Mexico, FP1: Verstappen tops opening practice for Mexico City Grand Prix

0.095 ahead of Albon, Pérez third


By Franck Drui

27 October 2023 - 21:52
Mexico, FP1: Verstappen tops opening

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen topped the timesheet in the opening practice session for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix, beating Williams’ Alex Albon by less than a tenth of a second, as local hero Sergio Pérez finished third.

When the driver made the switch to Soft compound Pirelli tyres a little over half way through the session, McLaren’s Lando Norris jumped top of the order with a lap of 1:20.237. Verstappen responded, however, posting a best lap of 1:19.718 to go comfortably clear at the top. Albon then set the best first sector and though he lost time in the final part of the lap the Williams driver got to within a tenth of the three-time champion thanks to a lap of 1:19.813.

Third place in the session went to Pérez who climbed up the order with a lap of 1:20.015 set a little over a quarter of an hour before the flag. That left the Mexican racer 0.297 off his team-mate.

Pérez’s improvement left Norris with P4, 0.519 off Verstappen, while Charles Leclerc took sixth for Ferrari six hundredths of a second behind the McLaren driver.

Norris’ team-mate Oscar Piastri finished sixth, 0.745s, off top spot, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz seventh after suffering a problem with hydraulic pressure early in the session. Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for AlphaTauri ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, with Lance Stroll 10th for Aston Martin.

In a busy session, the bulk of the field spent the first part of the hours running Pirelli’s prototype C4 tyre before then moving to regular race weekend compounds. Piastri, though, delayed his prototype tyres runs until later in the session and set his best time on the test tyre.

The session was also notable for a number of young drivers getting a taste of Fornula 1 machinery. Oliver Bearman took Kevin Magnussen’s seat at Haas in FP1 and the Ferrari junior claimed the 15th-fastest time in his first F1 outing. Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar made his F1 weekend debut with AlphaTauri in place of Yuki Tsunoda and the French driver finished in P17. Tsunoda, meanwhile, is set to receive a grid penalty for Sunday’s race having taken a fifth gearbox and a new set of power unit components.

Jack Doohan, driving in place of Pierre Gasly at Alpine, finished 18th ahead of Mercedes’ junior Frederik Vesti, who took George Russell’s seat for FP1.

There was disappointment for current FIA Formula 1 Championship leader Théo Pourchaire however. Standing in for Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo, Pourchaire suffered brake-by-wire problems early in the session and did not post a lap time.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:19.718 29
02 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:19.813 31
03 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:20.015 28
04 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:20.237 30
05 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:20.297 30
06 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:20.463 32
07 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:20.479 23
08 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:20.568 30
09 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:20.677 26
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:20.687 26
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:20.724 25
12 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:20.968 29
13 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:21.129 27
14 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:21.157 30
15 Ollie Bearman Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:21.313 31
16 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:21.347 17
17 Isack Hadjar AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:21.941 25
18 Jack Doohan Alpine Renault A523 1:22.109 25
19 Frederik Vesti Mercedes W14 1:22.937 26
20 Théo Pourchaire Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 -:—.--- 4

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