Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) set the best time in the first free practice session of the Mexican Grand Prix, 19th round of 22 of the Formula 1 World Championship, Friday at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez (4.304 km) in Mexico. The triple world champion, insatiable and in search of the record for victories over a season this weekend, was the fastest but did not fly through the session either since the Thai Alex Albon, surprising second at the wheel of his Williams, only points to 95 thousandths.
In front of tens of thousands of very enthusiastic fans who booed Verstappen, the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) took third place, 297 thousandths behind his teammate. The Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) and the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) achieved the fourth and fifth fastest times, more than half a second behind the Dutchman. Australian Oscar Piastri (McLaren) is in sixth place, just ahead of the second Ferrari of Spaniard Carlos Sainz. The Top 10 is completed by Australian Daniel Ricciardo (AlphaTauri), Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), while seven-time British world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) finished 11th.
This session was marked by the presence on track of five young drivers, whom the teams must run in free practice during the season to comply with the regulations. Among these “rookies” were two Frenchmen: Théo Pourchaire, leader of the Formula 2 world championship before the last round, for Alfa-Romeo and Isack Hadjar, delighted after achieving the 17th time with his AlphaTauri: “It’s the most beautiful day of my life, it was incredible,” he told his team on the radio.
“It was crazy, from the first lap, it was going too fast. I managed to get used to it quite quickly and I think I did a good job even if I didn't manage to push all the way,” he added at the microphone of Canal. A member of the Red Bull academy, Hadjar will also drive the RB19, the world champion car, in the final GP of the season in Abu Dhabi. Pourchaire, on the other hand, was not so lucky because he was only able to complete four laps and none timed due to brake problems on his car.
First free practice session:
Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:19.718 (29 tours)
Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes) 1:19.813 (31)
Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) 1:20.015 (28)
Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:20.237 (30)
Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:20.297 (30)
Oscar Piastri (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:20.463 (32)
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 1:20.479 (23)
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1:20.568 (30)
Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:20.677 (26)
Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:20.687 (26)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:20.724 (25)
Nico Hülkenberg (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1:20.968 (29)
Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:21.129 (27)
Logan Sargeant (USA/Williams-Mercedes) 1:21.157 (30)
Oliver Bearman (GBR/Haas-Ferrari) 1:21.313 (31)
Fernando Alonso (ESP/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:21.347 (17)
Isack Hadjar (FRA/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1:21.941 (25)
Jack Doohan (AUS/Alpine-Renault) 1:22.109 (25)
Frederik Vesti (DEN/Mercedes) 1:22.937 (26)
Théo Pourchaire (FRA/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 0.000 (4)