Formula 1

F1 Mexico: Bottas ahead of Hamilton in Opening Free Practice

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Valtteri Bottas finished over four-tenths of a second faster than his Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team team-mate Lewis Hamilton in first free practice for the Mexican Grand Prix, with both Red Bull Racing drivers not too far behind.

The two Mercedes team-mates set their fastest laps of the session on the Ultrasoft Pirelli tyre with Bottas faster throughout the session compared to Hamilton, who only needs to finish fifth in the race to win his fourth Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship this weekend.

Both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who were separated by 0.026s by the time the session ended, set their fastest laps using the Supersoft tyre and were within six-tenths of Bottas, although Verstappen had his session cut short slightly after the team decided to make a major set-up change.

After losing out on the Constructors championship last weekend in Austin, Scuderia Ferrari found themselves fifth and sixth behind both Red Bull and Mercedes, although Sebastian Vettel topped the time sheets at times during the ninety-minute session. Vettel went off track a couple of times during the session, while Kimi Raikkonen had some changes made to his car in the first thirty minutes.

Brendon Hartley had an issue during the session after spinning nearby turn four, with his engine stopping briefly. The virtual safety car came out, although Hartley was able to get his Scuderia Toro Rosso car going after a short period of time. In his first practice session of his second F1 race weekend, he finished eighteenth.

Sean Gelael, who was driving for just the first practice session, also span his Toro Rosso car during the session and entered the pits after. A throttle leak was reported with it being drained before being let out on track again.

After a relatively quiet hour, the session was briefly stopped with thirty minutes to go after Alfonso Celis Jr., who was driving Esteban Ocon‘s Sahara Force India F1 Team car for the session, hit the wall on the outside of turn sixteen coming out of the stadium section. Sergio Perez had a better time in the other Force India, keeping quiet and finishing the session in seventh.

The only driver behind Celis Jr. and Hartley on the time sheets was Stoffel Vandoorne, who was only able to complete three laps during the whole session. The brand new power unit in his McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team car for the race weekend had to be replaced, and it was announced later that Vandoorne would have a thirty-five-place grid penalty for the race.

His team-mate Fernando Alonso was able to finish in eighth and just over 1.5s off the fastest time, although the Spaniard also taking a large penalty this weekend for yet another Honda power unit change.

Williams Martini Racing‘s Felipe Massa and Renault Sport Formula 1 Team‘s Nico Hülkenberg rounded off the top ten in the practice session, with both drivers having a relatively quiet session. Hülkenberg was reported to have a water leak not long before the end, which didn’t affect his session greatly, with the German finishing just ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. and the second Williams of Lance Stroll.

Kevin Magnussen was thirteenth for the Haas F1 Team, who gave Antonio Giovinazzi an outing in Romain Grosjean‘s car, with the Italian finishing fifteenth, just behind Pascal Wehrlein in the leading of the Sauber F1 Team machines but ahead of Charles Leclerc, in for Marcus Ericsson in the second Sauber. The Monegasque driver finished sixteenth, ahead of Gelael, Hartley, Celis Jr. and Vandoorne.

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Free Practice 1 Result

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