Home hero Perez expects ‘tough’ Mexico City qualifying battle after ‘tricky, tricky day’

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 28: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing

Home favourite Sergio Perez said his first runs at the high altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez were tough as he expects Ferrari and Mercedes to give Red Bull a run for their money in Mexico City.

Perez enters his home race having enjoyed his most successful season in F1, the Mexican driver having won the Monaco and Singapore Grands Prix and scored seven other podiums – all second-place finishes – in 2022. But Friday running, which saw him finish third in FP1 and then fifth in the FP2 Pirelli test, wasn’t easy.

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“Yeah, it was a tricky, tricky day as usual in Mexico with the altitude, everything is floating around so fairly easy to make mistakes in these conditions,” he said. “So, overall, I think obviously FP2 was mainly for Pirelli but [in] FP1 we got a good base, and we seem to be there.

“Ferrari seem to be strong, also Mercedes, so it’s going to be a tough battle tomorrow,” added Perez.

“I think we got up to speed fairly quickly [in FP1] so should be straightforward tomorrow hopefully. But you can always expect different things tomorrow.”

2022 Mexico City GP FP1: Max Verstappen spins at Turn 10 in first practice

Team mate Max Verstappen, who spun on his way to P4 in FP1 (above), said the track was as slippery as ever.

“Yeah, just had a moment: as soon as I came a bit off line it was like ice, so I was just drifting left, drifting right, and at one point when it goes, you just have to hold the brakes and it just hits the wall.”

The two-time Formula 1 champion added that he’s heading into the unknown after just one run on the soft tyres, in FP1, before he took P6 on the prototype Pirellis in FP2.

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“I mean on the soft [compound] everything was alright, but we only had one run on them, and then in FP2 we had to do the tyre testing again. That makes it a little bit more difficult and a bit more unknown again like last weekend, for everyone, but the harder compounds are a bit more tricky,” explained the Dutchman.

Red Bull entered Mexico City having wrapped up both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships for the first time since 2013. Now Perez aims to deliver a historic home win in front of a capacity crowd.

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