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F1 Mexico GP: Verstappen holds off Albon effort to top rookie-filled FP1

Max Verstappen headlined the opening Formula 1 practice session at the Mexico City Grand Prix by 0.095s from Williams' Alex Albon as five F2 drivers took part.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen logged a 1m19.718s on softs, having dispatched Lando Norris from top spot as the McLaren driver had been among the first of the frontrunners to switch to the red-walled tyre. Norris had gone just 0.008s faster than Verstappen's medium-tyre effort of a 1m20.245s - but the Dutchman returned to the top on his first soft run.

Albon then set the best first sector as he offered Verstappen more than a token challenge and, although the Williams driver lost a sprinkling of time in the following two splits, he still sat within a tenth of his former team-mate.

This allowed the Anglo-Thai driver to split the Red Bulls, as Sergio Perez was approximately 0.3s behind Verstappen's headline time. This put him above Norris, after the Briton's brief spell at the top.

Charles Leclerc was fifth fastest after overcoming early worries after reporting a "metal noise" at full throttle on his opening tours of the circuit.

The full field, aside from Oscar Piastri, had trialled Pirelli's prototype C4 tyre in the opening quarter of the session prior to their exploration of the compounds to be used over the rest of the weekend. Piastri used his prototype tyre allocation later to set his best time, which put him sixth overall.

Carlos Sainz was seventh fastest despite losing hydraulic pressure early in the session, which forced him to crawl back to the pitlane in fourth gear. Ferrari was able to implement a fix that allowed him to continue his running relatively unabated.

Daniel Ricciardo was just within a tenth of the Spaniard, as Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll completed the top 10 ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who was a second off Verstappen's time.

Nico Hulkenberg jumped up to 12th at the end of the session, having had to abort an earlier quick lap on his softs after coming across a slow Aston Martin within the Foro Sol stadium section. This put him ahead of Zhou Guanyu, who was spotted with work being done to his Alfa Romeo towards the end of the session, and Williams' Logan Sargeant.

Ollie Bearman, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Ollie Bearman, Haas F1 Team

Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman claimed the 15th-fastest time in his first outing for Haas to end the session as the highest-placed rookie, an appearance he will follow up on with an FP1 appearance at Abu Dhabi.

A late lap put him ahead of Fernando Alonso, who was ahead of the 17th-placed Isack Hadjar, who replaced Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri in the opening practice session. Tsunoda will receive a grid penalty for the Mexico City GP, having taken a fifth gearbox and a new suite of power unit components.

Jack Doohan - who replaced Pierre Gasly at Alpine for Mexico's FP1 session - was 18th-fastest over Frederik Vesti, who is currently second in this year's F2 standings; the Dane stood in for George Russell at Mercedes.

Theo Pourchaire covered for Valtteri Bottas in FP1, but reported an alarm appearing on his dashboard which coincided with a long throttle pedal. Despite a check-up in the garage, he found the same issue on his subsequent returns to the track and thus did not post a lap time.

F1 Mexico GP FP1 Results:

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 29

1'19.718

  194.365
2 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 31

+0.095

1'19.813

0.095 194.133
3 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull 28

+0.297

1'20.015

0.202 193.643
4 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 30

+0.519

1'20.237

0.222 193.107
5 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari 30

+0.579

1'20.297

0.060 192.963
6 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 32

+0.745

1'20.463

0.166 192.565
7 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari 23

+0.761

1'20.479

0.016 192.527
8 Australia D. Ricciardo AlphaTauri 3 AlphaTauri Red Bull 30

+0.850

1'20.568

0.089 192.314
9 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault 26

+0.959

1'20.677

0.109 192.054
10 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes 26

+0.969

1'20.687

0.010 192.030
11 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 25

+1.006

1'20.724

0.037 191.942
12 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari 29

+1.250

1'20.968

0.244 191.364
13 China Z. Guanyu Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari 27

+1.411

1'21.129

0.161 190.984
14 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes 30

+1.439

1'21.157

0.028 190.918
15 United Kingdom O. Bearman Haas F1 Team 50 Haas Ferrari 31

+1.595

1'21.313

0.156 190.552
16 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes 17

+1.629

1'21.347

0.034 190.472
17 France I. Hadjar AlphaTauri 41 AlphaTauri Red Bull 25

+2.223

1'21.941

0.594 189.092
18 Australia J. Doohan Alpine 61 Alpine Renault 25

+2.391

1'22.109

0.168 188.705
19 Denmark F. Vesti Mercedes 42 Mercedes Mercedes 26

+3.219

1'22.937

0.828 186.821
20 France T. Pourchaire Alfa Romeo 98 Alfa Romeo Ferrari 4

 

   

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