Max Verstappen should avoid engine penalties after Mexico FP2 shut down

Red Bull says Max Verstappen's challenge for pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix has not been derailed by an engine problem in Formula 1 practice

Max Verstappen should avoid engine penalties after Mexico FP2 shut down

Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo were in a class of their own around the Mexico City circuit on Friday, finishing 1-2 in both sessions, with the high altitude helping the team's performance against Ferrari and Mercedes.

But Verstappen's day ended in frustration when his car shut down out on track in second practice, prompting fears that he could be left on the back foot for the rest of the weekend.

But team boss Christian Horner suspects the issue was hydraulic related, and he says if there has been any engine damage then the Dutchman still has a spare Spec-B power unit he can use.

"It's a hydraulic issue of some sort, so we need to get the car back to understand what's caused it," Horner told Sky Sports.

"Then if it is an engine change, he's still got one in his pool, so he should be alright. But we need to get the car back first of all to understand it."

Horner said it was no surprise that Red Bull was fast in Mexico, with engine performance more equalised at high altitude and the team able to exploit its chassis advantage.

"What's happened here, as I said before the event, this high altitude tends to even things out a bit," he said.

"The engines are struggling for air, the brakes, the cooling, everything is struggling for air mass through here.

"We're able to run the car in its optimum state [high downforce] and we've got a power unit that looks competitive relative to the others."

Not being 'naive'

Red Bull is under no illusions, however, that Ferrari and Mercedes will be much closer in qualifying than they were in Friday practice.

Ricciardo said: "The low fuel pace looked good, so I am relatively happy with the car low fuel, high fuel not so competitive so we have some work to do there.

"I am relatively happy, but I don't want to be naive though. I think Ferrari and Mercedes will give us a push tomorrow."

Horner added: "They are going to get their [engine] party modes going tomorrow, but the question is how much will it give them at this attitude.

"Last year we missed out on pole by one tenth. It would be great to go one better, and if Max can do it he will be the youngest pole sitter [in F1]."

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Mexican Grand Prix practice: Verstappen fastest then breaks down in FP2

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Max Verstappen
Author Jonathan Noble
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