Formula 1

Bottas leads a Mercedes 1-2 in first free practice at the Mexican Grand Prix

3 Mins read
Credit: DaimlerAG Archive

Valtteri Bottas finished on top of the time charts at the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City. Lewis Hamilton was in second position and Max Verstappen was in third position at the end of the first free practice session.

The sixty-minute long first free practice session started under clear skies and sunny conditions with air temperatures at 18 degrees C and track temperatures at 38 degrees C.

The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4).

Kimi Räikkönen was the first driver on the track followed by the Uralkali Haas F1 Team team drivers. Charles Leclerc complained about the dust on the yet to be rubbered in track.

Bottas went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m21.327s on the soft compound tyres. Hamilton was 0.222 seconds behind him in second position.

Sergio Pérez on his home track slotted in between the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers. But Bottas went even faster with a lap time of 1m20.459s at the top of the time charts.

The drivers were on different compounds of tyres. The Red Bull Racing drivers were on the hard compound tyres. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers were on the medium compound tyres.

Both Leclerc and Pérez suffered damage to their rear-wing as they went off the track as they exited the stadium section on the low grip track. The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was briefly deployed.

Pierre Gasly displaced Bottas at the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m20.316s.

Hamilton went off the track at Turn 1 and rejoined the track without going around the bollard and will be investigated by the stewards after the session. Hamilton was on top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m20.085s.

Verstappen on the hard compound tyres slotted into first position with a lap time of 1m19.826s, 0.259 seconds faster than Hamilton. The championship rivals took turns at the top as Hamilton now went fastest with a lap time of 1m19.781s, just 0.045 seconds faster than Verstappen.

Pérez and Leclerc were sat in the garage as they waited for the rear-wing damage to be repaired.

With thirty minutes to go the order was Hamilton, Verstappen, Yuki Tsunoda, Räikkönen, Bottas, Lando Norris,Gasly,Sebastian Vettel, and Antonio Giovinazzi at the top of the time charts.

As the track started rubbering in, Carlos Sainz and then Bottas went to the top with a blistering lap time of 1m18.834s.

Verstappen on his first run on the soft compound tyres pulled clear of the Mercedes drivers with a lap time of 1m18.464s, 0.370 seconds faster than Bottas.

With twenty minutes to go Leclerc and Pérez were back on track. Bottas in the meantime went faster than Verstappen by 0.123 seconds to regain first position.

Pérez got a good lap in to take fifth position, behind Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton and Gasly. Hamilton then slotted into second position, just 0.076 seconds behind Bottas.

In the dying minutes of the session, Fernando Alonso split the Ferrari drivers as he slotted into seventh position. A good session for the Alpine F1 team as Esteban Ocon finished in ninth position.

The session ended with a Mercedes 1-2 led by Bottas. Verstappen and Pérez finished behind the Mercedes drivers. Gasly had another good session as he finished in fifth position.

Sainz and Leclerc finished in sixth and eighth positions. Vettel rounded off the top ten positions at the end of the first practice session. With the track cleaning up, the second free practice session will offer a better glimpse of the pecking order for the weekend.

2021 Mexican Grand Prix FP1 Results:

177Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team01:18.34128
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team01:18.417+0.076s24
333Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing01:18.464+0.123s28
411Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing01:18.610+0.269s20
510Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda01:18.985+0.644s23
655Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari01:19.463+1.122s26
714Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team01:19.656+1.315s26
816Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari01:19.667+1.326s20
931Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team01:19.759+1.418s20
105Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team01:19.858+1.517s27
1122Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda01:20.011+1.670s30
127Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN01:20.026+1.685s26
1318Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team01:20.030+1.689s27
143Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team01:20.273+1.932s25
154Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team01:20.301+1.960s26
1699Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN01:20.344+2.003s27
1763George RussellGBRWilliams Racing01:20.517+2.176s23
186Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing01:21.580+3.239s23
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team01:22.144+3.803s27
209Nikita MazepinRAFUralkali Haas F1 Team01:22.819+4.478s24

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