Mercedes’ George Russell emerged fastest in Friday Practice for 2022 Mexico City Grand Prix, on a day which saw teams once again conduct Pirelli tyre testing in FP2.
A frantic FP1 session saw several teams cram their Friday running into 60 minutes due to a Pirelli tyre test in an extended 90 minute FP2, whilst five teams opted to run a FP1 rookie in a session where reliability proved a challenge for some more than others.
Once the checkered flag fell at conclusion of FP2, Russell emerged fastest with the quickest overall time across both sessions on a day which saw various red flags.
Now, here is a full roundup of FP1 and FP2 action.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was first out on track but it was Max Verstappen who quickly set the pace as everyone focused on hard tyre running in the opening stint, with the Dutchman briefly knocked off top spot by Red Bull teammate – Sergio Perez with 1m 22.702 in the ninth minute.
Verstappen responded just one minute later with 1m 22.191 and remained unbeaten throughout the opening 24 minutes, until drivers began to conduct soft-tyre running as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc went top with 1m 21.546 in the 25th minute.
Leclerc minutes later lowered his benchmark time to 1m 20.753 ahead of Valtteri Bottas then Lando Norris followed by Fernando Alonso, in the following minutes until Carlos Sainz popped up with 1m 20.707 in the 33rd minute to go top.
Verstappen meanwhile suffered a spin through Turns Seven and Eight after accidentally clipping a kerb through that fast-flowing section, which ruined his first set of soft tyres.
Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou then stalled at the pit exit in the 35th minute with “upshift” difficulty and had to be wheeled back towards his pit box, but he was able to eventually get back out onto the track.
Haas’ FP1 driver, Pietro Fittipaldi – driving Kevin Magnussen’s Haas – then caused a red flag three minutes later as he stopped at Turn Two on an outlap, due to power unit issues which curtailed his session early.
The session resumed six minutes later with Vettel first out on track but there weren’t many improvements as Lewis Hamilton improved to fifth on his soft-tyre flying lap.
In the end, Sainz emerged fastest ahead of Leclerc and Perez – although Perez only finished ahead of Verstappen by virtue of setting his fastest lap first – as the Red Bull pair both posted 1m 20.827 as their quickest lap time in FP1.
The session though was curtailed early due to a second red flag after AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson suffered a brake fire going through the Stadium section of Turns 12 – 15, with just four minutes left on the clock.
Jack Doohan’s FP1 debut for Alpine was also curtailed early due to power unit issues, which necessitated a change of power unit ahead of Esteban Ocon’s return to the cockpit in FP2.
Lawson however finished quickest out of the five rookie FP1 drivers as he headed; Logan Sargeant, Nyck De Vries, Doohan and Fittipaldi – who all like Lawson set their quickest time on the hard tyre, unlike the regular drivers who all set their fastest laps on the faster soft tyre.
|1||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||1m 20.707|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.046|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.120|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.120|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.142|
|6||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 0.192|
|7||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.376|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.413|
|9||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.603|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.818|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.055|
|12||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.113|
|13||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.158|
|14||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 1.245|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.205|
|16||Liam Lawson||AlphaTauri||+ 3.154|
|17||Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 3.539|
|18||Nyck De Vries||Mercedes||+ 3.875|
|19||Jack Doohan||Alpine||+ 3.908|
|20||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas||+ 6.059|
Like in Austin, Texas, USA, FP2 was handed over to Pirelli for a tyre test with the 15 regular drivers who ran in FP1 forced to run a strict testing programme, whilst George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Alex Albon got 45 minutes on current tyres due to skipping FP1.
Once the pit exit went green, several cars quickly filed out to commence their prototype tyre tests for Pirelli, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly surprisingly setting the initial pace on 1m 22.186 ahead of Verstappen by 0.049 seconds.
Sainz then went fastest with 1m 21.943 in the sixth minute but was soon displaced by Russell and Tsunoda, who were then displaced by Verstappen who posted 1m 21.588 to go top in the 14th minute, only to be displaced by Perez just minutes later as the Mexican posted 1m 21.579 to go top by 0.009s.
Russell eventually set the fastest time of FP2 in the 20th minute as he posted 1m 19.970 to go top on soft tyres, where he wasn’t displaced, despite setting his fastest second and third sector times on a slower lap five minutes later.
Tsunoda and Ocon rounded out the top three in second and third after they too ran the soft tyres as did Albon, who could only manage to finish 13th fastest on his soft-tyre flying lap whilst everyone else set their fastest lap on the prototype tyre.
Leclerc meanwhile caused a 20 minute red flag after he lost the rear of his Ferrari on entry to Turn Seven and spun heavily into the barriers backwards, which curtailed his running.
The session was curtailed with two minutes left after Zhou grinded to a halt near the Peraltada due to a hydraulics failure on his Alfa Romeo car.
|1||George Russell||Mercedes||1m 19.970|
|2||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.828|
|3||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.207|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 1.539|
|5||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.609|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1.618|
|7||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.648|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.723|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.023|
|10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 2.134|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 2.367|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 2.401|
|13||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 2.477|
|14||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 2.768|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 2.793|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 2.870|
|17||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.909|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 3.346|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 3.350|
|20||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 3.399|