Bottas and Hamilton run 1-2 in opening Mexico GP practice

Fast man Bottas watches the TV monitors
Bottas

On a dusty track where opening practice is not indicative of true speed, the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton ran 1-2 in opening practice for the Mexican GP. However, they set their fast time on ultrasoft Pirellis, whereas Red Bull and Ferrari stayed on the harder Supersoft tires the entire session

We should get a far better idea of the real pecking order in FP2 later on this afternoon when the track is cleaner.

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo ran 3rd and 4th while the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top-5.

It was particularly good news for Red Bull – both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished within 0.6s of Bottas, which is less than the estimated delta between the ultrasofts used by Mercedes and the supersofts that both Red Bull and Ferrari elected to stay on.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel wound up fifth, a few tenths ahead of team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Both men had minor offs – as did Hamilton – while Verstappen experienced an early end to his session due to a fundamental set-up change.

There was worse fortune down at Force India: Mexican Alfonso Celis, standing in for Esteban Ocon, hit the wall exiting Turn 16, damaging the rear of his car and triggering a brief red flag period. He too was unable to rejoin, winding up 19th overall – just ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, whose McLaren was struck by early engine gremlins that limited him to just three laps. Bottas in contrast was the morning's busiest runner with 41, with his benchmark time the fastest ever recorded on the current layout of the Mexico City circuit.

Home hero Sergio Perez upheld his countrymen’s hopes with seventh fastest time of 1m 19.240s for Force India, using the supersofts. He headed four ultrasoft runners: Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, Felipe Massa’s Williams, and the tightly matched Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz, who were split by just 0.02s.

In what was a very exploratory session, Antonio Giovinazzi was the leading ‘substitute’ driver, taking Romain Grosjean’s Haas to the 15th fastest time, ahead of Charles Leclerc in Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber and Sean Gelael, who briefly spun Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso.

Toro Rosso’s other runner, Brendon Hartley, competing in his second ever event, met with troubles that momentarily stopped him at Turn 4 halfway through. He managed to get going again but spent the rest of the session in the garage.

Results

POS NO DRIVER CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.824 +0.000s 42
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.290 +0.466s 35
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:18.395 +0.571s 16
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:18.421 +0.597s 28
5 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:18.586 +0.762s 28
6 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:19.008 +1.184s 27
7 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:19.240 +1.416s 21
8 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:19.346 +1.522s 20
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:19.443 +1.619s 32
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:19.552 +1.728s 19
11 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:19.554 +1.730s 24
12 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:19.772 +1.948s 34
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:20.644 +2.820s 16
14 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:20.971 +3.147s 30
15 50 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas Ferrari 1:21.269 +3.445s 26
16 37 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:21.446 +3.622s 28
17 38 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso 1:21.639 +3.815s 29
18 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:21.747 +3.923s 10
19 34 Alfonso Celis Force India Mercedes 1:22.342 +4.518s 17
20 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 3

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