Formula 1

George Russell Tops Second Mexico City Practice as Charles Leclerc Crashes

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Credit: LAT Images

George Russell led the way in the second free practice session of the Mexico City Grand Prix on Friday, while Charles Leclerc crashed into the barriers at turn seven to cause a red flag.

As was the case last weekend in the United States, the second session of the weekend was dedicated to a Pirelli tyre test, and only the drivers who sat out the opening session – Russell, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, Yuki Tsunoda and Alexander Albon – were able to run the 2022 tyres, and they were only able to do that in the first half of the session.

Russell, who sat out the first session to allow Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team reserve driver Nyck de Vries a chance behind the wheel of the W13, hit the top spot with a best time of 1:19.970 early on, and he was eight-tenths ahead of Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda, with BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Ocon completing the top three.

The session was red flagged just after the half hour mark when Leclerc, running the 2023 prototype tyres as part of Pirelli’s tyre test, crashed into the barriers at turn seven, the Scuderia Ferrari driver appearing to lose control of the rear of his car before spinning all the way into the outside tyre wall.

Leclerc was able to get out of the car unscathed, but his session was over, and it cost everyone twenty minutes of track time whilst the F1-75 was recovered and the barriers repaired before the green flag was flown again.

Lewis Hamilton was the quickest of those who set a lap time on the 2023 tyres in fourth place, the Briton finishing just ahead of Oracle Red Bull Racing duo of Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen, while Leclerc’s best time prior to his crash was good enough for seventh, just ahead of his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.

Valtteri Bottas, a previous winner in Mexico City, placed his Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN car into ninth place, but team-mate Zhou Guanyu did not have it as good, the Chinese driver ending twentieth and last.  Zhou also caused a late red flag with a potential hydraulic failure that saw the session end two minutes early.

Pierre Gasly completed the top ten in the second AlphaTauri, the Frenchman just ahead of the driver he will replace at Alpine in 2023, Fernando Alonso, while Sebastian Vettel, the driver Alonso will replace at the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team next year, ended twelfth.

Albon, who sat out the first session to allow his potential 2023 team-mate Logan Sargeant to participate to get some valuable running behind the wheel of the Williams Racing FW44, placed thirteenth ahead of the two McLaren F1 Team drivers, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, while Lance Stroll ended sixteenth in the second Aston Martin.

Mick Schumacher ended seventeenth for the Haas F1 Team ahead of team-mate Magnussen, the Dane missing the first half of the session after his mechanics were forced to change his engine after a problem was identified whilst Pietro Fittipaldi was running in the opening session.  Magnussen will take a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race as the engine is a new one outside of his allotted power units for the season.

Bringing up the rear was Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in nineteenth, and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou.

Final practice will take place on Saturday morning in Mexico prior to the all-important Qualifying hour that will set the grid for Sunday’s race.

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Free Practice 2 Result

POS NO. DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME GAP LAPS
1 63 George Russell GBR Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1:19.970   32
2 22 Yuki Tsunoda JAP Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:20.798 +0.828 30
3 31 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1:21.177 +1.207 31
4 44 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team 1:21.509 +1.539 32
5 11 Sergio Pérez MEX Oracle Red Bull Racing 1:21.579 +1.609 34
6 1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1:21.588 +1.618 34
7 16 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1:21.618 +1.648 13
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1:21.693 +1.723 34
9 77 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN 1:21.993 +2.023 36
10 10 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:22.104 +2.134 36
11 14 Fernando Alonso ESP BWT Alpine F1 Team 1:22.337 +2.367 31
12 5 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team 1:22.371 +2.401 32
13 23 Alexander Albon THA Williams Racing 1:22.447 +2.477 24
14 4 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1:22.738 +2.768 31
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1:22.763 +2.793 27
16 18 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team 1:22.840 +2.870 23
17 47 Mick Schumacher GER Haas F1 Team 1:22.879 +2.909 31
18 20 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 1:23.316 +3.346 21
19 6 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1:23.320 +3.350 34
20 24 Zhou Guanyu CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN 1:23.369 +3.399 34
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