ROKiT Williams Racing had a similar sessions their previous race sessions. George Russell was the only driver to feature in both sessions for the team, as Nicholas Lafti took over in Robert Kubica‘s car for the morning session. But it saw them finish bottom of the pile in both sessions.
Russell finished nineteenth and eighteenth in each of the free practice sessions, as his Williams’ was at least three seconds off the fastest times by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in each practice session.
Russell expressed that he felt it was a “cool experience” as he got his first experience of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico after
“With 25 percent less downforce than every other circuit because of the altitude, there was a lot of sliding around but it was definitely a cool experience driving in front of the baseball stadium.“
The Briton explained that there was “a few positives” to take from both of the free practice sessions. Russell said that he felt there was “encouraging” data coming out of free practice one.
“There were a few positives to take away from today; our high fuel pace seemed relatively good and we gathered some more data this morning back-to-backing the front wings, so that was encouraging.“
Kubica missed the morning session of free practice one in place of Latifi. In the second practice it was Kubica’s first ever outing at the track upon his return to Formula one. He revealed “it wasn’t an easy afternoon” due to the altitude which lead to “a lot of sliding” with his Williams.
“It wasn’t an easy afternoon, as the conditions plus the high altitude mean that we lose quite a lot of downforce. It is the same for everyone as we cannot change the altitude, so there is a lot of sliding.”
Kubica, who only took part in one session, only managed nineteenth in the afternoon being, like his teammate, over three seconds off the fastest time of Vettel.
He explained that himself and the team did “find some improvements” which would help him during the race.
“We hope to find some improvements in order to slide less, which will make life easier for the tyres and hopefully we will pick up a bit of pace.“
The first session was taken by Latifi, who had not been in a free practice session since the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix. He said he “ran a completely different programme” to Russell, which helped Williams gather data for improvements to the car. He went on to say he was “happy” with his session.
“It was nice to be back behind the wheel, after my last outing at Spa as it feels like a long time. After my experience driving here last year, I knew that the track has very low grip due to the high altitude. It was a very busy session, I ran a completely different programme to George, we got a lot done and the team was happy with the data that we gathered.”
Latifi finished the session in twentieth place, but said his “goal” is “never to get the fastest time” As the Canadian talked of helping the team out.
“My goal for the free practice 1 sessions remains the same; to get as much information for the team going into free practice 2. It is never to get the fastest lap time, however, as a driver you try and do that to show the team what you can do. “
The Canadian spoke of the session saying it was a “good experience” and that he was “pleased” because he got the chance to drive the Williams once again.
“It was a good experience driving the car again with no big mistakes, everything was clean, so I am pleased with the session.“