Formula 1

FP1: Sainz leads Ferrari 1-2 as Mexico City weekend gets under way

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz set the early pace of the Mexico City Grand Prix weekend in FP1, leading team mate Charles Leclerc by 0.046s, ahead of the Red Bull pairing of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

Political noise dominated Friday morning in Mexico, as first Red Bull and then Aston Martin entered Agreements with the FIA over breaches of the 2021 Cost Cap. However, come 1300 local time, the principal noise reverberating around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was the sound of the V6 hybrid engines as Sebastian Vettel – bedecked in a tribute helmet to the late Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz – led the drivers out on track.

Among those were a full five FP1 swap-ins: Pietro Fittipaldi replacing Kevin Magnussen at Haas, Logan Sargeant getting another run for Williams in place of Alex Albon, Jack Doohan making his FP1 debut for Alpine (Esteban Ocon moving aside), Liam Lawson taking Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri for a run, and Nyck de Vries – set to drive for AlphaTauri next year – in for George Russell at Mercedes.

However, when the soft tyres were bolted on, it was Ferrari who turned the tables on the Bulls, with Carlos Sainz stopping the clocks with a 1m 20.707s lap, narrowly ahead of Leclerc, with the Red Bull pair setting an identical time in P3 and P4, Perez ahead of Verstappen but both 0.120s behind Sainz. Verstappen, meanwhile, would also suffer a bizarre spin on his soft-shod out-lap, perhaps caught out by the reduced air density at this track that sits 2,250m above sea level.


Practice 1 results

1  Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:20.707
2  Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.046s
3  Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +0.120s
4  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.120s
5  Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.142s


Lewis Hamilton left it until late to claim P5, ahead of sixth-placed Fernando Alonso – who had his P7 result from Austin reinstated overnight after lengthy deliberation – with Valtteri Bottas P7 here ahead of Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Vettel.

Daniel Ricciardo overcame brake issues and a near-miss with a Mercedes in the Foro Sol stadium section to take P11, ahead of Zhou Guanyu – whose session was interrupted after he stopped at the end of the pit lane.

Lance Stroll was P13 ahead of the Haas of Mick Schumacher and the Williams of Nicholas Latifi.

Unsurprisingly, it was the FP1 stand-ins who rounded out the order, although there were plenty of mitigating factors for them. Liam Lawson was the ‘leader’ of that group in P16, but the New Zealander’s session ended a few minutes early, after his AlphaTauri stopped out on track, bringing out a red flag that curtailed the session for all and sundry.

Categories: Formula 1, Practice Results

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