What the teams said – Friday in Mexico
It was a straightforward first session for Sainz, who finished top of the pile. Leclerc was narrowly behind after his day got off to a less than ideal start, a slow puncture on his first set of hard compound tyres limiting his higher fuel running. But worse soon followed, the Monegasque losing the rear of his car in FP2 and slamming into the barriers, bringing out the red flags and ending his session much earlier than planned.
Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:20.753, P2; FP2: 1:21.618, P7
"Not the best of Fridays, as we didn’t complete a great number of laps. Unfortunately, we had a puncture straight out of the box in FP1, so we had to pit and did just a few laps on the Soft tyres after that.
"In FP2, we completed some short runs. When we started with the long runs, I spun which ended my session. I don’t expect it to affect the rest of the weekend in any way and I am confident that we will have a good day tomorrow, as the feeling in the car is good."
Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:20.707, P1; FP2: 1:21.693, P8
"In general, it was a positive day here in Mexico. We completed the two sessions without any issues and managed to change the car quite a lot between the sessions to test different approaches.
"It’s not an easy circuit, we’re naturally lacking downforce here due to the altitude but we’re having fun out there.
"Thanks to all the Mexican fans for their great support! It’s always impressive to drive through the arena zone and hear them cheer! We’ll try to put on a good show for everyone this weekend."
After going quickest on the hard tyre runs in FP1, Verstappen managed to spin after taking too much kerb but at least kept his car out of the barriers. He had a much quieter second session during the tyre test. As for Perez, he managed to lap in the exact same time as his team mate in FP1, sending the crowd wild every time he took to the track. But can the atmosphere and support lift him to greater heights across the weekend?
Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:20.827, P4; FP2: 1:21.588, P6
"I had a little spin this morning in FP1, as soon as I came off the track it felt like ice and I was drifting left and right. On the soft tyres, everything felt okay but we only had one run on them. In FP2 we had to do the Pirelli tyre test, so it makes it a little bit more difficult as there are a lot of unknowns again, similar to last weekend. We have very little information, but from what we tried; everything was working okay. Let’s see what we can do come qualifying tomorrow."
Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:20.827, P3; FP2: 1:21.579, P5
"It was a tricky day to get a read on things, as is typical in Mexico with the altitude, everything is floating around. It is very easy to make mistakes in these conditions so overall I think we had an ok day. I think we got up to speed fairly quickly and got into a rhythm so it should hopefully be quite straight forward tomorrow. The tyre test means you basically lose FP2 but that’s how it is for everyone and in FP1 we got a good pace and we seemed to be competitive. Ferrari look strong, as do Mercedes, so it is going to be a tough battle tomorrow in qualifying."
De Vries took over Russell’s cockpit in FP1, giving a good account of himself. That meant that Russell was allowed to run the 2022 tyres in the second session, and used the soft rubber to put himself top of the leader board by quite some margin. Hamilton was also de facto top of the prototype-shod runners, but with those tyre compounds an unknown, it is difficult to draw too many conclusions as to where Mercedes are in the pecking order.
Lewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:20.849, P5; FP2: 1:21.509, P4
"I had a good session today, so generally feel good about our performance so far. I really enjoyed driving around the track, because the car is feeling better and better as we learn to understand it in more detail. The tyre test in FP2 we used to get as much practice in as possible. I don't know yet where exactly we stand compared to other teams, because everyone was running different programmes and I try to mainly focus on my own programme. The 2023 tyres seem very similar to the current ones, maybe a little bit more consistent on the long runs and easier to manage in terms of overheating. Of course, we will do plenty of work tonight, to see if we can compete with the front, but you never know with this car how the rest of the weekend will go, but I hope we are able to continue to build on our positive conclusion from today."
George Russell - FP2: 1:19.970, P1
"Today was one of our better Fridays, if not the best of the year so far - the car is working well and it felt good driving on this track. The pace was relatively strong, but we know the challenges at this circuit. For qualifying, the difficulty will be to get the tyres in the right window for the single lap run. And on Sunday, it will be difficult to manage temperatures for the engine and for the brakes. A podium finish should hopefully be possible for us this weekend, so that's what we will be aiming for. Not having the normal FP2 running, where we get to assess the long run performance of our rivals, doesn't allow us to understand where our competitors are and that can become a big challenge if we will struggle with tyre temperatures during the race. We take some very useful learnings about tyre temperature management for next year and will be working hard overnight as it's not going to be a straightforward weekend for sure, but positive learnings for us today."
Nyck de Vries - FP1: 1:24.582, P18
"I enjoyed the session and driving the car, we did a good job in FP1. We ran a bit of a different programme today, focused on developments for next year and I'm happy with my performance, feeling more and more comfortable in the F1 environment. It was also a very emotional session for me, as it marks the end of my time in the car for the team. But I'm happy, as we ended it well and we had a great time working together. I'm grateful for the opportunity Mercedes has given me, allowing me to learn a lot and build relationships within the team and now I'm looking forward to the next chapter."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"We had a bit of a messy first session as we were bumping into a few limits on system temperatures, but we managed to get that much better under control in the second session. Nyck was driving in place of George for the first session. The programme was never going to flatter him as we were only running the hard tyre and working through a sequence of test items, but he did another very solid job. That finishes off his planned driving duties for our team and we are looking forward to seeing him race next year. The second session was focused on the 2023 tyres, although the regulations allowed George to do a few laps on medium and soft compounds. From what we can tell the car is working well on both single lap and long run. The balance isn't perfect so we've got areas to work on overnight, but a reasonable start at what is normally a very challenging circuit."
Doohan was in Ocon’s car for FP1, and after a decent chunk of running on the hard compound tyre, had to sit out the end of the session with an issue. That transpired to be a PU problem, leading to a change between sessions but the team completed it swiftly enough for Ocon to be able to head straight out in FP2. Running the 2022 tyres, he put himself third on the leaderboard. As for Alonso, he looked quick all day and seemed to be enjoying himself as he power slid out of a fair few corners.
Esteban Ocon - FP2: 1:21.177, P3
“It was good to test ourselves on this challenging track, which is quite low on grip but with long fast straights and challenging corners. I didn’t run in the first session with Jack driving my car. I’ve been in his position before, so well done to him on doing his first session. For Free Practice 2, we completed a lot of laps where we were able to learn quite a lot. It was slightly interrupted, but we have plenty of data to go through tonight and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do across the next two days.”
Jack Doohan - FP1: 1:24.615, P19
“It was a fantastic experience to drive in Free Practice 1 today, so thanks to Alpine for giving me that opportunity. I put in a lot of preparation for today including working with the engineers at Enstone and at the circuit as well as driving on the simulator. We had more running planned but, unfortunately, we had to stop early due to a small issue on the car. These things happen in motorsport, but to drive 13 laps here on a Grand Prix weekend was an incredible experience and something I’ll remember forever. I’m looking forward to furthering my learning experience with the team this weekend where hopefully both Esteban and Fernando can score some points.”
Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:20.899, P6; FP2: 1:22.337, P11
“I’d say it was a solid Practice for us today and it’s nice to be back here in Mexico. The track in Mexico City always has varying levels of grip and the unique high altitude puts pressure on both the car and driver. We need to adjust and adapt to these challenging conditions, which we will no doubt face all weekend. Overall, we completed our Friday programme, and we head into tomorrow feeling confident of a strong result.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“Jack did a great job today in his first official Formula 1 session. The track here in Mexico City is not easy to drive, especially on debut, and he certainly gave a good account of himself. Unfortunately, his session ended slightly early with a power unit issue but, during his running, he was very sensible, built up the speed lap by lap and gave us some good feedback. Thereafter, he observed a lot by just watching. Fernando had a smooth day and the car looked reasonable across both sessions. Esteban wasn’t able to complete a full programme on race tyres due to the red flag midway through the session and Pirelli prototype tyre testing, but we have enough data to assess in preparation for the rest of the weekend where the aim, as usual, is to have both drivers inside the top ten.”
The day didn’t start brilliantly for Ricciardo, who missed a chunk of running in FP1 with a brake issue before finding one of his hot laps disrupted by traffic. But he fared better in FP2, with 27 laps to his name. Norris had a quiet day, but will be going all out tomorrow to try and secure a good grid slot and get McLaren into a strong position from which to fight with Alpine on Sunday.
Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:21.762, P11; FP2: 1:22.763, P15
"It was nice to be back, so a good day. We had a couple of issues here and there but I think, nonetheless, a good day. We found a few things to work on but also, I think we made steps on some set-up stuff, so I think all we need is a smooth day tomorrow. It’s hard to know competitor-wise, where we are compared to the others, but I think for the most part I had a decent feeling, and when the car was in a good place, I had enough confidence in it. So, hopefully, as I said, a smooth day tomorrow, and we can just build and get ourselves a good qualifying."
Lando Norris - FP1: 1:21.120, P8; FP2: 1:22.738, P14
"It wasn’t a bad day. We made some progress on the car but we’re still not where we need to be with the pace. The track has a very low downforce and is a slippery surface, but I'm feeling more confident with it after today’s sessions. Overall, we learnt a lot, but we’ll keep working hard overnight as a team to get ready for qualifying tomorrow."
Andrea Stella, Executive Director, Racing
"As usual, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez presents some challenges to Formula 1 cars because of the low-density air at this altitude. The good thing today is that we acquired plenty of data. We know where we are and understand that we have some work to do overnight. Using FP2 for a mandatory Pirelli tyre test means the competitive situation is not as clear as usual – we expect to fight again in a close midfield battle and we’ll try to get through to Q3 tomorrow and have a good Mexico City Grand Prix on Sunday."
Lawson’s day ended abruptly, as he was told to pull over with a PU issue. His brakes then caught fire, the first victims of the high altitude here that makes cooling the car so critical. The team did well to ready the car for Tsunoda in the afternoon, who only missed a few laps' worth of running. One of four drivers on the 2022 tyres, the Japanese racer grabbed second. As for Gasly, frustration at traffic in FP1 soon mellowed as he completed a decent number of laps in FP2.
Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:21.310, P9; FP2: 1:22.104, P10
“It’s been a great day. In FP1, I felt good in the car, we know it’s quite a unique track as it’s at such high altitude, but usually this works quite well for us. This morning straight away I was on the pace, we know it’s super tight in the midfield so I hope tomorrow, when we put it altogether, we can fight for the top 10. This afternoon we can’t make many conclusions, as we don’t know the compounds we’ve been running, but generally I felt quite good in the car, which is the most important thing. It feels great to be racing back in Mexico, both at the track and away from it it’s absolutely hectic, but it’s fun to be back here and feel the passion of the fans.”
Yuki Tsunoda - FP2: 1:20.798, P2
“I’m quite happy after FP2, of course it’s not that representative, but straight away I felt confident in the car and was able to put in some strong laps. It was quite easy to adapt to the circuit, which I wasn’t expecting, so it’s been a positive FP2. I spent the start of the session just building up the pace and then I moved to the test tyres. As I missed FP1, I’ve got a lot of data to look through tonight and some more work to do in FP3, so that I can hopefully put it altogether for Quali tomorrow.”
Liam Lawson - FP1: 1:23.861, P16
“It’s been great to be back on track with Scuderia AlphaTauri after my last shot out in Spa. This time we played a bit more with set-up changes, as the more I drive the car the more accurate feedback I can give. Due to the Pirelli test in FP2 we saved a set of tyres for that, so I only ran on one set, which I believe most the juniors did today. It’s a really interesting circuit. I’d been on the sim a lot obviously, but when I first drove it was quite eye opening, there’s very low grip and it’s extremely slippery, especially through some of the high-speed areas. Driving through the stadium though was crazy, the atmosphere is incredible, even when I had to stop the car there, they were all cheering. Sadly, we had to stop because we had a loss of pressure. However, I was able to complete most the session anyway, so it didn’t impact too much.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“It was great to have Liam back driving for us in FP1, this time taking over Yuki’s car. He did a very good job, particularly as he only ran a single hard tyre in that session. He got quickly up to speed and was setting competitive lap times even against the experienced drivers. We had several aero test items which we completed with him and captured very good data to help us with the setup direction. His running came to an end just before the end of the session, as we spotted a loss of pressure, but the mechanics did a great job to get the car repaired and ready for Yuki for FP2. Pierre was focusing on general setup work and long run tyre gathering in FP1 - it was a tight programme given the Pirelli test in FP2 - but we gathered enough data to prepare for Quali and the race on Sunday. Yuki was able to run the 2022 tyres at the start of FP2 before switching to the Pirelli test, which had to be cut short for all drivers due to the Red Flag. In general, the car balance was close even at the start of the weekend, so we will use Friday as a good foundation to make any subtle changes overnight. Our competitiveness is looking quite good, and we will do all we can to aim for a place in Q3 tomorrow.”
Stroll is carrying a three-place grid drop into the weekend, earned last time out after his crash with Alonso. But his weekend started much better, with a decent number of laps in both sessions. Vettel too had a quiet day, keeping his head down and ploughing through the programme. They don’t look as quick out of the box as they did last weekend, but there is still time to improve.
Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:21.525, P10; FP2: 1:22.371, P12
“The fans seem to get a little crazier each year – but it is such a fantastic atmosphere here. Today went pretty smoothly: we could not test anything in the afternoon tyre test, which was a bit of a shame, but hopefully we were able to give some useful information to Pirelli. It is difficult to say where we are at the moment – it looks like we are in our usual positions for a Friday, but I hope we can find something in the set-up and take a step forward for qualifying tomorrow.”
Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:21.865, P13; FP2: 1:22.840, P16
“It was a fairly quiet Friday today. There is not much to say about FP2, due to the Pirelli tyre test, but it was certainly good to get some laps in throughout the day. We have improved the car a lot over the year, and it is starting to really show, even if the outright results today do not necessarily reflect that. On another note, I am really enjoying my time at this Grand Prix. The general vibe is really cool. It is a lot a fun both on the track and with the atmosphere.”
Zhou had an issue in FP1, stopping at the end of the pit lane with an upshifting problem and requiring some assistance from the marshals to be rolled back towards his crew. His day didn’t improve either as he was forced to park up in the stadium late on in FP2 with an apparent hydraulics issue. Luckily Bottas had a straightforward day for the team, who have their work cut out to get to the root of the issues tonight.
Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:21.083, P7; FP2: 1:21.993, P9
“The car was feeling pretty good today. Coming into this weekend, I was expecting for it to be a decent track for us, and it seems like so far everything is running smooth, so overall it has been a positive day. We seemed to be in a good place with lap times in both sessions, and hopefully that is a good sign ahead of tomorrow. FP2 was obviously all about learning about the new tyres, which feel very similar to the current ones to me. There is indeed a difference with the tyre pressure, which can clearly be perceived, but apart from that, they feel mostly the same.”
Zhou Guanyu - FP1: 1:21.820, P12; FP2: 1:23.369, P20
“Today hasn’t been the easiest day, in fact it has been quite messy out there for me. During FP1 my gear got stuck while I was practicing starts in the pitlane; at first we were okay in FP2, but then we had quite a few small issues in the long run, and eventually at the end of the session I had to stop the car on track because of a hydraulic issue. As a positive, I got to learn the track and our car felt quite strong, so we should be ready for tomorrow and hopefully have a smooth and cleaner day. Upgrades have been working extremely well, especially on the one-lap performance, so I am confident we can have a strong qualifying. Our priority now is to get rid of the issues we experienced today, and then we are good to go.”
Fittipaldi was in Magnussen’s cockpit for FP1, but his day ended early after he was told to stop with a power unit issue, which almost immediately led to the announcement that Magnussen would take a grid penalty for the race after needing an ICE change. It’s far from ideal for the Dane, who also missed out on his 2022 tyre running and thus heads into tomorrow’s having yet to complete a single lap on this weekend’s compounds.
Mick Schumacher - FP1: 1:21.952, P14; FP2: 1:39.507, P5
“It was alright, obviously the track has different challenges now with these new cars. It has been fun though, there have already been a lot of fans here today which is great, so expecting more tomorrow and on Sunday. We still have some work to do, we’re not quite satisfied with our performance overall, but we still have something in us to move up the grid and be able to position ourselves well for the race. I would love some rain, I think it would suit our car very well so yet again we’ll be doing the rain dance.”
Kevin Magnussen – FP2: 1:40.084, P11
“We’re back in Mexico and I managed to get some laps in. We had to use the test tires from Pirelli so the running we did today isn’t super relevant, but still I got a good feeling for the track and I got into the rhythm of Mexico City.”
Pietro Fittipaldi – FP1: 1:26.766, P20
“It was good to get back in the car – obviously it was only for a few of laps – but it was good to get the feeling of driving a Formula 1 car on a different track, which is an amazing circuit. I’m very happy for the opportunity and I felt very comfortable, very quickly in the car. We weren’t using DRS on the first run and we were running competitively, so I was really happy. Then again, going onto a new tire we were going to make a step but then unfortunately we had the issue. I was happy that I was able to get back into the rhythm quickly in the car and feel good and confident. It was a short FP1 but at least I got a run in, and in Abu Dhabi, I can come back into the car warmed up.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Mick had a very good day today, running through all his test program, so he should be ready for tomorrow. Unfortunately, Pietro’s turbo let go after nine laps which meant he couldn’t do a lot, so we didn’t get that test program going. We had to change the engine afterwards and the team did a fantastic job to get Kevin out with only a 30-minute delay. Kevin could then get a program with the prototype tires in, but there obviously wasn’t enough time to get the race tires on but at least he got back out on track and a little bit of experience. Now we need to do a solid job in FP3 to get ready for qualifying.”
Sargeant ran in Albon’s car as he continues to grow in experience, before his planned promotion to the team for next season. The Thai driver was then slightly delayed coming out in FP2, and thus didn’t get time to run the medium compound which leaves him playing catch up for tomorrow. Latifi at least managed to gather lots of data for the team after he got his head down and completed a decent amount of laps.
Nicholas Latifi – FP1: 1:22.912, P15; FP2: 1:42.317, P20
“Overall today was an okay start to the weekend. It was a little bit disrupted with many yellow and red flags and FP2 having the tyre test which was unrepresentative. A decent Friday to learn about the baseline of the car. There are definitely some clear directions to go into tomorrow to find more lap time.”
Logan Sargeant - FP1: 1:24.246, P17
“I was definitely a lot more comfortable coming into today. Everything slowed down a lot and it was easier to build a rhythm and learn the track. All in all, it was a good step forward and good progress from last weekend.”
Alex Albon - FP2: 1:41.853, P18
“We did one lap today on the tyres we’re using this weekend so not a very productive day. We’ve got the cooling and the race package ready for the weekend so that’s a positive in terms of getting up to speed. We’re a bit off but that’s expected when considering the one representative lap, so it’s a bit frustrating in some ways but we’ve got a good platform and baseline to work on for tomorrow.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
“We have had a very disrupted day, with the red flags costing us some valuable track time. Logan did a very good job this morning in difficult conditions and between him and Nicholas, they were able to evaluate some of the cooling options that we will need this weekend.
“Alex was late starting FP2 following an issue with setting the PU cooling system and this meant that he was only able to complete a single timed lap before moving on to the Pirelli tyre testing. Whilst this was frustrating and not ideal preparation for his weekend, he was able to complete the high fuel running and understand what the car limitations will be on Sunday.
“With the race car preparation complete, both drivers can concentrate on qualifying preparation during FP3 tomorrow. There is a bit of work to do to tune the car for low fuel, but following some analysis tonight, this will be achievable tomorrow morning.”
Simone Berra, Chief Engineer
"It was a busy day in Mexico City, with the teams running as much as possible to gather race weekend data in FP1, and then completing our tyre test in FP2, which focussed on the softer compounds after assessing the harder compounds in Austin last weekend. The red flag interruptions – particularly the first one – meant that some teams weren’t able to complete the programme, but we still collected a useful amount of information to analyse. As expected in Mexico, we saw some track evolution, but the track was generally in better condition than we anticipated, offering reasonable grip from the start. From the point of view of this weekend’s race, the teams are missing a bit of data compared to usual, which means that the work done tomorrow in FP3 will be particularly important. The drivers ran mainly the hard and the soft tyres today; we had a bit of sliding on the hard but contained degradation on the soft, which means that it should make an interesting race tyre as well."