F1 – Verstappen Tops Opening Practice For Mexico City Grand Prix, 0.095 Ahead Of Albon, Pérez Third

F1 – Verstappen Tops Opening Practice For Mexico City Grand Prix, 0.095 Ahead Of Albon, Pérez Third

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.

2023 FIA Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:19.718 29 194.365
2 Alexander Albon Williams 1:19.813 0.095 31 194.133
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:20.015 0.297 28 193.643
4 Lando Norris McLaren 1:20.237 0.519 30 193.107
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.297 0.579 30 192.963
6 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:20.463 0.745 32 192.565
7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:20.479 0.761 23 192.527
8 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri 1:20.568 0.850 30 192.314
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:20.677 0.959 26 192.054
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:20.687 0.969 26 192.030
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.724 1.006 25 191.942
12 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:20.968 1.250 29 191.364
13 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:21.129 1.411 27 190.984
14 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:21.157 1.439 30 190.918
15 Oliver Bearman Haas 1:21.313 1.595 31 190.552
16 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:21.347 1.629 17 190.472
17 Isack Hadjar AlphaTauri 1:21.941 2.223 25 189.092
18 Jack Doohan Alpine 1:22.109 2.391 25 188.705
19 Frederik Vesti Mercedes 1:22.937 3.219 26 186.821
20 Théo Pourchaire Alfa Romeo – 4

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