowed Hamilton, Leclerc and Verstappen to improve on there laps.

Alex Albon and Bottas slipped to fourth and fifth respectively, although Bottas did trim a few hundredths off his personal best. Sebastian Vettel was sixth, 0.891s slower than Hamilton but on medium tyres like Leclerc. The German’s morning was hampered by traffic in the tight and twisty final sector of the lap, which winds through a baseball stadium.

Vettel labelled his session as a “mess”, in the final sector as a Haas, Renault and Verstappen all navigated the stadium section ultra-slowly to maintain track position at the end of their out-lap.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz switched from the mediums to soft tyres to go seventh, ahead of the two Toro Rosso’s. Sainz’s early form with Renault power is impressive considering neither Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo finished in the top ten for the works team.

Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top ten, going just over five hundredths faster than Hulkenberg. The German going just two thousandths quicker than the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, Giovinazzi’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen was thirteenth.

Racing Point and Haas appeared to struggle Lance Stroll seventeenth half a second ahead of Sergio Perez. A disappointing start to the Mexican’s home race, while Romain Grosjean was eighteenth ahead of the two Williams, George Russell over a second ahead of potential teammate Nicholas Latifi.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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