Mexican GP: Bottas leads Hamilton by 0.076s in FP1

Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes 1-2 in FP1 for Formula 1's 2021 Mexican Grand Prix, with championship leader Max Verstappen third for Red Bull.

Mexican GP: Bottas leads Hamilton by 0.076s in FP1

Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez, missed much of the one-hour session after crashing at the Peraltada corner in the early stages and breaking his rear wing, just as Ferrari's Charles Leclerc had done likewise.

The early running at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez featured considerable levels of dust as the cars swept the track surface, with drivers pointing out the reduced visibility over their team radios.

The teams were rather split on their tyre usage during the early stages – with the Mercedes cars using the soft compound and Red Bull sending its drivers out in the hards – while other drivers ran the mediums.

Kimi Raikkonen had led the field out of the pits and he set the first place benchmark at 1m30.060s on the hards, which was quickly dropped considerably.

Mick Schumacher, Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris all shuffled Raikkonen down the order as they enjoyed brief spells at the top spot on the medium, hard and soft tyres respectively, before Bottas posted a 1m21.327s at the end of the opening five minutes.

Perez then put Red Bull on top with a 1m21.301s on the much harder rubber, before Bottas replied shortly afterwards with a 1m20.459s.

At the 10-minute mark, Leclerc and Perez both had crashes at the penultimate corner exiting the stadium section, with the session suspended by a virtual safety car activation to allow the debris from their separate incidents to be cleared.

Leclerc lose the rear of his SF21 when he touched the outside kerb at the start of the Peraltada corner and it swung around to the right, which meant he slid off backwards and low speed and hit the barriers, breaking his rear wing endplates.

Perez had higher speed off after he too turned in from on the kerbs, but as he caught his oversteer snap his RB16B snapped and second time, left, and he spun around rapidly, ripping his rear wing half off in the ensuing accident.

Both drivers recovered to the pits where their cars spent nearly half the session undergoing repairs.

On track, just after Pierre Gasly took the top spot on the softs with a 1m20.316s at the 15-minute mark, Hamilton had a right front lock-up approaching the first corner and he went deep onto the runoff and the grass behind Turn 2.

He cut across the grass but did not go to the left of the bollard on the apex of Turn 2, per race director Michael Masi's event note requirements, and so his actions will be investigated now FP1 has finished.

After his off, Hamilton swapped then best times at the head of the order with Verstappen, the Dutchman bettering Gasly's time with a 1m20.214s while still using the hards with 20 minutes gone.

Hamilton, still on the softs, then posted a 1m20.085s, to which Verstappen responded with a 1m19.826s five minutes later and then the world champion stole ahead again on a 1m19.781s.

After a brief lull in action around the halfway point, all the cars switched to the softs (some went back to the hards in the concluding stages of FP1) for a series of qualifying simulation runs.

Carlos Sainz went quickest for Ferrari with a 1m19.470s before Bottas used his new softs to go back to first place on a 1m18.834s, with Verstappen moving back ahead a just before the 40-minute mark with a 1m18.464s.

After Perez and Leclerc returned to the track following their repairs in the following minutes, Bottas went for another run and posted what would be the session's fastest time – a 1m18.341s.

With just over 10 minutes remaining, Hamilton slotted into second, 0.076s slower than Bottas, with Verstappen shuffled down to third, 0.123s adrift.

Perez worked his way up to fourth by the end of the session, the local hero still visibly struggling with oversteer in the closing minutes, with Gasly fifth ahead of Sainz and Fernando Alonso.

Leclerc ended up eighth ahead of Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel, who rounded out the top 10.

Raikkonen finished 12th and is also be investigated by the stewards for failing to go around the Turn 2 bollard during an off-track excursion.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 28 1'18.341
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 24 1'18.417 0.076
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 28 1'18.464 0.123
4 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 20 1'18.610 0.269
5 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 23 1'18.985 0.644
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 26 1'19.463 1.122
7 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 26 1'19.656 1.315
8 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 20 1'19.667 1.326
9 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 20 1'19.759 1.418
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 27 1'19.858 1.517
11 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 30 1'20.011 1.670
12 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 26 1'20.026 1.685
13 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 27 1'20.030 1.689
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 25 1'20.273 1.932
15 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 26 1'20.301 1.960
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 27 1'20.344 2.003
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 23 1'20.517 2.176
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 23 1'21.580 3.239
19 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 27 1'22.144 3.803
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 24 1'22.819 4.478
shares
comments

Related video

Tsunoda, Stroll set for F1 grid penalties after engine changes
Previous article

Tsunoda, Stroll set for F1 grid penalties after engine changes

Next article

Hamilton handed reprimand for Mexico FP1 track limits breach

Hamilton handed reprimand for Mexico FP1 track limits breach
Load comments
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022