Just 0.095 seconds separated Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Williams’ Alex Albon in first practice in Mexico City; Sergio Perez third favorite, with Lewis Hamilton in 11th after a mistake on his last leg immediately; watch Practice Two live on Sky Sports F1 at 11pm
Author James Galloway, Senior Sports Journalist
21:40, UK, Friday 27 October 2023
Williams’ Alex Albon made an impressive start to last weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix to run close to Max Verstappen in Practice One at the Atmospheric Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Verstappen began the weekend where he can claim his 16th win of the season by setting the fastest time in the first hour of practice, 1:19.718.
But Albon finished just 0.095s behind to split the Red Bulls, with pressure from Sergio Perez from last week’s home run confidently taking third place in a good time 0.297 respectable behind his teammate.
McLaren in form Lando Norris was fourth, half a second back to Verstappen, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fifth.
Lewis Hamilton, who believes that Mercedes can challenge Verstappen for a second consecutive race now, had a slow start to the weekend as the team tested things.
The seven-time champion finished one second from 11th place, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the seven-time champion would have finished last but for his mistake.
“It’s an exciting part for us,” Wolff said Sky Sports F1. “We went through a lot of testing at the start, which isn’t ideal for a break but it was important. A lot of height measurements and board wear.
“It was a good session. Lewis made a mistake on his fast nose and would have been close to P2 or P3, so that’s good.”
Second practice follows on Sky Sports F1 at 11pm on Friday night.
Pirelli also conducted their tests with development tires during the session, which all cars had to test. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri set his best time in the practice session and was sixth fastest.
Carlos Sainz suffered a breakdown in the second Ferrari, which suffered early hydraulics problems and needed more time in the garage. The Spaniard, who suffered a slight setback at the start of the session, recovered to set seventh time ahead of AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
Britain’s Bearman shines as rookies get rare F1 chance to impress
Under the rookie driving rules, which mandate that teams hold two practice sessions per season for drivers with fewer than three races, the top five drivers were given the fastest time in Practice One.
Ferrari’s British teammate Oliver Bearman made his first P1 with Haas and the 18-year-old impressed with five inexperienced racers. A late move took the Formula 2 champion down to 15th, 0.3 slower than Nico Hulkenberg in the sister car.
But it was a tough second exit at the top level for F2 championship leader Theo Pourchaire, who was unable to finish his time due to an Alfa Romeo problem.
Red Bull’s Isack Hadjar took his AlphaTauri to 17th place, with Alpine’s Jack Doohan a little slower in 18th. Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti was 19th fastest in George Russell’s Mercedes.
“It was a baptism of fire for a lot of them,” he said Sky Sports F1 images Martin Brundle. “They were pushing hard.
“I don’t think it did him any good in the end, but I admired his spirit. It’s really important for young drivers to get this knowledge.”
Mexico City GP Learn One Time
|1. Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:19.718|
|2. Alex Albon||Williams||+ 0.095|
|3. Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.297|
|4. Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.519|
|5. Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.579|
|6. Oscar Piastri||McLaren||+ 0.745|
|7. Carlos Sanz||Ferrari||+ 0.761|
|8. Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||+ 0.850|
|9. Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.959|
|10. Lance Travel||Aston Martin||+ 0.969|
|11. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 1.006|
|12. Nico Hulkenberg||No||+ 1.250|
|13. Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.411|
|14. Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 1.439|
|15. Oliver Bearman||No||+ 1.595|
|16. Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+ 1.629|
|17. Isaac Hadjar||AlphaTauri||+ 2.223|
|18. Jack Doohan||Alpine||+ 2.391|
|19. Frederick West||Mercedes||+ 3.219|
|20. Theo Pourchaire||Alfa Romeo||There is no set time|
Time to watch the Mexico City GP live on Sky Sports F1
8:45pm: F1 show
10:45pm: Mexico City GP Practice Two (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
6.15pm: Mexico City GP Third Practice
9pm: Qualifying preparation for the Mexico City GP (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
10pm: Mexico City GP Qualifying (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
6.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Mexico City GP construction (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
8pm: MEXICO CITY GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
10pm: Checkered flag: Mexico City GP
F1 is in Mexico for the title of Central America three times. Watch the full Mexico City Grand Prix on Sky Sports F1 from Friday, with Sunday’s race at 8pm. Watch F1 on Sky Sports NOW