FP1 & FP2 - Mexico GP report: Mercedes
Eventful but productive opening day at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
— Nico finished the morning session in sixth and topped the times in the afternoon
— Lewis set the 11th fastest time in P1 and the 4th fastest in P2
— Both drivers used the intermediate and prime (medium) tyre in P1 followed by the prime, option (soft) and intermediate in P2
— Nico spent part of the morning session in the garage after his rear brakes overheated, requiring a change of brake ducts and calipers
— Today saw Formula One return to the track in Mexico for the first time in 23 years
It´s very exciting to race here in Mexico for the first time. The track reminds me very much of my youth. It feels like a kart circuit with a lot of very tight corners and the two stadiums are really spectacular with all the fans. We brought the same rear wing here as we would use in Monaco, with maximum downforce. But, because of the altitude here in Mexico City, we are also very quick on the straights which feels very strange. I was happy with the outcome today. It seems that we are quick and I was able to try a lot of different things with the car. I’m really enjoying it here and I can’t wait for qualifying and the race.
It was really challenging out there today – for everyone I think – but also a lot of fun. The track feels more like a go kart track in the slow areas! It’s crazy how slippery it is. Because we’re so high up in terms of altitude, there’s even less grip than in Monza, so the car was just sliding around. Of course, this is also because the track is new, so there is no rubber on it yet. But it’s getting better and better the more we drive. It’s great to see how many people came out today. It has been really full out in the stands – especially for a Friday – which is really good to see!
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
It was an exciting day to go out for the first time on this new interpretation of a classic Grand Prix circuit. The first session started in damp conditions, so we ran the intermediate tyre to begin with, then we migrated to the dry tyres. The track was very slippery to start with, with the new asphalt inevitably smooth and also a little oily, which made it tricky to get temperature into the tyres. As we saw, the biggest drama in first practice came when Nico’s brakes caught fire, which meant we needed to change the brake ducts and calipers as a result. We made quite a few adjustments over the break and then had a more regular second session, looking at both types of tyre on low and high fuel loads. The circuit seems to have settled already, and we’re managing to get the tyres to work. It was fantastic to see so many fans out there today, on a Friday, and we’re looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere tomorrow.