Both Mercedes In Top 3 On Day 1

2021 Mexican Grand Prix, Friday - Valtteri Bottas
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Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished free practice in the top three as they worked to adapt the W12 to the Mexico City circuit.

Track conditions improved rapidly through FP1, with lap times falling by over three seconds on the dusty track surface.

Both drivers ran Soft tyres through the morning sessions, working on set-up and calibrations to optimise the package for the unusual high-altitude conditions in Mexico City.

Each driver used a set of Hard and a set of Soft this afternoon, completing a mix of short runs and high-fuel race preparation, with further work to be done overnight to improve the balance around the lap.

Valtteri Bottas

‘It was a tricky start to the day with low-grip conditions and the dusty track. This made it hard to get a proper read on the car but nevertheless, it felt not too far off how it should be, and that mean we could fine-tune things for FP2. This afternoon, the car felt okay but there’s still time we need to find because Red Bull look quick. They seem faster than us right now, and they showed strong pace on the Soft tyre on a single lap, so we need to find more time if we want to fight for pole.’

Lewis Hamilton

‘The car’s generally feeling okay and we’ve not had any major issues today – we’re giving it everything we’ve got and Red Bull are just a bit quicker than us right now. We’ve been chipping away at the set-up and trying to improve it, but you can see we are lacking a bit of overall downforce here and that shows in the lap times. It was great to see lots of people came out today, and I’m looking forward to continuing the battle this weekend.’

Andrew Shovlin

‘We’ve had a reasonable day, the first session was a bit cleaner than the second but the car and power unit seemed to be coping well with the altitude. We’ve stayed very much focused on our own programme for single lap and long run. It’s clear there is a bit of time to find to Max on the single lap but we’ve got a few balance issues to fix so hopefully we can close that gap a little. The long run picture is a bit tricky because we were on different tyres to our competition but the balance is reasonable and the hard tyre seemed to be working nicely. We didn’t come here expecting it to be easy and there is clearly a bit that we need to work on but compared to some of our Mexico Fridays, we’ve got off to a decent start.’

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