Red Bull drivers in surprising agreement after contrasting Mexico City GP starts

Max Verstappen topped both practice sessions on Friday at the 2023 Mexico City GP

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Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were positive after Friday practice for the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix, despite a consistent three-tenth gap across the two sessions.

Verstappen topped both FP1 and FP2 but a combined four different other drivers finished ahead of Perez, who struggled to unleash the Red Bull‘s full potential at his home race.

Lando Norris looked to be the closest challenger to Verstappen, running a tenth behind in FP2, despite predictions that McLaren would take a step back at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“They have been close for a few races now, so for me there’s no surprise there,” Verstappen told the media. “Tomorrow is going to be incredibly competitive over one lap and the race pace again that’s a different story.

“Of course we look competitive, so that’s good. There are always a few things to still improve but overall, a positive start to the weekend – probably a little better than I expected so that’s always good.

“The track is very slippery, like always, tyres are very difficult to manage as well on the long run, so there are still a few things we can work on.”

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and Max Verstappen ahead of 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix practice | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Perez: You forget where you are despite home fans

Sergio Perez has the chance to become the first Mexican driver to win a grand prix on home soil, but will need to find something extra in FP3 if he is to challenge Verstappen.

Despite Norris‘ pace, the RB19 looks clearly the fastest car in Mexico City and if crowds counted for horsepower, Perez would win the grand prix at a canter.

He picked up a memorable home podium in 2022, but Perez seemed optimistic he can improve on that result 12 months on.

“It’s funny because when you are in the car you forget where you are but as soon as you are out, there’s a lot of attention. It’s good to have so much support from all the fans,” Perez added.

“We didn’t have a straightforward day, we didn’t get a good read on the soft over a single lap. I had a yellow flag on my lap, I ended up doing it on the second timed lap so not very straightforward, there’s plenty of things to understand.

“We also went with different compounds to understand them for Sunday. Overall, we are looking in a good position. We have a good direction that we need to take.

“My lap wasn’t really tidy. I nearly went off in the final corner, so there is good potential and things are looking good. As we know, tomorrow is going to be really tight.”

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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