Today’s free practice for the Mexico City Grand Prix turned out to be more complicated than expected for Scuderia Ferrari. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc topped the time sheet in the opening session. Then, in the second one, as was the case already in Austin, all the teams tested Pirelli’s 2023 tyres. Complicating matters was the fact that Charles spun off the track halfway through the session.
FP1. Carlos and Charles first went out on the Hard tyres, but the Monegasque had to pit immediately with a puncture. Sainz continued to gather data on the hardest compound, doing nine laps. Halfway through, Leclerc ran the Softs, topping the time sheet in 1’20”753, which was improved on by Sainz who did a 1’20”707. They both then did a long run, Leclerc on Softs, Sainz on Hards, completing a total of 20 and 25 laps respectively.
FP2. The second session ran for 90 minutes, but Charles only completed 40 of them, as he spun into the barrier at turn 7, at which point he had completed 13 laps with a best time of 1’21”618, good enough for seventh on the time sheet. His F1-75 sustained rear end damage, but none of the repairs involve taking penalties. Carlos worked through his planned programme, doing 34 laps as requested by F1’s sole tyre supplier. His best time was 1’21”693, making him eighth fastest.
FP3. Given how things went today, tomorrow’s third free practice session will be particularly important, as the track will be rubbered-in and therefore faster, which will allow the team to continue to work on set-up while Charles can once again get the feel for the car that he had in the first session. Practice gets underway at 12 local (19 CEST) with qualifying at 15 (22 CEST).
In general, it was a positive day here in Mexico. We completed the two sessions without any issues and managed to change the car quite a lot between the sessions to test different approaches. It’s not an easy circuit, we’re naturally lacking downforce here due to the altitude but we’re having fun out there. Thanks to all the Mexican fans for their great support! It’s always impressive to drive through the arena zone and hear them cheer! We’ll try to put on a good show for everyone this weekend.
‘Not the best of Fridays, as we didn’t complete a great number of laps. Unfortunately, we had a puncture straight out of the box in FP1, so we had to pit and did just a few laps on the Soft tyres after that. In FP2, we completed some short runs. When we started with the long runs, I spun which ended my session. I don’t expect it to affect the rest of the weekend in any way and I am confident that we will have a good day tomorrow, as the feeling in the car is good.’