Story By: F1 MEXICO – MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Max Verstappen led both Friday’s Free Practice sessions at the 2023 FORMULA 1 MEXICO CITY GRAND PRIX Presented by Heineken at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in front of a crowd of 109,245 fans.
During Free Practice 2 (FP2) – the day’s fastest – the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver set a lap time of 1:18.686. McLaren’s Lando Norris was second fastest with a time of 1:18.805, while Charles Leclerc came third in the Ferrari, just 0.266s behind Verstappen, setting the stage for a fierce battle in Saturday’s Qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas put his Alfa Romeo fourth fastest, ahead of Mexican Sergio Pérez, who looked strong in the Red Bull and was consistently among the top drivers throughout the day.
Rounding out the top 10 were Daniel Ricciardo (Scuderia AlphaTauri), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG Petronas), Esteban Ocon (BWT Alpine), Oscar Piastri (McLaren), and George Russell (Mercedes-AMG Petronas), in a session which Pirelli used to test a new tyre compound.
During FP2, there was a threat of rain, and a light drizzle began to fall just 15 minutes before the end of the session. However, it was short-lived and did not require tyre changes, nor did it have an adverse effect on the handling of the cars. The only incident of the day involved Fernando Alonso, who momentarily lost control of his Aston Martin and spun at turn 9, but without consequence.
Verstappen also set the fastest time in FP1 with the Dutchman topping the standings with a time of 1:19.718. The big surprise, however, was Alex Albon, who was the second fastest in the Williams with a time of 1:19.813.
Friday was also the first day of on-track activities for the 26 cars that will take part in the Super Copa Gran Turismo Mexico (GTM) race. The hour-long session was led by Gerardo Nieto in the #42 V8-powered car, with a fastest time of 1:52.040 over 12 laps. The Formula 4 NACAM cars also had their first free practice session.
Action on track will resume on Saturday with Formula 1 Free Practice 3 and Qualifying.