Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel leads F1 practice in Mexico as drivers struggle for grip
Mercedes settles for fourth and fifth
Not an uncommon topic in modern F1, the Pirelli tires once again dominated all conversation. So often the rubber brought to the track is hard enough for teams to be able to engineer a simple one stop strategy but, this weekend the soft tires are ‘graining’ at an alarming rate while the medium and hard tires seem to offer little to no grip.
The headache this will give the race engineers on the pit wall is also one which will give fans a lot of entertainment come Saturday’s qualifying and race day on Sunday.
With the rate at which the softs are graining, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will all want to start the race on the slower but more durable medium option. However, the field is so tightly packed that running the medium tire in qualifying in order to start the race on that compound would bring an extremely high risk of not making it into the top ten shootout itself. Throw into the mix that some rain is expected across the next two days and the recipe for more chaotic scenes, similar to those witnessed at the German Grand Prix, are high.
Master of finding the grip on Friday was Vettel though. Followed by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc; Mercedes was relegated to fourth and fifth – Valtteri Bottas leading Lewis Hamilton.
Struggling to find grip almost every driver made a trip across the grass on the exit of turn one at least once during the session.
After Lance Stroll had discovered the limit of adhesion at the final corner in practice one slamming his Racing Point into the wall. Alex Albon spun at turn seven and, despite the far larger run off area, hit the wall in practice two causing huge damage to his Red Bull and ending his session after no more than a few minutes.
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||S||01:16.6|
|2||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||S||0.115|
|3||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||S||0.465|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||S||0.614|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||S||0.963|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||S||1.14|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||M||1.396|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team||S||1.472|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault F1 Team||S||1.654|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||S||1.742|
|11||Lance Stroll||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||S||1.755|
|12||Sergio Perez||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||S||1.759|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team||S||1.773|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing||S||2.074|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||S||2.159|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||S||2.282|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||S||2.699|
|18||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing||S||3.361|
|19||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing||S||3.573|
|20||Alexander Albon||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||M||5.058|