Verstappen tops FP1 at 2023 Mexico City GP, Mercedes bide time

Max Verstappen led Alex Albon and Sergio Perez in FP1 at the 2023 Mexico City GP

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Max Verstappen topped FP1 at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix with Red Bull looking the dominant force at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Sergio Perez was third and three-tenths behind his teammate.

Alex Albon was the surprise package of the session, consistently around the top of the timesheets before eventually finishing second from his soft-tyre run at just nine-hundredths of a second behind former teammate Verstappen.

Aside from Albon, no driver got within half a second of Red Bull with Lando Norris sat fourth – Mexico City will become Verstappen‘s most successful track if he takes victory on Sunday.

Perez and Norris even had a moment battling each other on the run to turn four, both with DRS open as they ran side-by-side before the Red Bull belated got out of the Brit’s way.

F2 championship leader Theo Pourchaire had a frustrating session stepping in for Valtteri Bottas though, unable to set a time due to a pedal issue with the Alfa Romeo‘s brake-by-wire system.

Charles Leclerc split the two McLarens with Oscar Piastri sixth but setting his best time on the prototype Pirelli tyres he was testing, with Carlos Sainz next at over three-quarters of a second behind Verstappen after a hydraulics issue early on.

Mercedes focussed on long runs with Lewis Hamilton out of the top 10, which was completed by the high-flying Daniel Ricciardo plus Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll.

Bearman best, Pourchaire problems

Theo Pourchaire on media duty ahead of the 2022 F1 United States Grand Prix. Credit: @Alfa Romeo F1 Press Office

Oliver Bearman was looking fantastic for Haas on his first lap on the soft tyres before he made an error that ruined the run, the quickest rubber only looks good for one or two push laps.

However, he pulled a lap out of the bag late-on to go 15th – ahead of Fernando Alonso – and less than three tenths behind Nico Hulkenberg.

Isack Hadjar appeared with plenty of flow-vis paint on his AlphaTauri earlier on in the session, but that didn’t seem to slow him down as he finished 17th and was the best of the F2 rookies before Bearman‘s last run.

“Best day of my life mate, absolutely incredible!”

Isack Hadjar’s team radio after the session.

He’s a lowly 14th in the championship – the worst of the five on show – and was over two seconds behind Verstappen, 1.4 behind teammate Ricciardo. They were followed by Alpine‘s Jack Doohan and MercedesFrederik Vesti, with no driver truly standing out.

Pourchaire was the big loser of the session though, he did make it out of the pitlane but was unable to set a competitive time before his car was spotted being disassembled in the garage.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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