“The graining we saw this morning was no real surprise” – Pirelli’s Isola on opening day in Mexico

by Vince Pettit

A mixture of the high altitude conditions and overnight rain meant conditions for the first day at the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix were challenging for all teams.

The morning session saw Lewis Hamilton record the fastest time with a lap time of 1:17.327 on the Soft compound while Charles Leclerc was only 0.115 seconds slower on the medium compound with Carlos Sainz Jr. setting the fastest time on the Hard compound with a time of 1:20.569.

“The gaps seem to be reasonably close between the top cars on the same tyre, accentuated by the relatively short lap length and the fact that the running has been interrupted today.” said Pirelli Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola.

“This meant that nobody really had the chance to find any particular advantage. With more rain possibly expected tonight, the grip might not significantly improve tomorrow.

The graining we saw this morning was no real surprise given the cool and damp conditions combined with the lack of aerodynamic grip, which meant that the cars were sliding more than usual. Despite this, the actual lap times were comparable to last year – and with a harder tyre selection.

The afternoon session favoured the Soft tyres for the quicker runs with Ferrari’s Vettel leading the way with a time of 1:16.607. The German also shared the fastest time on the medium compound with Max Verstappen equaling his time of 1:17.960. Valtteri Bottas was fastest on the Hard compound with a time of 1:18.667.

There’s clearly some degradation on the soft at the moment in particular, but a lot will depend on the eventual weather conditions for race day. Plenty for the teams and drivers to think about overnight, as starting the race on the medium tyre could be a valid strategy this weekend.” added Isola.

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