Valtteri Bottas and teammate Lewis Hamilton claimed a 1-2 result in the opening practice session of the Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix, comfortably heading rival outfits Red Bull Racing and Ferrari.
The Brackley outfit, which won its fourth successive Constructors’ Championship title at last weekend’s Grand Prix in the United States, saw its two star drivers trade fastest laps at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, eclipsing last year’s pole position lap time.
Bottas would prove the quicker on the low-grip circuit following a switch to Ultra Soft tyres, posting a 1:17.824 time that was almost half-a-second quicker than Hamilton.
The chasing duos from Red Bull Racing and Ferrari both posted their fastest times of the session on the more durable Soft-compound tyres, believed to be up to 0.3 seconds per lap slower.
The quartet was headed by Max Verstappen – who finally apologised to FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting for his post-race outburst in Austin – and teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen further back.
It was an untidy session for the red cars, with Vettel twice finding the run-off at Turns 1 and 7, while Räikkönen had a spin at Turn 6.
Crowd favourite Sergio Pérez started his home Grand Prix positively by finishing the session seventh-fastest ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Felipe Massa, however the sister car normally driven by teammate Esteban Ocon did not fare as well.
Ocon had stepped aside to give the team’s well-funded development driver Alfonso Celis Jr an FP1 outing, however the youngster caused significant rear-end damage to the Frenchman’s racing car when he applied too much throttle and spun backwards into the Turn 16 wall.
The Renault pairing of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. claimed tenth and eleventh on the timesheets ahead of the second Williams of Lance Stroll.
Despite losing track time with a suspected cooling issue, Kevin Magnussen was the quicker of the Haas-Ferrari drivers and thirteenth-fastest overall. The team’s second VF-17 Ferrari was occupied by Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who deputised in place of Romain Grosjean – the Italian was fifteenth-quickest behind Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein.
Newly crowned FIA Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc had another FP1 hit-out for Sauber, this time in place of Marcus Ericsson, with the Monegasque driver placing sixteenth-fastest. Fellow Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael had another outing for Toro Rosso, piloting Pierre Gasly’s STR12 to 17th-fastest.
The sister car of Brendon Hartley had a troubled session. The New Zealander slowed after just 10 laps with an apparent engine problem and although he managed to limp back to the pits, he took no further part in proceedings.
Also joining him on the sidelines was Stoffel Vandoorne, who was confined to just three installation laps amid ongoing Honda power unit troubles in his McLaren.
Friday’s second practice session in Mexico City will begin at 14:00 local time (GMT -6).
|FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO 2017 – FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:17.824||42|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:18.290||35|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:18.395||16|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:18.421||28|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:18.586||28|
|6.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:19.008||27|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:19.240||21|
|8.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||1:19.346||20|
|9.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:19.443||32|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:19.552||19|
|11.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:19.554||24|
|12.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:19.772||34|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:20.644||16|
|14.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:20.971||30|
|15.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:21.269||26|
|16.||Charles Leclerc||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:21.446||28|
|17.||Sean Gelael||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:21.639||29|
|18.||Brendon Hartley||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:21.747||10|
|19.||Alfonso Celis Jr||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:22.342||17|
|20.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||no time||3|
Image via FOM and LAT Images