Mexican GP: Hamilton leads Leclerc by 0.1s in FP1

Lewis Hamilton edged a three-team battle in opening practice for Formula 1's Mexican Grand Prix, although Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was just a tenth slower despite eschewing soft tyres.

Mexican GP: Hamilton leads Leclerc by 0.1s in FP1

Heavy rain on Thursday evening led to a damp Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit at the start of FP1, with initial installation laps completed on intermediate tyres.

The low-grip surface plagued several drivers but already in the first half of the 90-minute session there were hints of a close three-way fight in Mexico.

Leclerc set the pace initially on a 1m18.949s, with Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen within a tenth of the Ferrari – although Verstappen used soft tyres to hold that position.

Alex Albon and Valtteri Bottas jumped to first and second when the second batch of soft-tyre runs started, Albon dipping below the 1m18s barrier in his Red Bull.

Further improvements were halted for a while when Lance Stroll hit the wall in his Racing Point at the end of what would have been a personal best lap.

Stroll lost the rear of his car entering the tight right-hander before the start-finish straight, and although he was able to get going and return to the pits the session was red-flagged so the barriers on the outside could be reconstructed.

Read Also:

Running resumed with just over 20 minutes of the session remaining, and teams wasted little time improving.

Hamilton jumped to top with a 1m17.327s, while Verstappen was just 0.15s off in a much fairer comparison of the two teams than the first runs.

However, Leclerc remained the outlier in the session by continuing with the medium-compound tyre and putting his Ferrari second fastest.

Verstappen made a minor improvement on a later lap but still fell 0.015s adrift of Leclerc, who in turn was 0.119s slower than Hamilton.

Albon and Bottas slipped to fourth and fifth respectively, although Bottas did trim a few hundredths off his personal best.

Sebastian Vettel was sixth, 0.891s slower than Hamilton but on medium tyres like Leclerc.

Vettel's session included a messy traffic jam as he prepared for a flying lap after Stroll's red flag.

The four-time world champion decried encountering a "mess" in the final sector as a Haas, Renault and Verstappen all navigated the stadium section ultra-slowly to maintain track position at the end of their out-lap.

Verstappen was irritated by Vettel's behaviour as the German attempted to pass the slow-moving cars, getting ahead of the Renault but failing to pass Verstappen who in turn was blocked by the Haas at the final corner.

"What the f*** is Sebastian doing? Everybody is waiting and he tries to go by," Verstappen reported to his team over the radio.

Carlos Sainz switched from medium tyres to softs to climb to seventh in his McLaren, ahead of the impressively-placed, medium-shod Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.

Antonio Giovinazzi completed the top 10 in his Alfa Romeo.

At the back of the field, Formula 2 race winner Nicholas Latifi replaced Robert Kubica for his latest FP1 outing at Williams.

Latifi was slowest of the 20 drivers, 4.2s off the pace and a second behind teammate George Russell, who ended the session 19th.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 25 01'17.327
2 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 23 01'17.446 00.119
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 17 01'17.461 00.134
4 Thailand Alex Albon
Red Bull 21 01'17.949 00.622
5 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 25 01'18.005 00.678
6 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 20 01'18.218 00.891
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 21 01'18.401 01.074
8 France Pierre Gasly
Toro Rosso 23 01'18.593 01.266
9 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 27 01'18.835 01.508
10 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 22 01'18.959 01.632
11 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 22 01'19.011 01.684
12 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 22 01'19.013 01.686
13 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 22 01'19.205 01.878
14 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 23 01'19.299 01.972
15 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 23 01'19.499 02.172
16 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 21 01'19.679 02.352
17 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 23 01'19.717 02.390
18 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 22 01'19.850 02.523
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 26 01'20.548 03.221
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 30 01'21.566 04.239
shares
comments
Tech insight: How Red Bull is staying cool in Mexico
Previous article

Tech insight: How Red Bull is staying cool in Mexico

Next article

Renault to consider F1 future as part of "deep review"

Renault to consider F1 future as part of "deep review"
Load comments
Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage Prime

Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage

OPINION: The fight for the 2022 Formula 1 world titles between Red Bull and Ferrari so far features little of the public animosity that developed between the former and Mercedes last year. But that isn’t to say things are full on friendly or won’t get much worse very quickly…

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Prime

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Formula 1
May 16, 2022
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Prime

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells Oleg Karpov how close Haas came to the abyss.

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Prime

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022
Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives Prime

Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives

Formula 1 lost one of its brightest stars when Gilles Villeneuve was killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Forty years on, Motorsport.com picks out the greatest drives by a Ferrari legend

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat Prime

The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat

OPINION: Much was made of Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix – what turned out to be a very ‘marmite’ event for both those in attendance and everyone following on TV. But even as the on-track battle between Red Bull and Ferrari it produced continued the negative run of results for the red team, it contained a glimmer it must hope continues to shine

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge Prime

How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge

OPINION: Despite all of the stylistic embellishments festooning Formula 1's inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Miami International Autodrome offered the drivers a unique challenge and punished driver errors; a stark contrast to the usual cast of modern-day circuits

Formula 1
May 10, 2022