Teams' reactions after the opening day in Mexico City

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The fight between Red Bull and Mercedes was expected to continue at the Mexico City Grand Prix, and the opening day did not show any reasons why the intensity would decrease at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The Anglo-German outfit dictated the early pace in the first session, but the Anglo-Austrian squad regained its form in the afternoon to lead the way in Free Practice 2.


Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:19.667, P8; FP2: 1:18.605, P7

"It’s great to be back in Mexico City! The atmosphere here is amazing as always. Even before arriving at the track, it’s really impressive to see so many fans around town and we really appreciate everyone’s support.

"Our sessions today were quite different. In the morning, there was a lot of dust on the track, which made it quite slippery and tricky to drive, especially in terms of braking.

"The track evolution was significant between FP1 and FP2. Lap after lap, you could feel that you are getting faster. It’s still difficult to compare ourselves to the others and understand exactly where we are. For tomorrow, we just have to focus on putting together the best lap we can and then I am confident that we have the potential to do a good job this weekend."

Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:19.463, P6; FP2: 1:18.318, P5

"A challenging Friday as always here in Mexico, where the lack of grip affects the behaviour of the car a lot. We tried some changes from FP1 to FP2 which didn’t seem to work, so we came back to this morning’s set-up during the session to try and replicate the balance I had in FP1 when I was happier with it.

"Tomorrow we’ll try other alternatives to see if we can keep finding lap time and improve the overall performance of the car. Some of our competitors look very quick so it’s going to be a tight fight. Whenever I switch off the engine, I can hear the fans shouting loud in the grandstands. It’s been great to see so many Ferrari flags out there here in Mexico. We feel the support and we will try to put together a good weekend for everyone watching!"

Red Bull

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:18.464, P3; FP2: 1:17.301, P1

“It was quite a good day for us as a team, of course we are always trying to improve and make the car better but overall, it’s looking pretty good. The track was very dirty in FP1 which made it quite difficult for us but FP2 was much better. It’s always difficult to know how we are going to perform in qualifying after Friday practice, and there are quite a few things to look at to improve performance. It’s been a positive start and we have a good feeling as a Team heading into the weekend.”

Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:18.610, P4; FP2: 1:17.871, P4

"I think we didn’t lose that much progress today, despite the shunt in FP1. It was a shame we damaged the car and we gave a little bit of extra work to the boys in the garage but other than that incident it was a positive day. I am feeling more comfortable on the long runs than over one lap, so I think there is still the potential to improve the car on the short runs. I have one more session to work on them and my target is to be on that front row tomorrow.

“The margins are going to be very close in qualifying to the Mercedes but hopefully we can lock out that front row. I don’t think it has been a representative day in terms of predicting qualifying, tomorrow everything will be even closer, and it will be interesting to see how we all line up. The fans have been incredible already, it is great to look around and have so much support here, everyone is being so enthusiastic and is pushing me to go faster. Every time I stop the car, I can hear the crowd and it’s only Friday!"


Lewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:18.417, P2; FP2: 1:17.810, P3

"The car's generally feeling okay and we've not had any major issues today - we're giving it everything we've got and Red Bull are just a bit quicker than us right now. We've been chipping away at the set up and trying to improve it, but you can see we are lacking a bit of overall downforce here and that shows in the lap times. It was great to see lots of people came out today, and I'm looking forward to continuing the battle this weekend."

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:18.341, P1; FP2: 1:17.725, P2

"It was a tricky start to the day with low-grip conditions and the dusty track. This made it hard to get a proper read on the car but nevertheless, it felt not too far off how it should be, and that mean we could fine-tune things for FP2. This afternoon, the car felt okay but there's still time we need to find because Red Bull look quick. They seem faster than us right now, and they showed strong pace on the soft tyre on a single lap, so we need to find more time if we want to fight for pole."


Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:18.985, P5; FP2: 1:18.429, P6

“I must say, I’m very happy with today. We’ve finished both sessions in the top six and there are lot of positives with the car so far, I think we can even find some more performance tomorrow. It’s really slippery out there, which doesn’t feel great, but we’re still very competitive, so I’m really pleased. Looking to the race, the tyres felt pretty good as well. We know that usually here in Mexico the track isn’t so tough on the Hards, especially compared to last time out in Austin, but we’re happy with the long-running we’ve done so far, which we now need to analyse ahead of Sunday.”

Yuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:20.011, P11; FP2: 1:18.644, P8

“I’m quite happy with today, I think the balance of the car has been good and we’ve shown strong pace straight from FP1. We’ve obviously got the penalty, which means that our approach to qualifying will be slightly different, but we’ve still collected a lot of important data for the engineers to analyse tonight. Mainly my focus is on the race, more so than the one lap pace for qualifying, so I’ve done a lot of long-running today and I feel comfortable in the car so far.”


Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:20.273, P14; FP2: 1:19.521, P15

“Unfortunately, we didn’t really get much done this afternoon. We had an issue in FP2, so we only completed the Hard run. These things happen, and we’ll just have to get into it tomorrow. We don’t have any time to waste so we’ll get amongst it. We’ve got a few challenges ahead but we’ll be alright. We got enough information from Lando today to be able to pick it up tomorrow.”

Lando Norris - FP1: 1:20.301, P15; FP2: 1:18.979, P12

“A difficult day as we struggled with the balance and the overall grip level. I think we’ve found some positives between FP1 and FP2. We can be confident we’re going to make some improvements into tomorrow and find a bit more lap time. It’s not easy, so we’ll work hard overnight and see what we can find.”

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:19.858, P10; FP2: 1:18.681, P9

“It was a decent start to the weekend and it was good fun, despite the dusty and slippery conditions. I felt happy in the car and we gradually worked through the programme and built up the knowledge of the tyres. It is difficult to know exactly where we stand because the track was constantly evolving and getting quicker and quicker throughout the day.

“I think we have made good progress, though, and I expect it to be very close in and around the top 10. As ever, we will aim to fight for Q3, but I think all the teams have more to extract, as do we. Let's see tomorrow.”

Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:20.030, P13; FP2: 1:19.730, P17

“As we are expecting to start towards the back of the grid due to power unit change penalties, the focus today was on the longer runs and race pace, so it was a different programme to usual. I think we have made some encouraging progress, but tonight we will go away and look into ways to improve the car. It was dusty on track early on, so FP3 tomorrow will be a useful session to learn more about the car. The goal is to make sure we are in a good place to fight our way through the field on Sunday.”


Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:19.759, P9; FP2: 1:19.431, P14

“Firstly, it’s nice to be back in Mexico as the last time I raced here was in 2018. On track, we had a productive day, which we can be pleased with. The track was quite dirty in the early running, but it improved as the day grew on. It’s a different challenge to the previous race with the conditions and other factors, but that’s something we enjoy as drivers as it’s about trying things to find a good set-up. We’ve made a solid start to the weekend, which we’re looking to build on. The car felt decent across both sessions and, as always, we have work to do overnight to keep improving.”

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:19.656, P7; FP2: 1:18.732, P10

“The circuit started with very low grip today because of the altitude and it was very dusty this morning too which made it feel slippery in parts of the track. The track evolution is huge which is quite obvious when you look at the times from the two practice sessions. This makes understanding any changes on the car between FP1 and FP2 very difficult.

“We have some work to do, but let’s see if we can find some solutions for tomorrow. It was good to be back to a relatively normal Friday for us, after a difficult one in Austin. It was also nice to see the passion of the fans here, it should be exciting tomorrow!”

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:20.026, P12; FP2: 1:18.841, P11 “A fairly regular Friday. Like every time we are in Mexico, the grip is not there on Friday: the track is very slippery and you’re not helped by the very little downforce you have, but it’s the same for everyone and we expect things to improve slightly tomorrow. I think we’re in a decent place with the set-up of the car, there’s nothing too urgent to address but, as always, we’ll need to squeeze some more speed out of the car overnight.”

Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:20.344, P16; FP2: 1:19.227, P13

“Friday in Mexico is never the easiest day, we were struggling with the grip overall, but I think it was mostly because the track was so green, especially in FP1. Unfortunately, I got traffic in my push lap in the qualifying simulation, so my times are not reflective of our performance.
“The race pace was not too bad, so we can be optimistic for the rest of the weekend: we are there, we will keep working tonight in order to have a better day tomorrow. The target is to do the maximum we can do which means Q3. The track will evolve a lot in the next sessions and then we can have a better lap time and a better result than today.”


Mick Schumacher – FP1: 1:22.144, P19; FP2: 1:19.620, P16

“Overall, it was positive. I think we solved the issues in FP2 that we had in FP1 and we can be happy with the day. We’ve learned a lot – the track is fun to drive – and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. It was better than I expected in terms of behavior of the car and that’s a very positive trait for today. There’s still more to come, hopefully, it’s all about trying to hit the right lap and be in the right spot at the right time.”

Nikita Mazepin – FP1: 1:22.819, P20; FP2: 1:21.581, P19

“It’s been tricky out there. It felt a little bit like a street circuit during FP1, with so much dust and my helmet was covered in it - I think I went through over 10 tear-offs which I’ve never done this season before. Apart from that, I’m getting to know Mexico – it’s a very low downforce circuit and we’re using our maximum downforce, which isn’t enough here. We knew what we were going into – I’ve watched a lot of onboards and listened to what the engineers have been told by other drivers. It’s what we expected but we still need to improve the balance and we’ll go from there tomorrow.”