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#1077 2022 Mexican Grand Prix

2022-03-05 00:00

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#2022, Fulvio Conti, Nicoletta Zuppardo, Barbara Otgianu, Martina Morabito, Gabriele Calari,

#1077 2022 Mexican Grand Prix

On October 30, 2022, Formula 1 will return to Mexico City, at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, to race the twentieth race of this championship: the M

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On October 30, 2022, Formula 1 will return to Mexico City, at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, to race the twentieth race of this championship: the Mexico City Grand Prix 2022. The circuit placed near Mexico City at a record altitude of 2253 metres is a great challenge for the drivers, as the thinner air and a limited use by other categories significantly decrease mechanical and aerodynamic grip. This year the challenge will be even bigger as the drivers will have to adapt to the new cars’ response to the track. One of the obligations the teams have to comply with is the participation of a young driver in the first free practice session of a racing weekend: this time, a whopping five will take the wheel of an F1 car, including Jack Doohan’s debut with Alpine. Monday, October 24, 2022, BWT Alpine F1 Team is pleased to confirm Alpine Academy Driver Jack Doohan will make his Grand Prix weekend debut at the Mexico City Grand Prix as the Australian takes over driving duties of the A522 in Friday’s Free Practice 1. Jack will drive Esteban Ocon’s A522 at the 4.304km Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico’s capital city for the duration of the one-hour practice as part of the two, mandatory, rookie practice obligations, where the Australian will also take the wheel at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It will be the 19-year-old’s second outing in contemporary machinery having driven the same car at the team’s 100km-restricted filming day in Monza in September. Adding to that experience, Jack has also tested last year’s race winning A521 throughout 2022 with private test days in Qatar in May, Monza in June and in Budapest last month. Jack joined the Alpine Academy in January after finishing runner-up in the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship. His rookie FIA Formula 2 campaign has seen him claim three race wins as well as a further three podiums and three pole positions with one round to go in Abu Dhabi in November where Jack has set his sights on claiming third, and top rookie, in the championship. In making his Grand Prix weekend debut, Jack, son of five-time 500cc motorcycle world champion Mick, will continue his family’s legacy on the international stage at the pinnacle of motorsport. Jack Doohan says: 

 

"I’m extremely grateful to Alpine for giving me this opportunity to drive in Free Practice in Mexico. It’s always a huge honour to be entrusted to drive a Formula 1 car, so to have the opportunity on a Grand Prix weekend is very special. Ultimately, the aim is to be doing this every week and this experience is another step closer to achieving that goal. I’ve prepared as best as I can, and I think it’s going to be very exciting to experience the car at this type of circuit with the high altitude and very high top speed. I’ll work hard on the day, do everything the team sets out and, at the same time, enjoy the moment as I know it’s going to be a unique opportunity".

Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine Team Principal, adds:

 

"We are very pleased to announce Jack will join the team in Mexico and take over driving duties for Free Practice 1. We have all been impressed with Jack’s progression across many areas this season and he’s deserving of this chance as we continue to nurture his high potential. It’s important to give our young drivers opportunities to test Formula 1 cars and our Academy programme has proven to be successful in doing just that. We expect Jack to work hard during the session and take as much as he can from the experience of being involved in a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend".

 
After announcing its entry into F1 from 2026, the German car manufacturer Audi choses the Swiss Alfa Romeo team as a partner. The Ingolstadt house acquires a stake in the Swiss group to create a strategic partnership. In the press release, Audi explains how the work will be divided between the two groups, with the technical partnership moving along the Hinwil-Neuburg axis between Switzerland and Germany. The powertrain will be created in Neuburg, while Sauber will develop and produce the car at its Hinwil plant. It will also be responsible for planning and executing tender operations. Furthermore, the car will actually run under the Audi banner, becoming to all intents and purposes the official team of the German brand. With around 30 years of competitive experience, Sauber is one of the most renowned and traditional teams in Formula 1. Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development at AUDI AG, says: 
 

"We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project. We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team".

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For example, Audi Sport has already regularly used the Sauber Group's high-tech wind tunnel in Hinwil, just under four hours away by car, during the successful Le Mans era and during the development of the Class 1 touring car for the DTM. Finn Rausing, Chairman of Sauber Holding, says: 

 

"Audi is the best partner for the Sauber Group. It is clear that both companies share the same values and vision. We are looking forward to achieving our common goals with a strong and successful partnership".

 

The development of the power unit, which consists of an electric motor, battery, control systems and a combustion engine, is already in full swing at the facility of the specially founded Audi Formula Racing GmbH in Neuburg an der Donau. More than 120 employees are already working on the project. Adam Baker, managing director of the company, says: 

 

"Sauber is a first-class partner for the use of the Audi Power Unit. We are looking forward to working with an experienced team that has helped shape many eras of Formula 1 history. Together, we want to write the next chapter starting in 2026".

 

The timetable up to the first race with Audi participation in the 2026 season is ambitious, as the expansion of the Neuburg facility in terms of personnel, buildings and technical infrastructure should be largely in place in 2023. The first tests with the power unit developed for the 2026 regulations in a Formula 1 test car are planned for 2025. Formula 1 is taking a big step towards sustainability with the new regulations that will come into effect from 2026. The power units will be more efficient than today, as the proportion of electric power will increase significantly. The electric drivetrain will then have nearly as much power as the internal combustion engine, which comes to 400 kW (544 hp). The highly efficient 1.6-liter turbocharged engines will be powered by sustainable synthetic fuel that is CO2-neutral (according to EU standards). Formula 1 has also set itself the goal of being CO2-neutral as a racing series by 2030. From a technical point of view, the Federation confirms the three zones for the use of the Drag Reduction System established in the first edition of the race when, with this denomination, the Grand Prix made its debut on the Formula 1 World Championship calendar.  The first and second zones are established, respectively, on the long pit straight and in the section between Turns 3 and 4, with a single detection point, fixed at the exit of Turn 15. The third zone is established between Turn 11 and Turn 12, with the detection point established after Turn 9. Compared to the 2021 edition, the mobile device activation point for the pit straight area has been moved from 323 meters after Turn 17 to 165 meters after it, as well as the activation point for the area between Turn 3 and Turn 4, from 116 meters after Turn 3 to 115 meters after it. The circuit, compared to the previous edition, has been subject to some changes. Between Turn 1 and Turn 2 the wall has been realigned parallel to the track. New curbs have been installed between Turns 1 and 4. The wall on the right at Turn 12 has been lengthened by three metres. Luminous panel number 1, placed at the level of the lap time measurement line on the finish line, has moved from the left to the right. Light panel number 4, located on the left at Turn 3, has been moved slightly further forward, as is light panel number 5, located between Turns 3 and 4.

 

The Federation also establishes that if a driver passes completely behind the red and white curb at the apex of Turn 11, he must rejoin the track keeping to the right of the first arrangement of polystyrene blocks and then completely to the left of the second polystyrene block parallel to the exit of the curve. If a driver does not go through Turn 4 correctly, he will be expected to use the escape route that leads back to the track before Turn 6. The Mexico Grand Prix represents the twentieth round of the season one week after the United States Grand Prix. For the ninth and penultimate time during the season, the world sees the dispute of a Grand Prix within a week of the other. Unlike the inaugural edition in November which was postponed due to the reduction of the number of races on the calendar, this one is run in October. After the dispute of the United States Grand Prix, the World Championship remains in North America for the fourth and last race to be held in October. The contract for the Mexico City Grand Prix in the Formula 1 World Championship calendar, always at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez, is valid until the end of this season, even if the Grand Prix has already been confirmed in the calendar and scheduled for 29th October 2023. For the second consecutive edition of the race, after the inaugural one in 2021, the race does not feature sponsorship in the official denomination, making it the third Grand Prix of the Championship, after those of Monaco and Azerbaijan, not to be the subject of a title sponsor. Talking about the history of this race, it is to underline that its debut was initially scheduled for the 2020 season, in November, but, due to the problems dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Formula 1 was unable to move overseas, forcing the Federation to cancel all the stages planned on the American soil, thus postponing its debut to the 2021 season. The denomination of this race, in the local language Gran Premio de la Ciudad de México, represents the forty-ninth different denomination used by the Federation for a Grand Prix on the World Championship calendar. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez, venue of the race, has already been the subject, on three different configurations, of twenty editions of the race, from 1963 to 1970, then from 1986 to 1992, and again from 2015 to 2019. The track configuration used is the one introduced in 2015.

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The circuit is located at 2,238 meters above sea level, at the highest altitude of all the tracks on the calendar, as well as being the second shortest behind the Monaco circuit. Mexico is among several nations to have hosted at least two Grands Prix on its territory, in addition to the one of the same name. Formula 1 celebrates 60 years in the country, with the first race, under the denomination of the Mexican Grand Prix, not valid as a round for the world championship, which took place in the 1962 season. The only edition of the race that was not run is that of the 2020 season, conditioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the Singapore Grand Prix, the Federation, releases a note stating that it has finalized the evaluation of the financial data of the previous Championship presented by all the Formula 1 teams. The alleged violations of the financial regulation, if any, are processed according to the formal process established by the regulation. According to the latest rumors, the Austrian team Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin would not have respected the budget cap set at 145 million dollars in 2021. The infringement by the Milton Keynes team is not serious and therefore it would be less than 5% of last season's available budget cap. The possible sanctions, therefore, do not go beyond a fine or a reduction of the funds available for next season. The Federation issues a statement acknowledging the unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture that has emerged in relation to the matter and reiterates that the assessment is ongoing and that due process is being followed without taking into account any external discussion. Before the dispute in the previous Japanese Grand Prix, a detailed report was expected from the world motoring body on any sanctions to be adopted. On the Wednesday before the Japanese race, previously scheduled as the one in which a detailed report on the team's expenses was to be published, the Federation communicates the postponement to Monday of the release of the certificates. The Federation reiterates for the second time that there is no truth to what has been leaked so far through the media, with any insinuation regarding the dissemination of confidential information by Federation personnel which is equally baseless. 
 
For the Federation it is the third postponement regarding the communications on the budget cap. The teams have been initially informed for 30 September 2022, to then be moved to 3 October 2022, then to 5 October 2022 and again to 10 October 2022. After the Japanese race, the world motoring body communicated that Red Bull Racing exceeds the spending ceiling by less than 5%, while for Aston Martin it is a procedural violation. Considering the 2021 budget cap set at $145 million, the 5% cap equates to a maximum of $7.25 million. The violation ascertained by Red Bull Racing is therefore less than 7.25 million dollars. Under the current legislation, procedural violations may result in fines or minor sporting penalties, in case of aggravating circumstances, as specified in the Financial Regulation. A minor spending violation can result in financial penalties or minor sports penalties. The Austrian team declare themselves surprised and disappointed. The team highlight that the document presented was within the limit imposed and that it will therefore proceed to a careful review, given that they remain convinced that the relevant costs were within the spending ceiling. The team finally explain that they will consider the options available to it, while respecting the regulatory procedure of the Federation. The British team McLaren write a letter of protest to the Federation. According to them, two million dollars represents a 25-50% improvement in the annual development budget for a car and therefore would have a significant positive and lasting benefit. Furthermore, the team believes that sporting sanctions should be provided for small breaches, equal to a 20% reduction in the time dedicated to the simulation and the wind tunnel. These should be applied the following year, to mitigate the unfair advantage the team enjoys. To prevent the teams from accumulating and benefiting from the multiplier effect of several minor capping breaches, McLaren suggest that a second minor capping breach automatically moves the team to a major capping breach. Red Bull Racing is reluctant to accept the settlement agreement with the Federation for minor violations in the spending limit for the 2021 season.
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The world motoring body wants an economic penalty consisting of a fine, or the reduction of an amount from the amount available in the next two years, together with the reduction of 500 hours in the wind tunnel of the 2.000 granted for the next two years. On the day of the US race, the Austrian team and the Federation agree on the sentence to be served which is both financial and sporting. The team keep intact the budget available in 2023 of 135 million dollars, but have fewer hours to devote to development in the wind tunnel and have to pay a fine. The agreement, in a definitive line, is made official before this appointment given the death of Dietrich Mateschitz, Austrian entrepreneur and co-founder of the well-known manufacturer of the energy drink Red Bull. The penalty imposed on Red Bull Racing concerns seven million dollars and a 10% reduction on the development time of the car for next season. The team were found to have breached its $ 145 million budget cap by approximately $2.2 million, a 1.6 percent overrun. The two sides have reached a sort of plea agreement. Aston Martin are instead fined $450.000 for procedural infractions. After the United States Grand Prix, Haas launch a protest against the car of the Alpine driver Fernando Alonso, for the loss of the right-hand mirror following the accident with Stroll in full straight, and against the car of the Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez, due to the front wing damaged after a contact with the Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas. Both protests are judged admissible and the two teams are summoned by the stewards. In the first case, considering the evidence provided, the protest is upheld and Alonso is penalized with a ten-second stop and go converted into a thirty-second penalty on the race time. The Spaniard, seventh on arrival, climbs to fifteenth position. In the second case, considering the evidence provided, the protest is rejected. Alpine launch a protest against the admissibility of that of Haas, which arrived 24 minutes after the maximum limit set for presenting disputes relating to the outcome of the Grand Prix. The two teams are convened by videoconference: if the protest will be admissible, the parties will be heard in a separate meeting. The stewards canceled the penalty inflicted on Alonso, restoring him to seventh place, as Haas's protest was not admissible and presented out of time.
 
Formula 1 has been denounced for having violated the guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), regarding the decision to award the Bahrain Grand Prix the longest contract in the history of the category, expiring in 2036. Back to Mexico, the Chinese driver of Alfa Romeo, Zhou Guanyu, races for the first time in his career at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez, while the Monegasque driver of Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, disputes the 100th Grand Prix in the category, after making his debut with the Swiss team Sauber in 2018. Leclerc, who moved to Ferrari in the following season, won five Grands Prix, obtained 23 podiums, 18 pole positions, seven fastest laps, 827 points, two hats tricks and a Grand Chelem, as well as being the first driver of Monegasque nationality to win a Grand Prix in Formula 1. His best result was fourth place in the drivers' standings of the 2019 season. The reserve driver for the U.S. Haas team, Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi, will take part in Friday's first free practice session in place of Canadian Kevin Magnussen, using the number 51. French Formula 2 driver for British team Carlin Motorsport, Logan Sargeant, and reserve driver for British stable Williams, will take the place of Canadian Alexander Albon, using the number 45, also in the same session. For Sargeant it is the second lineup in the season after taking part in the same session of the previous U.S. Grand Prix in place of Canadian Nicholas Latifi, using the same number. Another Formula 2 driver for British team UNI-Virtuosi, and reserve driver for French stable Alpine, Australian Jack Doohan, will take part in the same session in place of Esteban Ocon, making his debut in a Formula 1 Grand Prix race weekend, using the number 82. The other Formula 2 driver for the British team Carlin Motorsport, and reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri, New Zealander Liam Lawson, will also take part in the same session in place of the Japanese starting driver Yuki Tsunoda, using the number 40. For Lawson, it is the second lineup this season after he participated in the same session at the Belgian Grand Prix, also for AlphaTauri in place of Frenchman Pierre Gasly, using the same number. The reserve driver of 2020-2021 Formula E and 2019 Formula 2 champion Mercedes, Dutchman Nyck De Vries, will also take part in the session, replacing George Russell, using the number 19. For De Vries, it is his fourth lineup this season after making his debut in a Formula 1 race weekend during Friday's first free practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix, replacing Alexander Albon at Williams, where he used the number 45.
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He was fielded for the second time this season in place of Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in the first free practice session of the French Grand Prix, where he used the number 19. For the third time this season he was fielded by Aston Martin in the first free practice session of the Italian Grand Prix in place of German Sebastian Vettel, where he used the number 34. The five drivers are lined up according to the requirement in the sporting regulations valid from this season. The number of drivers participating in the session, as in the previous U.S. Grand Prix, is not the preserve of the starters, equaling the record set a week earlier. Starting with this Grand Prix, the Federation adopts a new procedure to determine if additional intermediate tires are made available. In a Grand Prix where the Sprint is scheduled, if neither the first free practice session nor qualifying are declared wet, the weather system in use provides a report to the race director no later than one hour after the end of the qualification tests. If this report indicates probability of rain in the second free practice session equal to or greater than 50%, the additional set of intermediate tires is made available to all teams. In a Grand Prix where the Sprint is not scheduled, if neither the first and second free practice sessions are declared wet, the weather system in use provides a report to the race director no later than one hour after the end of the second session of free trials. If this report indicates probability of rain in the third free practice session equal to or greater than 50%, the additional set of intermediate tires is made available to all teams. The race director issues a note to the teams one hour after the end of qualifying or the second free practice session, informing them if the additional set of tires is made available to all teams. There will be no further revisions. For this Grand Prix, Pirelli, the sole tire supplier, offers the choice of C2, C3 and C4 compound tyres, the type of tire that characterizes the central range of those made available by the Italian company, same choice used in the previous United States Grand Prix. It is the ninth time during the Championship that the sole tire supplier mentions this type. These are the words of Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director: 

 

"Over the course of a season, our tires have to cope with a wide variety of conditions depending on the individual characteristics of each venue. If you look back at the last two races, Suzuka was all about lateral forces and Austin was well-balanced aerodynamically, but Mexico this weekend focuses on traction and braking.The Hermanos Rodriguez circuit does not offer a lot of grip and the energy demands on the tires are reasonably low, as the cars do not generate much downforce in the thin air at high altitude, especially in slow corners.This year, the circuit might be more front-limited, as the current generation of car tends to understeer through slow corners - which Mexico has plenty of - and this can lead to some sliding on the front tires.Due to the nature of the venue the circuit tends to feature a dusty surface with plenty of track evolution.Understanding this and getting the tire warm-up exactly right is likely to be the key to success".

 

At Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal, declares himself disappointed about the last race but ready to face the Mexican GP with a proactive spirit: 

 

"We undoubtedly expected more from last weekend: the race pace was promising, and it seemed like points were within reach for us, but eventually things didn't go our way. Heading back on track right away, we have the opportunity to turn the tide and continue working on our performances, which have been improving with the upgrades we brought in Japan and Austin. Mexico will be, as usual, a challenging race due to the altitude and the peculiarities of the track, so we must be at our very best to avoid making mistakes.We know our cars have the potential to get into Q3, and that should be our aim ahead of the weekend, to put ourselves in a favorable position to get into the fight for points and secure our place in the championship".

 

Valtteri Bottas declares: 

 

"I am looking forward to being back in Mexico this week: it is one of the most energetic races on the calendar, the fans' enthusiasm is incredible, they're so passionate about Formula One. I've stood on the podium here three times in the past, and it's always an unbelievable experience.Looking back to Austin, it was pretty disappointing to finish the race that way, as our pace looked promising, and we may have had solid chances for a points finish. Nevertheless, a new race week offers new opportunities, and it's up to us to make the best out of them, do our job on track, and get into the top ten at the checkered flag".

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Zhou Guanyu concludes the team's statements by stating:

 

"I've always wanted to race here in Mexico, and I can't wait to finally be on track, yet another one for me to properly get to know. The atmosphere and the fans' passion for the sport seem great, and I'm looking forward to experiencing that this week. I was a bit gutted to come back from the race in Austin with no points in the bag, as the pace was there throughout the weekend, and we could've built something on that. It will be important to adapt quickly to the track and to its peculiar conditions, to be at the top of our game from the start of the weekend and carry on the momentum into the race. We got proof in Texas that our cars can make it into Q3, so if we do our homework well, we can achieve that and get in the mix for points on Sunday".

 

At Alpha Tauri, Pierre Gasly declares himself confident, strong of the excellent results obtained here last year:

 

"In Austin, we weren’t able to convert the clear potential in the car into points on Sunday, but there were some positives too: I had some good battles and was fighting for seventh place until the penalty, as our pace was very good. There are still three races to the end, and I really want to finish on a high. I 've often done well in Mexico. Last year I qualified fifth and then was fourth in the race. It 's a unique track because of the altitude, which makes for extreme conditions for the car, and I like driving here.It 's very low grip, complicated by the fact you have less downforce because of the altitude.There are plenty of low-speed corners which could suit us better than COTA. In general, these last few races of the year all take place on unusual circuits and in places that I like a lot. In Mexico City we 'll try and reproduce the performance level of last year . We know how to be quick here so hopefully we can do well and chase after those points that I missed out on in America".

 

Yuki Tsunoda, as well as others drivers, said to be curious and lightly worried for the impact that the Mexican climate can have on the cars’ performance: 

 

"Even if it does not help for the championship’s fight with Haas, it was a nice surprise to get the extra point for ninth place in Austin, especially after starting down in 19th place on the grid because of the grid penalty. It was quite a tough race physically, but also good fun in the car, with a few nice overtakes as well.Overall, last weekend we looked quite competitive in the midfield, even if Qualifying was the weak point over the three days.The Mexican track I would say is quite unusual to drive, partly because of the high altitude of Mexico City.You run maximum downforce because of the thin air, but even so, it feels like you are driving with little downforce.I found that a little bit strange last year when I raced there for the first time, but at the same time I was able to adapt quite quickly and I remember I was happy about my performance, especially over one flying lap. I enjoyed Mexico, I liked the track especially the slow and tricky Sector 2 and I had f un with the car sliding around, which reminded me of karting. Getting it just right in the braking zones is very important. I 'll miss out on FP1, as Liam is jumping into my car for that session, so the second practice session will be super important to allow me to work on building up my confidence in terms of braking. Last year I qualified in the top ten, but had to start at the back because of an engine change and then my race ended with a collision on the first lap, which was a shame. We need to have a good clean weekend, as we have to aim to score more points in the last three races of the year".

 

At the US GP in Austin, Haas announced a new partnership with the money transfer company MoneyGram, so Guenther Steiner declares:

 

"To sign this partnership with MoneyGram was great for the team and it shows there is a lot to come from Haas in the future. This is just the beginning and we obviously want to build up the commercial platform but also the rest of the team. We want to get stronger and be here for the long term - I think that's what it shows". 

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The US GP was undoubtedly one of the races in which Kevin Magnussen gave his all, pushing the car and the tires to the limit. Steiner claims to have endorsed the challenge undertaken by Magnussen with a healthy dose of adrenaline but also some uncertainty: 

 

"When Kevin said he thought he could get to the end of the race on the tires, we were thinking do you really think that can happen. Not only if the tire would last but also if the performance and degradation would not be too big and we fall back. We came up with a back-up strategy should that happen so we wouldn't lose a lot of time as long as we got him in as soon as possible when we saw the lap times getting too high and put the soft tires on. It was quite nerve-wracking because we knew if we had to do that, we would fall back to tenth place, and we wanted to do the best we can. Kevin did a great job to put in fast lap times while not overusing the tires. In the end, we got overtaken on the last corner from Sebastian Vettel but en was an exciting fight. Sometimes even when you lose a fight, it was fulfilling that we made the decision to stay out there and we had the confidence to do that, so all in all, it went well".  

 

Haas’ Team Principal declares that he appreciated COTA so much that he was almost speechless for the size, modernity and amount of fan engagement activities organized in the circuit: 

 

“What happened in COTA was, I think , fantastic for the sport. To continue to grow and grow in the US, with COTA being the first race track in the US in modern day Formula 1, they 've cemented their place. People love to come here, there is a lot going on around the race track and I had the opportunity to go and look around. It 's such a fantastic facility, I was speechless after it".

 

For Haas, the rookie designated to carry out FP1 and FP2 is Pietro Fittipaldi, the Brazilian driver nephew of the two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi. About this choice Steiner declares: 

 

"First of all, it's good to see Pietro in the car again. He's already now an old member of the team and he comes around the world with us in case he we need him. We hope that we don't, but if we do, we're very happy to have Pietro in the car as we showed a few years ago.The plan is to do the normal tire program in FP1, which is what we'd do with our regular drivers.It's good for him to be in the car again, just so that if we need him, he has a feeling for it but I'm sure Pietro will do a good job for the team".

 

Fittipaldi declares himself extremely grateful and enthusiastic about this possibility and states: 

 

"It's a great opportunity . It's definitely different to run in testing to running during an official race weekend in practice and I want to do a great job for the team. It's going to be the first time for me in a Formula 1 car in Mexico so that will be pretty exciting . I want to do a good run for the team, go through all the run plan and do a solid job".

 

Clear objectives for the Brazilian driver:

 

"On Thursday we'll go over the run plan and what the objectives are because it could be focusing on qualifying runs or high fuel running for the race, so we'll see what the team priority is and I'll look to do my best job on Friday. My personal targets are to perform at my best and make sure that I show the team again what I can do. Every time you get an opportunity in Formula 1, I always see it as a job interview, so every time you've got the chance to get behind the wheel, you've got to do your best".

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About the circuit of Mexico, he declares: 

 

"The only time I've raced there was in 2017 in the World Series V8 3.5 Championship, and I have two pole positions and two wins, so I have a good record over there. I hope to stay successful after FP1 with Haas I'm always ready - I've been doing sports car racing and endurance racing this year which is extremely physical and tasking mentally.I've had a good couple of races recently in sports cars and I come off a good rhythm, and I think that's important. I train a lot throughout the whole year, especially with the neck which is the most important thing. FP1 in Mexico is only one hour long so it's not too tasking so I have no doubt that I'll be ready".

 

At Haas, Kevin Magnussen comments on his return to Mexico: 

 

"The Mexico City Grand Prix is always a fantastic event. The fans are super into Formula 1, it's unique with the stadium section and I'm looking forward to going back and experiencing it all over again".

 

And on difficulty caused from the altitude declares:

 

"It's a challenge - both physically and technically with the car - cooling is an issue. You don't have as much downforce, you run a lot of wing on the car and it's very low density in the air, so you actually have about the same amount of downforce as you have in Monza. That's why we've seen some of the highest top speeds from Formula 1 cars there. It's tough physically and in the past, I've had symptoms from being so high up".

 

The iconic Foro Sol grandstand is certainly one of the most exciting points of the circuit from which it is possible to observe the single-seaters flowing inside the stadium, Magnussen is also a fan of the Foro Sol and in this regard declares:

 

"The Foro Sol is what makes the event unique . You drive into the stadium section, and you can really feel the atmosphere from the fans, especially on the drivers parade. It's great when you get there, it's a big buzz".

 

Mick Schumacher comments thus the return to Mexico: 

 

"I think my first time ever going to Mexico City was with Race Of Champions in 2019, pairing up for the first time with Sebastian. It was obviously a great experience and then going there as a Formula 1 driver last year was also special.I'd never driven the track before, and I had to get used to the altitude at first which was a bit different to all other race weekends we go to.I have great memories so I'm definitely looking forward to this year".

 

And with respect to the altitude of the circuit comments:

 

"I think it's always hard to predict any changes in aerodynamics and engine power. We had no reliability issues last year on our side so hopefully we'll be good and we'll be able to score some points".

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At Williams, Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, declares: 

 

"The Grand Prix in Austin was a productive and enjoyable weekend and although it was frustrating not to score some points, we were pleased that we were able to get ourselves into a good position on Sunday, especially given that both drivers flat-spotted their tires early in the first stints.The format of the weekend in Mexico is very similar to last weekend with Logan driving again in FP1 - this time in Alex's car - and the race drivers completing tire testing for Pirelli during FP2.The car setup will be similar to last weekend, but we will need to pay attention to the effect of the altitude on brake and PU cooling.With only three events remaining this season, the FW44 upgrade cycle is mostly complete and our focus is on maximizing the package that we have and checking some of the big setup decisions that we made earlier in the season.This will give us some useful information on how the FW44 has evolved aerodynamica lly and will provide some useful correlation data for setup concepts that we may choose to carry forwards to FW45. Having done a very good job in Austin, Logan gets another chance to experience an FP1 session. This will give him valuable experience of an F1 car at altitude, specifically the low drag and downforce as well as the additional care needed with the brakes and PU. He will again play a pivotal role in completing the engineering work during FP1 and he will also get the opportunity to work with the engineer and mechanic team on Alex's side of the garage. We look forward to working with him again and using his input to help us tackle the demanding job of racing at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez".

 

Alex Albon continues: 

 

"We've come off a pretty good weekend in Austin, so hopefully we can bring some of this into Mexico. On paper, the track should suit our car, however it's quite a unique circuit being high altitude with the downforce level quite high but the actual downforce on track is very low, so the car does slide around a lot. I'm excited to go back after a few years so let's see what we can do over the weekend".

 

Nicholas Latifi concludes: 

 

"Mexico is always a unique event due to the altitude that we race at. The altitude creates a completely different feeling to the car unlike any other track we experience on the calendar. It's quite the challenge with the air being so much thinner as it changes how the car handles with a lot less grip and the race is more physically demanding.The atmosphere last year was incredible especially through the stadium section of the track so I can't wait to experience that again.I'm looking forward to getting out there and hopefully having a strong weekend. Logan Sargeant: I'm excited to be getting back in the car for FP1 in Mexico and building on the progress I made in Austin. My first session gave me a chance to reference the driveability of the car, the way it handles and how it feels on the brakes.All these learnings will help me to visualize everything and make the necessary changes before I go into my second FP1 session.Being able to have the experience of driving an F1 car at high altitude will be beneficial to my development. I'm looking forward to working with Alex's side of the garage this weekend and providing the team with feedback to help their race preparations".

 

Sebastian Vettel, almost at the end of his career in F1, says: 

 

"The atmosphere at Mexico City has always been electric, and I have always liked coming here. Over the last few races, we have picked up some really strong results - so our challenge for sixth position in the constructors' championship is looking more and more realistic.As I start my final three races in Formula One, I have lost none of my motivation and am looking to go out on a high.With the form we have shown recently, I think we should be able to make that happen".

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His teammate , Lance Stroll, agrees: 

 

"Mexico has always been one of the most interesting races on the calendar due to the challenges posed by the altitude. The improved raceability of the cars this year might have a positive influence on the race too, as it has traditionally been a pretty difficult place for passing.The team's form has really gained momentum in recent races, and we have performed well at the last few high-downforce circuits, so I come into this race with plenty of optimism for a good result".

 

Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ Team Principal, declares: 

 

"Race day in Austin was quite a rollercoaster of emotions. While we didn't quite have the pace to win, it was great to be in the mix at the front and leading the race. The upgrades we brought to Texas delivered a step forward and we were closer to the front than we have been recently. Lewis drove an outstanding race to finish P2 and George scored a good haul of points despite his damaged car. We need to keep this momentum going. We're cautiously optimistic heading to Mexico but the W13 can be unpredictable from track to track, so we'll have to wait and see. It's always good to be back in Mexico. The fans are fantastic and the atmosphere is spectacular every time we visit.They know how to put on a brilliant show so we're looking forward to being back in Mexico City.Nyck will be replacing George in FP1 this weekend as part of the young driver session allocation.We're excited to see him back in W13 and seeing how he pe rforms".

 

At Alpine, Esteban Ocon talks about those that are the critic points the fact that the circuit of Mexico is one of the funnies and most challenging: 

 

"The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of racing in Mexico City is the high altitude. At over 2000m above sea level, this track is the highest circuit that we come to all year. Obviously, the altitude has important implications on many things including the cooling systems on the car, the aerodynamic performance and the tyre behavior . But I do like driving on this circuit as it presents a good blend of corners at different speeds and many straights, with three DRS zones". 

 

Fernando Alonso, despite the years in Formula 1, does not hide his own enthusiasm and adrenaline at the eve of each race: 

 

"It's only a short flight to Mexico from Austin and we are all still full of adrenaline after last weekend. We are ready for this weekend and confident that we can score some strong points if we have a clean weekend. I'm sure the battle for fourth position will continue into Abu Dhabi, so we need to keep maximizing our weekends.The track is a unique challenge for the car with the extremely high altitude and pressures on the engine that come with this".

 

Jack Doohan, the Alpine rookie, son of Mick, legend of the motorcycling, capable of winning the World Championship five times with Honda in the class 500 from 1994 to 1998, declares: 

 

"First of all, I'm extremely grateful to the team for allowing me this opportunity to drive in Free Practice 1. It's a fantastic opportunity for me and I'm really excited to drive Esteban's car in the session. For me, it's another step closer to achieving my ultimate goal of reaching Formula 1 and I'll do my best to take as much from the experience as I can. I drove the A522 to Monza in September on a filming day , so that was a good experience for me to get up to speed with an initial feeling for how contemporary Formula 1 cars are to drive.In addition, I furthered my preparation with some time on the simulator at Enstone where I was able to drive the circuit and gather a good understanding on some of the characteristics of the track, which was very beneficial".

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At McLaren, Lando Norris declares: 

 

"Mexico, it's good to be back for the second year in a row! The circuit is a unique challenge with a high altitude and the fans in the baseball stadium section is an interesting feature of the track. I'm looking forward to getting back into the car this week after a great time in Austin. I'm sure the Mexican fans will be out in full force to create an amazing atmosphere like last year! As a team we're determined to pick up as many points as possible in the final three races of the season". 

 

Daniel Ricciardo continues:

 

"Buenos dias ! I'm looking forward to heading to Mexico City this week as we enter the last three races of the year. The atmosphere at the track is electric, and the fans are always so passionate. It will be good to get back racing with the quick turnaround from Austin as Sunday was a tricky race for me. It's important we continue to keep working hard to get the rewards and finish the season strongly as a team".

 

Finally, Andreas Seidl , Team Principal, claims:

 

"Mexico is always an exciting event with a vibrant atmosphere created by the fans! The track in Mexico City can be challenging with high altitudes and thinner air meaning the teams will run higher levels of downforce on their cars. Another challenge we have is managing this second race of a double-header but Lando , Daniel and the entire team are focused on pushing for points. We're looking forward to another exciting race weekend".

 

Important weekend for the Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc who celebrates the 100th Grand Prix held in F1. From 2018 to today, the young Monegasque has collected many results and emotions and in this regard, and with a touch of emotion declares: 

 

"To be honest , these first hundred races in Formula 1 have flown by. It seems like only yesterday that I walked into the paddock in Australia in 2018 to take part in my first Grand Prix. I'm having a wonderful adventure which right from my second season, saw me join the most prestigious team of all. Our first year together was good, especially with my first two wins, but after that we struggled for the next two years. This year, 2022, we have been competitive at every race and have won three of them. Clearly, we are all working as one to get even more next year. We know our car works very well in qualifying and that we are lacking something on Sunday, but we are working hard and I think there have been signs of progress in recent races. In the end, the key point is always to get the tires up to the right operating temperature and we know that window is rather small, so that widening it is one of the goals for 2023 that we are working on in this final part of the season". 

 

Carlos Sainz is ready to fight for the highest step of the podium: 

 

"The atmosphere is wonderful and the fact that they speak my language here makes me feel the support of the fans even more. You notice it especially when you get to the slowest part of the track and you pass through those really high grandstands, the cheers give you goosebumps. Our goals are the usual ones. I am sure we will be competitive as we have been all year. We will try and be in the fight for the win. In the last two races, I' ve done fewer than two laps, so I think it's time to have a smooth race with no problems.This track requires a lot of aero downforce and traction and we will try and maximize the potential of the F1-75 starting from tomorrow's free practice".

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On Friday, following the submission of all required documentation by all ten Formula One Teams, it is known that the Cost Cap Administration has offered to RBR an ABA to resolve this matter. That offer is accepted by RBR. An Accepted Breach Agreement dated 26 October 2022 was therefore entered into by and between the Cost Cap Administration and Red Bull Racing pursuant to Article 6.28 of the FIA Formula 1 Financial Regulations. A link to a summary of the terms of the ABA as provided for by Article 6.32 of the Financial Regulations is below. An Accepted Breach Agreement dated 26 October 2022 has been entered into by the Cost Cap Administration and Red Bull Racing F1 Team pursuant to Article 6.28 of the FIA Formula 1 Financial Regulations. The Financial Regulations are issued by the FIA and form part of the terms and conditions of participation in the FIA Formula One World Championship. The Cost Cap Administration recognised that RBR has acted cooperatively throughout the review process and has sought to provide additional information and evidence when requested in a timely manner, that this is the first year of the full application of the Financial Regulations which are a very complex set of rules that competitors were required to adapt to and that there is no accusation or evidence that RBR has sought at any time to act in bad faith, dishonestly or in a fraudulent manner, nor has it wilfully concealed any information from the Cost Cap Administration. The ABA concerns: RBR’s submitted Relevant Costs reported in its 2021 Full Year Reporting Documentation of £114.293.000; subsequent to the findings of the Cost Cap Administration, a Procedural Breach committed by RBR pursuant to Article 8.2(e) of the Financial Regulations due to the submission of inaccurate Full Year Reporting Documentation in respect of the Full Year Reporting Period ending on 31 December 2021 because it inaccurately excluded and/or adjusted costs amounting to a total of £5.607.000 in its 2021 Full Year Reporting Documentation; and consequently, a Minor Overspend Breach committed by RBR under Article 8.10(b) of the Financial Regulations because its Relevant Costs, as adjusted by the FIA, exceeded the 2021 Cost Cap of £118.036.000 by less than 5%, namely by £1.864.000 (i.e., 1.6%). 

 

In accordance with the findings of the Cost Cap Administration, RBR has acknowledged that the Reporting Documentation submitted by it included the following incorrectly excluded and/or adjusted costs: overstated excluded costs pursuant to Article 3.1(a) of the Financial Regulations (concerning catering services); costs pursuant to Article 3.1(w) of the Financial Regulations (concerning consideration and associated employer’s social security contributions); costs pursuant to Article 3.1(h)(i) of the Financial Regulations (in respect of Non-F1 Activities), as those costs had already been offset within Total Costs of the Reporting Group; costs pursuant to Article 3.1(k) of the Financial Regulations (in respect of bonus and associated employer’s social security contributions); understatement of Relevant Costs in respect of a gain on disposal of fixed assets by failing to make the necessary upwards adjustment; costs pursuant to Article 3.1(q) of the Financial Regulations (concerning apprenticeship levies); costs pursuant to Article 3.1(h)(ii)(i) of the Financial Regulations (concerning consideration and associated employer’s social security contributions); understatement of Relevant Costs in respect of provisions set forth by Article 4.1(a)(i) of the Financial Regulations (concerning the cost of use of Power Units); Costs pursuant to Article 3.1(h) (i) of the Financial Regulations (concerning consideration and associated employer’s social security contributions); understatement of Relevant Costs in respect of provisions set forth by Article 4.1(f)(i)(B) of the Financial Regulations (concerning use of inventories); clerical error inrespect of RBR’s calculation of certain costs re-charged to it by Red Bull Power Trains Limited; certain travel costs pursuant to Article 3.1(r) of the Financial Regulations; costs of maintenance pursuant to Article 3.1(i) of the Financial Regulations. RBR has therefore accept that it has breached: (i) Article 8.2(e) of the Financial Regulations due to its failure to file accurate Full Year Reporting Documentation in respect of the 2021 Full Year Reporting Period, and (ii) Article 8.10(b) of the Financial Regulations due to its failure to keep its Relevant Costs under the 2021 Cost Cap.

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The FIA acknowledges that had RBR applied the correct treatment within its Full Year Reporting Documentation of RBR’s Notional Tax Credit within its 2021 submission of a value of £1.431.348, it would have been considered by the Cost Cap Administration to be in compliance with Article 4.1(b) of the Regulations and therefore RBR’s Relevant Costs for the 2021 Reporting Period would have in fact exceeded the 2021 Cost Cap by £432.652 (0.37%). On that basis, RBR has accepted the imposition of the following sanctions: RBR must pay a Financial Penalty of USD 7.000.000 to the FIA within 30 days of the date of execution of the ABA (Article 9.5 of the Financial Regulations); RBR receives a Minor Sporting Penalty in the form of a limitation of RBR’s ability to conduct aerodynamic Testing during a period of 12 months from the date of execution of the ABA through the application of a reduction of 10% of the Coefficient C used to calculate the individual Restricted Wind Tunnel Testing (RWTT) and Restricted Computational Fluid Dynamics (RCFD) limits applicable to each Team as set out in Article 6 of Appendix 7 to the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations. For example, if the Coefficient C, based on RBR’s championship position is 70%, the effective new value of C will be: CNEW=70% x (1-0.10) = 63.0%; and RBR bears the costs incurred by the Cost Cap Administration in connection with the preparation of the ABA. The decision of the Cost Cap Administration to enter into the ABA constitutes its final decision resolving this matter and is not subject to appeal. Non-compliance by RBR with any terms of the ABA will result in a further Procedural Breach under Articles 6.30 and 8.2(f) of the Financial Regulations and automatic referral to the Cost Cap Adjudication Panel. About this situation, Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal, during a press conference, says:

 

"We’ve been provided a significant penalty, both financially and sportingly, from the seven million dollars - which is an enormous amount of money, that is payable within a 30-day period - and obviously the more draconian part is the sporting penalty, which is a 10% reduction in our ability to utilise our wind tunnel and aerodynamic tools. And that, I’ve heard people reporting today [that it] is an insignificant amount - let me tell you now, that is an enormous amount. That represents anywhere between quarter and half a second worth of lap time. We cannot do as many wind tunnel runs, we cannot run as many simulations. That will have a material effect on our performance. It is difficult to put a lap time figure but one assumes that while these regulations are still pretty mature and development is still steep. By winning the constructors’ championship, obviously we’ve become victims of our own success by in addition to that 10% having 5% incremental disadvantage, handicap, compared to the second and third place. So, just for clarity, we will have 15% less wind tunnel time than the second-placed team in the constructors’ championship, and 20% [actually 21%] less than the third place. Again, a draconian amount. So that 10%, put into reality, as I say, will have an impact on our ability to perform on track next year. I think they've demonstrated that time and time again. There were other sporting penalties that were available to the FIA. But this one was obviously lobbied hard for by our competitors because they felt it hit us the hardest".

 

Friday is also the day of the first two free practice sessions. Lots of news and action on track, but it is always a Ferrari to come out on top at the end of FP1. Carlos Sainz is fastest with a time of 1'20"707, which is quite far from last year’s performance (1'18"341 set by Valtteri Bottas on a Mercedes). The new cars confirm the whole season trend of being slower than their predecessors. Coming back to the Spaniard, he is enjoying a good moment in terms of speed, also repeatedly beating teammate Charles Leclerc, even though he has often struggled to score relevant results at the end of races, like in the last outing in the U.S., where he was inculpably taken out by George Russell at the first corner of the first lap. Here in Mexico, Sainz precedes his teammate Leclerc by just 0.046s and home hero Sergio Pérez by 0.120 seconds. Verstappen sets the exact same time but later, so he is given fourth position at the end. Being among the testers, Sainz cannot repeat himself in FP2, and clinches P7, 1.723 seconds away from Russell in P1, completing a solid day: 

 

"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".

 

Unlike Sainz, Charles Leclerc has a bad day in the office. After claiming P2 in FP1 despite some minor inconvenience, the Monegasque ends his Friday early as he spins at turn 8 and hits the barrier with the back of his car, damaging rear wing and suspensions. Leclerc is luckily unhurt but the lack of grip and perhaps a too optimistic approach to the corner has cut his day short and given the Ferrari mechanics some extra work. Leclerc still manages to end FP2 in P7 (+1.648s):

 

"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".

 

A rather smooth Friday for Red Bull Racing sees both drivers achieve good results and show good pace. Max Verstappen has a little inconvenience in the morning as he spins out of turn 12 for hitting too much kerb. Fortunately for the newly crowned world champion, the run-off area is wide, and he manages to save the car without hitting the barriers:

 

"I had a little spin this morning in FP1, as soon as I came off the track it felt like ice and I was drifting left and right. On the soft tyres, everything felt okay but we only had one run on them. In FP2 we had to do the Pirelli tyre test, so it makes it a little bit more difficult as there are a lot of unknowns again, similar to last weekend. We have very little information, but from what we tried; everything was working okay. Let’s see what we can do come qualifying tomorrow".

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Sergio Pérez wants to make his fans proud as he seeks a race win on home turf that he has never achieved since the Mexican Grand Prix returned to F1 in 2015. Pérez ends his day ahead of his teammate in P5, the second-best performance with the 2023 test tyres behind Lewis Hamilton’s:

 

"It was a tricky day to get a read on things, as is typical in Mexico with the altitude, everything is floating around. It is very easy to make mistakes in these conditions so overall I think we had an ok day. I think we got up to speed fairly quickly and got into a rhythm so it should hopefully be quite straight forward tomorrow. The tyre test means you basically lose FP2 but that’s how it is for everyone and in FP1 we got a good pace and we seemed to be competitive. Ferrari look strong, as do Mercedes, so it is going to be a tough battle tomorrow in qualifying".

 

And the Silver Arrows are indeed much quicker around the Mexican tarmac. The particular conditions found at high altitude in terms of grip and downforce seem to suit well the characteristics of the W13, which sports on his livery the name of Anthony Lane (1996-2022), a mechanical engineer of the power trains department who sadly passed away before the Mexican weekend. For the second time this season, former Formula E world champion Nyck De Vries steps on board the Mercedes and replaces George Russell in FP1. After the Dutchman has secured an F1 seat at Williams for 2023, the other drivers will have to get used to this new name, as does Carlos Sainz not without problems, with the Spaniard hearing debris in a radio communication with his engineer. The Dutchman ends the session in 18th place (+3.875s):

 

"I enjoyed the session and driving the car, we did a good job in FP1. We ran a bit of a different programme today, focused on developments for next year and I'm happy with my performance, feeling more and more comfortable in the F1 environment. It was also a very emotional session for me, as it marks the end of my time in the car for the team. But I'm happy, as we ended it well and we had a great time working together. I'm grateful for the opportunity Mercedes has given me, allowing me to learn a lot and build relationships within the team and now I'm looking forward to the next chapter".

 

Like the other drivers who gave their seats for the rookies in FP1, George Russell is given some extra time in FP2 to gain confidence with the track with the current-spec tyres. The Brit wastes no time to deliver a great performance by claiming first place with a time of 1'19"970s. He then switches to the new tyres but keeps the best time. His words at the end of the day:

 

"Today was one of our better Fridays, if not the best of the year so far - the car is working well and it felt good driving on this track. The pace was relatively strong, but we know the challenges at this circuit. For qualifying, the difficulty will be to get the tyres in the right window for the single lap run. And on Sunday, it will be difficult to manage temperatures for the engine and for the brakes. A podium finish should hopefully be possible for us this weekend, so that's what we will be aiming for. Not having the normal FP2 running, where we get to assess the long run performance of our rivals, doesn't allow us to understand where our competitors are and that can become a big challenge if we will struggle with tyre temperatures during the race. We take some very useful learnings about tyre temperature management for next year and will be working hard overnight as it's not going to be a straightforward weekend for sure, but positive learnings for us today".

 

Lewis Hamilton maintains a consistent pace throughout free practice. The seven-time World Champion places fifth in FP1 and sets the best time among the tester in FP2 with fourth position overall. Hamilton claims a first place in his own way like his teammate, the fastest of the session, and his performance looks promising for the race, as Mercedes may be able to fight for victory with Red Bull. Hamilton says: 

 

"I had a good session today, so generally feel good about our performance so far. I really enjoyed driving around the track, because the car is feeling better and better as we learn to understand it in more detail. The tyre test in FP2 we used to get as much practice in as possible. I don't know yet where exactly we stand compared to other teams, because everyone was running different programmes and I try to mainly focus on my own programme. The 2023 tyres seem very similar to the current ones, maybe a little bit more consistent on the long runs and easier to manage in terms of overheating. Of course, we will do plenty of work tonight, to see if we can compete with the front, but you never know with this car how the rest of the weekend will go, but I hope we are able to continue to build on our positive conclusion from today".

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A busy Friday with new tyres to test and three drivers to manage turns out to be quite productive for Mercedes and Andrew Shovlin express a restrained satisfaction after one of his drivers (Russell) sets even the best lap in FP2:

 

"We had a bit of a messy first session as we were bumping into a few limits on system temperatures, but we managed to get that much better under control in the second session. Nyck was driving in place of George for the first session. The programme was never going to flatter him as we were only running the hard tyre and working through a sequence of test items, but he did another very solid job. That finishes off his planned driving duties for our team and we are looking forward to seeing him race next year. The second session was focused on the 2023 tyres, although the regulations allowed George to do a few laps on medium and soft compounds. From what we can tell the car is working well on both single lap and long run. The balance isn't perfect so we've got areas to work on overnight, but a reasonable start at what is normally a very challenging circuit".

 

Pietro Fittipaldi is the first rookie to have technical issues in FP1. As soon as smoke starts to come out the Brazilian’s car on the long Mexican straight his engineer tells him to stop immediately. Fittipaldi pulls over in the run-off area after turn 2. Session finished and another engine problem for Haas, who will have to change the turbo in order to get Magnussen back on track on FP2. About his run in the first free practice session, Fittipaldi says:

 

"It was good to get back in the car - obviously it was only for a few of laps - but it was good to get the feeling of driving a Formula 1 car on a different track, which is an amazing circuit. I’m very happy for the opportunity and I felt very comfortable, very quickly in the car. We weren’t using DRS on the first run and we were running competitively, so I was really happy. Then again, going onto a new tire we were going to make a step but then unfortunately we had the issue. I was happy that I was able to get back into the rhythm quickly in the car and feel good and confident. It was a short FP1 but at least I got a run in, and in Abu Dhabi, I can come back into the car warmed up".

 

Mick Schumacher experiences a much smoother Friday, completing his program for the day in 17th position (+2.909s from Russell):

 

"It was alright, obviously the track has different challenges now with these new cars. It has been fun though, there have already been a lot of fans here today which is great, so expecting more tomorrow and on Sunday. We still have some work to do, we’re not quite satisfied with our performance overall, but we still have something in us to move up the grid and be able to position ourselves well for the race. I would love some rain, I think it would suit our car very well so yet again we’ll be doing the rain dance".

 

Kevin Magnussen has some work to do on Saturday as he is seriously penalised by an unfortunate Friday. After lending his seat to Pietro Fittipaldi for one of the mandatory rookie sessions in free practice, the Dane is forced to skip 30 minutes of FP2 as his mechanics change the turbo of his car. Magnussen loses even more time to prepare for the race because of Pirelli’s test, despite collecting some miles on the 2023 tyres:

 

"We’re back in Mexico and I managed to get some laps in. We had to use the test tires from Pirelli so the running we did today isn’t super relevant, but still I got a good feeling for the track and I got into the rhythm of Mexico City".

 

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team, sums up Friday’s action for the American team in Mexico:

 

"Mick had a very good day today, running through all his test program, so he should be ready for tomorrow. Unfortunately, Pietro’s turbo let go after nine laps which meant he couldn’t do a lot, so we didn’t get that test program going. We had to change the engine afterwards and the team did a fantastic job to get Kevin out with only a 30-minute delay. Kevin could then get a program with the prototype tires in, but there obviously wasn’t enough time to get the race tires on but at least he got back out on track and a little bit of experience. Now we need to do a solid job in FP3 to get ready for qualifying".

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On this occasion, Liam Lawson has the bragging rights among the rookies. The young Kiwi sets the best lap time and places in 16th position (+3.154s) in his return at the wheel of the Alpha Tauri AT22. But even for him an unfortunate technical issue forces to end his session early when he parks his car at the stadium section:

 

"It's been great to be back on track with Scuderia AlphaTauri after my last shot out in Spa. This time we played a bit more with set-up changes, as the more I drive the car the more accurate feedback I can give. Due to the Pirelli test in FP2 we saved a set of tyres for that, so I only ran on one set, which I believe most the juniors did today. It's a really interesting circuit. I'd been on the sim a lot obviously, but when I first drove it was quite eye opening, there's very low grip and it's extremely slippery, especially through some of the high-speed areas. Driving through the stadium though was crazy, the atmosphere is incredible, even when I had to stop the car there, they were all cheering. Sadly, we had to stop because we had a loss of pressure. However, I was able to complete most the session anyway, so it didn't impact too much".

 

Yuki Tsunoda jumps on his car in FP2 after letting Lawson familiarize with the Mexican track, just to set a great second time (+0.828s from Russell) and see his name on top of the charts, exploiting the chance to use the current-spec tyres like the Mercedes driver:

 

"I'm quite happy after FP2, of course it's not that representative, but straight away I felt confident in the car and was able to put in some strong laps. It was quite easy to adapt to the circuit, which I wasn't expecting, so it's been a positive FP2. I spent the start of the session just building up the pace and then I moved to the test tyres. As I missed FP1, I've got a lot of data to look through tonight and some more work to do in FP3, so that I can hopefully put it altogether for Quali tomorrow".

 

Unlike his teammate, Pierre Gasly takes part in both free practice sessions and shows good consistency placing in the top 10, with 9th being his best result in FP1 (+0.603s from Sainz):

 

"It's been a great day. In FP1, I felt good in the car, we know it's quite a unique track as it's at such high altitude, but usually this works quite well for us. This morning straight away I was on the pace, we know it's super tight in the midfield so I hope tomorrow, when we put it altogether, we can fight for the top 10. This afternoon we can't make many conclusions, as we don't know the compounds we've been running, but generally I felt quite good in the car, which is the most important thing. It feels great to be racing back in Mexico, both at the track and away from it it's absolutely hectic, but it's fun to be back here and feel the passion of the fans".

 

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer, can be satisfied with the performance of his team as a whole, as his three drivers have all claimed prominent positions and the car seems already to have a good set-up:

 

"It was great to have Liam back driving for us in FP1, this time taking over Yuki's car. He did a very good job, particularly as he only ran a single hard tyre in that session. He got quickly up to speed and was setting competitive lap times even against the experienced drivers. We had several aero test items which we completed with him and captured very good data to help us with the setup direction. His running came to an end just before the end of the session, as we spotted a loss of pressure, but the mechanics did a great job to get the car repaired and ready for Yuki for FP2. Pierre was focusing on general setup work and long run tyre gathering in FP1 - it was a tight programme given the Pirelli test in FP2 - but we gathered enough data to prepare for Quali and the race on Sunday. Yuki was able to run the 2022 tyres at the start of FP2 before switching to the Pirelli test, which had to be cut short for all drivers due to the Red Flag. In general, the car balance was close even at the start of the weekend, so we will use Friday as a good foundation to make any subtle changes overnight. Our competitiveness is looking quite good, and we will do all we can to aim for a place in Q3 tomorrow".

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Both Aston Martin drivers are enjoying the atmosphere in Mexico. And that seems to reflect the overall performance of F1’s ‘green team’, as both drivers experience a smooth Friday. Lance Stroll places 13th and 16th in the two free practice sessions. Besides, the Canadian will have to take a 5-place grid penalty on Sunday due to his collision with Fernando Alonso in Austin:

 

"The fans seem to get a little crazier each year - but it is such a fantastic atmosphere here. Today went pretty smoothly: we could not test anything in the afternoon tyre test, which was a bit of a shame, but hopefully we were able to give some useful information to Pirelli. It is difficult to say where we are at the moment - it looks like we are in our usual positions for a Friday, but I hope we can find something in the set-up and take a step forward for qualifying tomorrow".

 

Sebastian Vettel is sporting a special livery on his helmet to pay tribute to the life of the late Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, whose racing team has known one of the most successful eras in Formula 1 with Vettel. The German does a little bit better than his teammate with a 10th and 12th position respectively, as the German heads towards the last Mexican Grand Prix of his honoured career:

 

"It was a fairly quiet Friday today. There is not much to say about FP2, due to the Pirelli tyre test, but it was certainly good to get some laps in throughout the day. We have improved the car a lot over the year, and it is starting to really show, even if the outright results today do not necessarily reflect that. On another note, I am really enjoying my time at this Grand Prix. The general vibe is really cool. It is a lot a fun both on the track and with the atmosphere".

 

A positive day for McLaren. In the first free practice the best of the ‘papaya duo’ is Lando Norris, who gets P8 (+0.818s from Sainz). The Brit bests his teammate also in FP2:

 

"It wasn't a bad day. We made some progress on the car but we're still not where we need to be with the pace. The track has a very low downforce and is a slippery surface, but I'm feeling more confident with it after today's sessions. Overall, we learnt a lot, but we'll keep working hard overnight as a team to get ready for qualifying tomorrow".

 

Daniel Ricciardo finishes FP1 in P11 and just behind Norris in the following practice session, as both drivers (P15 and 16 in the end) put on the new development tyres proposed by Pirelli:

 

"It was nice to be back, so a good day. We had a couple of issues here and there but I think, nonetheless, a good day. We found a few things to work on but also, I think we made steps on some set-up stuff, so I think all we need is a smooth day tomorrow. It's hard to know competitor-wise, where we are compared to the others, but I think for the most part I had a decent feeling, and when the car was in a good place, I had enough confidence in it. So, hopefully, as I said, a smooth day tomorrow, and we can just build and get ourselves a good qualifying".

 

The sun shines on McLaren’s garage. For Andrea Stella, the team is set to a good weekend in Mexico:

 

"As usual, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez presents some challenges to Formula 1 cars because of the low-density air at this altitude. The good thing today is that we acquired plenty of data. We know where we are and understand that we have some work to do overnight. Using FP2 for a mandatory Pirelli tyre test means the competitive situation is not as clear as usual - we expect to fight again in a close midfield battle and we'll try to get through to Q3 tomorrow and have a good Mexico City Grand Prix on Sunday".

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Jack Doohan is the only junior driver to get a taste of an F1 car for the first time in Mexico. The young Aussie replaces Esteban Ocon for FP1, even though his session is cut short due to a technical issue, much like the other rookies: 

 

"It was a fantastic experience to drive in Free Practice 1 today, so thanks to Alpine for giving me that opportunity. I put in a lot of preparation for today including working with the engineers at Enstone and at the circuit as well as driving on the simulator. We had more running planned but, unfortunately, we had to stop early due to a small issue on the car. These things happen in motorsport, but to drive 13 laps here on a Grand Prix weekend was an incredible experience and something I'll remember forever. I'm looking forward to furthering my learning experience with the team this weekend where hopefully both Esteban and Fernando can score some points".

 

Fernando Alonso is a good 6th at the end of FP1. The two-time world champion has also a bit of a moment during the first practice as he manages to control his car after a huge snap of oversteer in the ‘s’ section. The Spaniard finishes 11th in FP2: 

 

"I'd say it was a solid Practice for us today and it's nice to be back here in Mexico. The track in Mexico City always has varying levels of grip and the unique high altitude puts pressure on both the car and driver. We need to adjust and adapt to these challenging conditions, which we will no doubt face all weekend. Overall, we completed our Friday programme, and we head into tomorrow feeling confident of a strong result".

 

Esteban Ocon participates only in FP2 and sets the third fastest time (+1.207s from Russell) on 2022 soft tyres before testing the 2023 prototypes: 

 

"It was good to test ourselves on this challenging track, which is quite low on grip but with long fast straights and challenging corners. I didn't run in the first session with Jack driving my car. I've been in his position before, so well done to him on doing his first session. For Free Practice 2, we completed a lot of laps where we were able to learn quite a lot. It was slightly interrupted, but we have plenty of data to go through tonight and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do across the next two days".

 

Alan Permane, Alpine Sporting Director, covers the performance of his three drivers in his Friday recap:

 

"Jack did a great job today in his first official Formula 1 session. The track here in Mexico City is not easy to drive, especially on debut, and he certainly gave a good account of himself. Unfortunately, his session ended slightly early with a power unit issue but, during his running, he was very sensible, built up the speed lap by lap and gave us some good feedback. Thereafter, he observed a lot by just watching. Fernando had a smooth day and the car looked reasonable across both sessions. Esteban wasn't able to complete a full programme on race tyres due to the red flag midway through the session and Pirelli prototype tyre testing, but we have enough data to assess in preparation for the rest of the weekend where the aim, as usual, is to have both drivers inside the top ten".

 

Logan Sargeant is getting acquainted with the rhythm of F1, as he shows during FP1: 

 

"I was definitely a lot more comfortable coming into today. Everything slowed down a lot and it was easier to build a rhythm and learn the track. All in all, it was a good step forward and good progress from last weekend".

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After gving his seat to Sargeant in the first free practice sessions, Alex Albon’s FP gets a little frustrating as the Pirelli test prevents him from collecting enough relevant data and confidence to be ready for Sunday: 

 

"We did one lap today on the tyres we're using this weekend so not a very productive day. We've got the cooling and the race package ready for the weekend so that's a positive in terms of getting up to speed. We're a bit off but that's expected when considering the one representative lap, so it's a bit frustrating in some ways but we've got a good platform and baseline to work on for tomorrow".

 

Still some work to do for Nicholas Latifi: 

 

"Overall, today was an okay start to the weekend. It was a little bit disrupted with many yellow and red flags and FP2 having the tyre test which was unrepresentative. A decent Friday to learn about the baseline of the car. There are definitely some clear directions to go into tomorrow to find more lap time".

 

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, describes the day of his team:

 

"We have had a very disrupted day, with the red flags costing us some valuable track time. Logan did a very good job this morning in difficult conditions and between him and Nicholas, they were able to evaluate some of the cooling options that we will need this weekend. Alex was late starting FP2 following an issue with setting the PU cooling system and this meant that he was only able to complete a single timed lap before moving on to the Pirelli tyre testing. Whilst this was frustrating and not ideal preparation for his weekend, he was able to complete the high fuel running and understand what the car limitations will be on Sunday. With the race car preparation complete, both drivers can concentrate on qualifying preparation during FP3 tomorrow. There is a bit of work to do to tune the car for low fuel, but following some analysis tonight, this will be achievable tomorrow morning".

 

A very unlucky day for Zhou Guanyu. The Chinese driver is forced to stop his car in both session for mechanical issues: firstly, for at the end of the pit lane while having problem switching gears and then in the stadium section. A 12th position in FP1 and the last in FP2 are the results of two troubled sessions for Zhou:

 

"Today hasn’t been the easiest day, in fact it has been quite messy out there for me. During FP1 my gear got stuck while I was practicing starts in the pitlane; at first we were okay in FP2, but then we had quite a few small issues in the long run, and eventually at the end of the session I had to stop the car on track because of a hydraulic issue. As a positive, I got to learn the track and our car felt quite strong, so we should be ready for tomorrow and hopefully have a smooth and cleaner day. Upgrades have been working extremely well, especially on the one-lap performance, so I am confident we can have a strong qualifying. Our priority now is to get rid of the issues we experienced today, and then we are good to go".

 

Valtteri Bottas is showing great speed, which is confirmed by an excellent 7th position in FP1 and a 9th position in FP2, which justify good hopes for points on Sunday:

 

"The car was feeling pretty good today. Coming into this weekend, I was expecting for it to be a decent track for us, and it seems like so far everything is running smooth, so overall it has been a positive day. We seemed to be in a good place with lap times in both sessions, and hopefully that is a good sign ahead of tomorrow. FP2 was obviously all about learning about the new tyres, which feel very similar to the current ones to me. There is indeed a difference with the tyre pressure, which can clearly be perceived, but apart from that, they feel mostly the same".

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Pirelli conducts another test with the 2023 prototype tyres. Simone Berra, Chief Engineer, analyses the work of the teams here in Mexico ahead of next year’s new challenges as the 2022 season comes to its closing stages:

 

"It was a busy day in Mexico City, with the teams running as much as possible to gather race weekend data in FP1, and then completing our tyre test in FP2, which focussed on the softer compounds after assessing the harder compounds in Austin last weekend. The red flag interruptions - particularly the first one - meant that some teams weren't able to complete the programme, but we still collected a useful amount of information to analyse. As expected in Mexico, we saw some track evolution, but the track was generally in better condition than we anticipated, offering reasonable grip from the start. From the point of view of this weekend's race, the teams are missing a bit of data compared to usual, which means that the work done tomorrow in FP3 will be particularly important. The drivers ran mainly the hard and the soft tyres today; we had a bit of sliding on the hard but contained degradation on the soft, which means that it should make an interesting race tyre as well".

 

On Saturday 29th October the weather is good on the circuit and the last session of free practice is about to start, before the qualifying that will decide tomorrow’s grid. FP3 will be a key hour for F1 team drivers, so it is likely that teams will try some experiments, especially with regard to the compounds before the qualifying. Attendance is high and everyone seems to be here to support the local hero Sergio Perez. The countdown for FP3 starts and the teams are setting the last things before getting on the track.. Bottas is the first to open the dances and scores, on medium tyres, 1'21"462. Hamilton on soft tyres scores +0.215 in the first sector compared to Bottas’ 28.499 and completes his first push lap in 1'33"965. Bottas and Hamilton try again and Valtteri scores 1'21"041 while his ex-teammate climbs to P1 in 1'20"505. Leclerc starts his first push lap on soft tyres, gets -0.476 compared to Bottas’ 28.520, then loses a bit the rear on the curb at Turn 8 and 9 but manages to hold the car. He scores -0.338 in the second sector compared to Bottas’ 1'00"008 and goes quickest in 1'20"487. Bottas tries again and takes P3 at +0.421 to Leclerc, followed by Schumacher (+0.753), Ricciardo on medium tyres (+1.463), Magnussen on soft tyres (+6.530) and Sainz on soft tyres (+30.676). Sainz tries again and scores a new best in 1'19"884, going first and making his teammate slip one position behind. It is Perez’ turn and the supporters start to scream in his honour. He activates the DRS on the first straight and scores +0.144 in the first sector, +0.285 in the second compared to Sainz’ 59.061, and goes second at +0.354 to Sainz. Zhou on medium tyres takes P8 (+2.816). Russell flies in the S turns in the second sector getting the fastest second sector so far (30.868) and goes first in 1'19"405. Norris on medium tyres is driving thorugh the second sector, gets +1.245, and takes P8 at +1.652 to Russell. Hamilton goes out to the track, and completes a new push lap without improving his position (+1.067). Suddenly, the yellow flag appears in sector 2. Schumacher turned the car into the S turns and had a little lock up of the tyres but he managed to get back to the track. Leclerc completes a new push lap in 1'19"985 and keeps P4. Sainz starts a new lap but before completing it, he ran into Bottas who is not trying an out lap his tyres.

 

"This guy didn’t get out of the way on an out lap, incredible".

 

Says Sainz, raising his foot from the pedal.

 

"Yep, stay focused on the next".

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Vettel on medium tyres gets P14 (+3.815). Tsunoda on medium tyres starts his first lap. He scores +0.674 in the first sector, compared to Russell’s 28.094, +1.549 in the second, and goes P13 in 1'21"883. Stroll on medium climbs to P10 (+2.008). Verstappen on soft tires scores -0.166 in the second sector compared to Russell’s time and gets the fastest middle sector (30.775), and goes straight to the top in 1'19"296. Albon on soft tyres takes P8 (+1.558). It is Alonso’s turn for his first push lap. On medium tyres, he gets P18 in 1'21"828. Gasly on medium tyres keeps P20 (+19.710). He seems not particularly happy with his car’s performance as he complains his car has no grip. Hamilton tries again and scores +1.064 in the first sector but compromises his new push lap as he has lock up front right so he decides to give up. Vettel on medium tyres goes thirteenth (+1.875). Magnussen on soft tyres scores +1.366 in the first sector, +3.638 in the second, and completes in 1'24"168, taking P20. Verstappen improves his own time, getting the fastest first sector in 27.787, scoring -0.126 in the second, -0.178 in the third, and completing the lap in 1'19"118  at 30 minutes to the end of the FP3. Leclerc is driving through the second sector but he decides to give up, as his teammate also does, after scoring +1.561 in the first sector and giving up before completing the second. Alonso on medium tyres also decides not to complete even the first sector. Russell on soft tyres tries again. He flies and scores all fastest sectors, with a time of 27.657 for the first 30.545 for the second, and 20.197 for the third, going quickest in 1'18"399. Hamilton tries again and scores -0.085 in the first, -0.547 in the second, getting the fastest second sector (30.421), and goes second in 1'18"543.

 

"The wind was a bit changeable up there".

 

Says Sainz to his team. Norris tries again on soft tyres. He scores +0.272 in the first, +0.536 in the second, and from P11 he goes fourth (1'19"317), splitting the two Red Bull with Verstappen in P3 and Perez in P5.

 

"Same problem again".

 

Says Verstappen while driving in the first sector. Albon tries a new push lap on soft tyres. He scores +0.849 in the second sector and goes seventh in 1'19"917 while Bottas on soft takes P5 in 1.19.390. Ricciardo on soft tyres scores +0.237 in the first, +0.526 in the second, and goes from P19 to P10 in 1'20"139. Verstappen on soft tyres completes a new lap in 1'18"876 and keeps P3 while Perez keeps P6 (+1.033). Zhou on soft tyres goes P10 (+1.620). Gasly tries again on soft tyres. He scores +0.498 in the first sector but he has to give up this attempt.

 

"Just lost it".

 

Says Pierre to his team. Vettel’s car seems to have some issues, as it does not slow down while the driver would prefer more breaking as he says to his team. Magnussen on soft gets +1.138 in the first but gives up this attempt. Ocon on soft tyres scores +0.514 in the first, +1.031 in the second, and goes tenth in 1'19"960. Verstappen on soft tyres has a normal first, scores +0.287 in the second, and keeps P3 (+0.477). Gasly on soft tyres scores 1.233 in the second and has a little improvement from P20 to P19 in 1'21"203. Leclerc on soft tyres scores +0.382 in the second, and jumps from P11 to P4 (+0.724), while his teammate on soft tyres goes from P9 to P6 (+0.902). At 4 minutes to the end of FP3, there are two Mercedes on the top of the rank, followed by Verstappen. Behind Max, there is Leclerc, who splits the two Red Bulls and keeps Perez in P5, followed by Sainz.

 

"Wow, that’s shocking man".

 

Says Vettel.

 

"You are talking of brakes I assume?"

 

His team replies:

 

"Well, whole car to be honest".

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Therefore, Vettel on soft tyres tries again at three minutes to the end. He gets +0.616 in the first sector, 1.568 in the second, he uses the break a lot and almost spins in turn 13 and a smoke cloud goes up from the bottom of his car. Seb then decides to give up this push lap while Alonso gets P13 (+1.638). The yellow flag appears in sector one but everything comes back as usual immediately. There is still time for a last attempt and Leclerc decides to give it on soft tyres. He scores +0.223 in the first, +0.568 in the second, and completes this push lap in 1'19"523, keeping P4 while the countdown stops. FP3 is over and Russell scored the best lap in 1'18"399, followed by Hamilton (+0.144), Verstappen (+0.477), Leclerc (+0.724), Perez (+0,842), Sainz (+0.902), Norris (+0.918), Bottas (+0.991), Tsunoda (+1.483), and Albon (+1.518). Ocon is in P11 (+1.561), followed by Zhou (+1.620), Alonso (+1.638), Ricciardo (+1.740), Gasly (+1.931), and Stroll (+2.078). Schumacher is in P17 (+2.199) and behind him, there are Latifi (+2.449), Vettel (+2.587) and Magnussen (+2.872). It is time to get serious as the qualifying is about to start. The weather is still good with a track temperature of 49 degrees. Compared to FP3, the focus will be on soft compounds.  Green lights starts the Q1. Magnussen and Schumacher are the first to reach the track, followed by the two Williams on soft tyres, and the Aston Martin cars. Latifi scores 1'32"258 and takes the lead. Albon starts his first best and scores 30.204, three seconds and a tent fewer than Schumacher was in the first sector, 1.05.706 in the second, and goes first in 1'29"644, making Latifi slip one position behind. Schumacher is now third 1'32"819 followed by Magnussen (1'45"162). It is the turn of the two Aston Martin cars and Vettel manages to take P3 in 1'21"141, followed by Stroll (1'21"659). Latifi tries again and climbs to P4 in 1'21"223, while Albon goes first in 1'20"859. Perez is ready to start his lap and activates the DRS, making his Red Bull fly. He scores +0.058 compared to Albon’s 27.963 in the first sector, -0.405 compared to Albon’s 59.870 in the second and goes first in 1'20"408, making Tsunoda, who meanwhile took the lead, slip to P2 (+0.168). Gasly manages to take P5 (+1.432), followed by the two Haas in P6 and P7.

 

"Ah! Sliding so much".

 

Says Verstappen to his team. Ricciardo completes his first lap in 1'43"794 and takes P10 while Leclerc climbs to the top of the rank in 1'19"505. Hamilton is driving through the second sector but his attempt is not going as well as he expected so he raises his foot. Sainz scores 1'54"913 and puts his Ferrari behind Ricciardo’s McLaren. Ten minutes to the end of Q1 and Sainz tries again, going second (1'19"566) while Verstappen is about to start. Max scores -0.146, compared to Leclerc’s 28.161, -0.098 compared to Leclerc’s 58.926, and goes first in 1'19"222, getting the fastest third sector (20.394). Hamilton also was doing his first attempt and finishes a few instant later than Max. Lewis gets the fastest first sector (27.885), scores -0.163 in the second, and takes P3. Russell climbs to P5 and says to his team:

 

"Traffic. Loads of understeer. Locking fronts everywhere".

 

Ocon goes sixth (+0.986), followed by Alonso (+1.040). Bottas gets P3 (+0.301) while his teammate Zhou goes in P11 (+1.248). Perez tries again, scores -0.043 in the first sector, +0.101 in the second, and completes in 1'19"706, climbing from P10 to P6. Currently, drivers at risk of elimination are the two Haas and William cars and Vettel’s Aston Martin. Schumacher completes his lap and goes P6 (+0.473) while Magnussen (+1.071) goes eleventh, putting Tsunoda and Stroll into the drop zone. Tsunoda manages to save himself in P15 (1'20"576). FIA deletes Schumacher time 1'19"695 due to track limits at Turn 2. At 1.15 p.m. to the end, Gasly, who is currently in the drop zone in P13, tries again. He scores -0.012 compared to Verstappen’s 28.015, gets +0.476 in the second compared to Verstappen’s time, and gains just a position (1'20"256). Norris climbs to P7 and puts Ricciardo at risk of elimination in P15. Schumacher without any time scored tries again. He gets -0.135 in the first sector compared to Tsunoda’s 28.173, -0.33 in the second compared to Yuki’s 59.595, and goes P14 in 1'20"419. Albon tries to save himself from the drop zone. He scores -0.240 in the first sector compared to Tsunoda’s, +0.512 in the second but does not improve enough and remains in P18. Ricciardo, who in the meantime slipped in P16, tries again and completes in 1'20"279 taking P13. Vettel tries again, scores -0.016 in the second sector but does not improve his position, keeping P16. His teammate does not improve enough to take a better position. Hamilton tries for the last time in Q1 and scores fastest second sector (30.598) and climbs to the top rank in 1'19"169. Zhou goes P14 in 1'20"283 when the chequered flag starts to wave. Hamilton is in P1 (1'19"169), followed by Verstappen (+0.053), Leclerc (+0.336), Bottas (+0.354), Sainz (+0.397), Russell (+0.414), Perez (+0.537), Norris (+0.688) Tsunoda (+0.738), and Ocon (+0.776). Alonso is in P11 (+0.837), followed by Gasly (+1.087), Ricciardo (+1.110), Zhou (+1.114), and Magnussen (+1.124).  Drivers who did not manage to qualify are Schumacher (+1.250), Vettel (+1.250), Stroll (+1.351), Albon (+1.690), and Latifi (+1.998).

 

"Man I’m afraid we’re out".

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Says the team to Vettel while a disappointed Vettel goes back to the garage. Mick Schumacher explains that he would have been in Q2 if his first lap would not have been deleted due to track limits, as they were doing good in qualifying: 

 

"My first lap got deleted which was enough for P7 at the time, so it would’ve been fine to get into Q2. The pace is there, and we couldn’t quite use it today as the track limits were the main factor. It’s unfortunate because we were on for a good qualifying which would’ve made tomorrow a lot easier, but we’ve managed in the past to go from the back to the front so I’m hopeful".

 

His friend Sebastian Vettel is really disappointed and hoped that after FP3, they could have taken a step forward for qualifying:

 

"Things did not look very promising in FP3 this morning, but we hoped we could take a step forward for qualifying. But that was not the case: we struggled for grip and overall balance - the car would not behave in certain corners. I know from past experience that the podium here is incredible - but that is a long shot right now. But who knows? I am always hopeful that we can do something special in the race tomorrow".

 

His teammate Lance Stroll complains of the same issues with grip and balance that caused their positioning on the grid:


"We have really struggled for grip and balance here, which is why we are down the order this weekend. We have tried several things yesterday and today, but it has not turned our fortunes around. From our starting position, it is going to be a challenge to get into the points tomorrow. However, it is a long race, we perform better in those conditions, and we know that anything can happen".

 

Mike Krack, Team Principal, explains that the team struggled a lot during this weekend especially due to the lack of grip: 

 

"It has been a bit of a struggle for us all weekend, and qualifying today was no exception. Both Lance and Sebastian complained of a lack of overall grip; no matter what changes we made to the car we just did not seem to be able to improve the overall balance and provide our drivers with a car that gave them confidence. With the margins around here so tight, lacking just a few tenths makes a big difference. Today, unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of that fight - but we know our car performs better in race conditions; this Grand Prix is often unpredictable, and both drivers will give it everything to fight for points tomorrow".

 

Alex Albon had some issues related to the track temperature that made him lose grip in Q1 compared to FP3:

 

"The car felt okay and I was feeling good in FP3 but the track was hotter in Q1 and had lost a lot of grip compared to FP3. I think it would have been hard to get into Q2 today, however our lap was looking like it could have got us through. We were on the edge today and on the final lap, with the same corner speed as the lap before, I got massive oversteer; it's really tricky to drive these cars on the edge, especially for us. Tomorrow will be interesting as you think it would be easy to overtake here but it's actually quite difficult and there's some cars here that are faster than we expected".

 

For Nicholas Latifi:

 

"Today's been tricky".

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Although this track is challenging for the team, he was surprised that they have not made a step up in the session: 

 

We knew coming into the weekend that this would be a difficult track for us. It seemed more positive before qualifying, so it's a bit of a surprise not being able to make a step up in the session. We had some issues on the second set of tyres which didn't help as I could've improved my lap time by a few tenths. In the end, we were struggling out there for grip".

 

Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, explains that the team had to make overnight changes and expected to have at least a car in Q2. However, track temperature was hotter in Q1 than FP3, changing therefore the tyres’ behaviour: 

 

"We made some good progress overnight and went into qualifying expecting to be able to get at least one car into Q2. The track was hotter than it had been in FP3, which changed the tyre behaviour a little and slowed the track in the early stages of Q1. However, we adapted to this and Alex was looking strong on his final lap in Q1 until he had a big moment at T7, which ruined his lap. Nicholas struggled more today having been happy yesterday. It's not clear why he was unable to find a step forwards today and we are continuing to look into it. We are not starting the Grand Prix as far forward as we had hoped, however, tomorrow will be a race of attrition as well as pace and we will be looking to move forwards and fighting until the chequered flag".

 

Q2 starts but seems that there is no rush for the teams. The two Mercedes are the first to reach the track after some minutes from the start of the count down and slowly all the drivers start to get back on track. Hamilton starts his first lap in Q2. He activates the DRS, bouncing a bit in the straight, scores 27.732 in the first sector, 58.174 in the second, and completes in 1'18"552, imposing the pace. Russell gets 27.835 in the first sector, is a tenth slower than his teammate in the second (58.229), and scores 18.565 in the third, placing his car in P2. Gasly goes third in 1'20"129 but Tsunoda takes right after the P3 from him.Perez tries his first best on used red tyres and goes fourth (+1.138), while Max scores the fastest first sector (27.627) but without improving enough compared to Hamilton’s time and therefore, Max goes third (1'18"934).  While Bottas goes third (+0.228), Leclerc starts his first lap. Charles gets +0.263 in the first sector, -0.751 in the second, and goes fifth quickest in 1'19"109. Sainz scores +0.505 in the second sector and he takes P7 in 1'19"234. The two Alpines are completing their laps. Alonso goes from P15 to P8 in 1'19"272 while Ocon goes fifth (+0.529). Five minutes to the end of Q2 and the drivers at risk are Tsunoda, Perez, Zhou, Gasly, and Magnussen. Perez on new tyres is ready to try a new best and the supporters start to scream Checo! Checo! Checo, to cheer the driver. He scores -0.110 in the first sector compared to Ricciardo’s 27.867, and -0.650 in the second while all the supporters cheer him. Checo completes his lap in P3 (1'18"615), putting Ricciardo into the drop zone at two minutes to the end of Q2. Sainz tries again and scores +0.143 in the first sector compared to Hamilton’s 27.732, +0.153 compared to Hamilton’s 58.174, gets the fastest third sector in 20.233, and goes from P9 to P2 in 1'18"560. Magnussen tries to save himself from the drop zone. He scores -0.089 in the first sector compared to Alonso’s 28.093, +0.459 compared to Alonso’s 58.689, and goes fourteenth in 1'19"833.  Zhou missed Q3 as he just takes P12. Gasly moves to P14 in 1'19"672, therefore not making it through Q3, while Tsunoda keeps P13 (1'19"589). Alonso goes tenth but he is still at risk of elimination but Ricciardo misses out Q3 by +0.053 to Alonso. Q2 is over and Hamilton is in P1 again (1'18"552), followed by Sainz (+0.08), Russell (+0.013), Verstappen (+0.014), Perez (+0.063), Bottas (+0.210), Ocon (+0.529), Leclerc (+0.557) Norris (+0.567), and Alonso (+0.720) the last driver to get a place in Q3. Ricciardo (+0.053), Zhou (+0.204), Tsunoda (+0.317), Gasly (+0.400), and Magnussen (+0.561) are excluded from Q3.

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"That’s P14".

 

Says the AlphaTauri’s team.

 

"Don’t really know what to say. Just no grip. It was a clean lap just no grip".

 

Says Gasly.

 

"It was so bad, track position".

 

Says Tsunoda.

 

"You’re P11, I’m afraid, P11. Fifty milliseconds to Alonso".

 

Says McLaren’s team to Ricciardo. 

 

"I tried but it wasn’t enough today".

 

Says Zhou. Daniel Ricciardo finds that Q3 was achievable for him: 

 

"I think it was certainly promising in some areas and we had decent pace. The first run in Q2 was decent. There were a few places to improve - a couple of corners in the middle sector - but I felt like it was definitely achievable. On the second run, though, we just came out in loads of traffic and the out-lap was compromised: it was just too slow and so the brakes weren't in and tyres weren't in. We needed to prepare better for that, and it ultimately cost us. I think things still look encouraging for tomorrow. We should have some pace, but I would have loved to have shown a bit more and got into Q3 today".

 

Zhou Guanyu says that he did the best he could and was very close to reaching Q3 but he missed it out just for two-tenths: 

 

"In terms of today’s qualifying, I feel I did the best I could: in the end, I was very close to getting into Q3 again, being just two tenths off. I struggled the whole weekend so far and it hasn’t been easy to have a smooth, trouble-free session, especially on a track that is not among the easiest ones to drive. Sector one has been the toughest one for me to face today, so to get this close to Q3 with my final lap was a positive: I tried and eventually I didn’t make it, but at least this time I feel there was nothing left out there. It’s great to see Valtteri being so fast today, and overall, the progress both cars have been making. The gap for the top ten is quite close, and I think we will be in a good position for fighting for points tomorrow, so let’s see how it goes".

 

Yuki Tsunoda is sad that they were not able to reach Q3:

 

"It's a bit of a shame that we didn't make it through to Q3 today. If you look at the pace in the practice sessions it was really strong, so I think we should've been up there. The track position on our final push lap in Q2 wasn't great, which meant I couldn't get the car up to temperature and it compromised the lap. We need to make the most of any opportunity we can tomorrow and look towards the points".

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Pierre Gasly underlines that he had a lot of issues during FP3 due to the lack of grip: 

 

"We started the weekend really well yesterday, but since FP3 we've started to struggle a lot, sliding all over the place. Normally we're able to find solutions ahead of Quali, but we haven't been able to this time. I was pretty happy with my final lap this afternoon, but unfortunately the pace just wasn't there. We'll need to try something tomorrow, it's a tricky track here and our long-run pace is looking stronger, so for sure there's an opportunity in the race to make our way forward".

 

Says Claudio Balestri, AlphaTauri’s Chief Engineer:

 

"Yesterday the FP2 session was dedicated to tyre testing, for this reason we decided to complete some runs this morning to better understand the tyre degradation on the current compounds, whilst at the same time we have tried to optimise our cars for Qualifying. On Yuki's car we showed a good level of performance, however on Pierre's we found more difficulties and it wasn't an easy session for that side of the garage. Before Quali we tried to optimise our performance, with the usual fine tuning on the setup on Yuki's car, whereas on Pierre's we decided to replace some parts and we also tried a different strategy to optimise the tyre preparation. We were able to get through to Q2 with both cars without any particular issue, but then in the next session we didn't have the level of performance to enter the top 10, with both Yuki and Pierre completing similar lap times to qualify respectively in P13 and P14. Now we focus the attention on the race. We know in Mexico that altitude is a real challenge for all the car's systems, so tomorrow we will try to do our best to maximise the possibilities available to get some points".

 

Kevin Magnussen explains that they had a challenging weekend especially for FP1 and the test tyres:

 

"We’ve obviously had a bit of a tough weekend with FP1 and then with the test tires which you have to use in FP2, so I got very little running, but I actually think we were alright considering everything. We changed the front wing, rear wing and floor from FP3 to qualifying but the aero balance changed completely and we were completely off so we had to correct it, but we got through to Q2 which was good. This qualifying didn’t matter as much because of the five-place grid penalty, so we’ll start near the back but let’s see what we’re able to do".

 

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, says that this was team’s first time into Q2 in Mexico:

 

"The good thing is that for the first time we made it into Q2 in Mexico. Now, with the penalty, Kevin needs to start from P19 which is not fantastic, but I think Mick showed what the car is capable of in his second run in Q1, on his first lap. He had a time that would’ve put him comfortably into the top 10. He was off the track limits, which didn’t give him an advantage, but you know, we were over it and you get your time deleted. On his second lap, on the same set of tires, he couldn’t recover because the tire wasn’t there anymore. It’s disappointing to end up like this but for tomorrow I think the car has got good pace in it and hopefully we can make some positions up like we did in Austin".

 

Green light turns on again for the last session of qualifying. Checo ’supporters cheer him when his car drives by near the grandstands. Perez opens the dances. He scores 27.613 in the first sector, activates the DRS, drives through the second sector in 57.833, getting both the fastest first and second sectors, and goes first in 1'18"153. Sainz is a bit slower than Perez in the first sector (27.662), scores 58.141 in the second, and gets the fastest third sector (20.233), taking P2 (1'18"315). Leclerc takes P3 in 1'18"816 at five-tenths to his teammate. Verstappen gets the fastest first, second and third sectors with 27.525, 57.770, and 20.117, and imposes the pace with an incredible 1'17"947. It is the two Mercedes’ turn. Hamilton scores the fastest second sector 57.756 and goes second in 1'18"094 while his teammate George scores 57.856 in the second but goes quicker than Lewis in the last sector, taking P2 from him (+0.132). However, due to track limits at turn 3 lap 16, Hamilton’s time is deleted.

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"I’ve got drivability issues mate. power dropping out".

 

Says Lewis.

 

"Ok, copy. We’ll have a look".

 

And the seven-times World Champion has to try again. In the meantime, Alonso scores 1'18"939 and takes P7, followed by Norris (+1.499), and Ocon (+1.853). Perez tries again at 2 minutes and a half to the end. He gets +0.060 compared to Max’s 27.525, +0.096 compared to Max’s 57.770, and takes P3 (1'18"128). Sainz scores +0.476 in the first sector, +0.481 in the second, and misses out the P3 for four-tenths. (1'18"418). Leclerc gets +0.418 in the first sector, +0.565 in the second, and takes P5, behind Carlos (1'18"555). Verstappen scores fastest first sector (27.490), -0.036 in the second, putting a bit more distance between him and Russell, who is temporarily in P2, and takes P1 in 1'17"775. Hamilton tries again and is fastest than anybody in the middle sector (30.069), taking back P3 (1'18"084) while Russell goes quickest through the middle part of the lap (30.063) and keeps P2 (1'19"376). The chequered flag starts to wave and Q3 is over. Verstappen will start the race from the pole position, followed by the two Mercedes cars, with Russell in P2 (+0.304), and Hamilton in P3 (+0.309). Perez is fourth (+0.353), followed by Sainz (+0.576), Bottas (+0.626), Leclerc (+0.780), Norris (+0.946), Alonso (+1.164), and Ocon (+1.235). To be on pole here is amazing, says Max Verstappen: 

 

"It was a tricky start to qualifying as the track was a bit warmer than FP3, I didn’t expect to be on pole here. Around this track it’s hard to nail a lap and we’ve been struggling to find a good balance in the car. After practice we made quite a few adjustments and we got into a better rhythm. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it’s a long run into to turn one so we need a good start, I think we have a quick car and that’s what is most important. It’s incredible to see the passion of all the fans here, it will be good to have Checo up there with me tomorrow, I hope we can have a fun race with a lot of action".

 

Sergio Perez explains that he had some electrical issues since qualifying started: 

 

"We had an electrical issue from the beginning of qualifying - it meant I had no reference on lap times, no DRS zones and no information on my brake balance, I had to do everything myself. It was tricky because I was pretty much blind in qualifying, I didn’t know where I was through the lap and it was a big mess for me. But if I look back, I was about to get knocked out in Q1 and Q2 because of the problem, so to come this close to pole is good in the circumstances. P4 isn’t where I wanted to be, we could have been a lot higher, P3 would have been ideal. It is what it is though, we just have to look forward to tomorrow and try to have the perfect race, the atmosphere is amazing and we need to come back stronger. I will require a massive start but I still believe it is possible tomorrow. I am aware of all the effort people are putting into supporting me this weekend, it is a massive feeling to race at home".

 

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal and CEO, is satisfied with Verstappen’s final lap after three incredible qualifying sessions:

 

"After an incredibly tight three qualifying sessions, it was a remarkable final lap from Max. To be the only car to dip into the 1'17"0 and achieve pole position by over 0.3 of a second is another fantastic drive. 2nd and 4th on the grid were covered by just under half a tenth and that sets us up for a thrilling race tomorrow. It’s a long run down to turn 1, providing plenty of opportunity for the drivers. The crowd will no doubt also play a factor, particularly for Checo, they have been fantastic today and with his start on the 2nd row, we look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings".

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George Russell finds that his team well deserved today’s results: 

 

"It feels like the team deserved more today - the car has been great this weekend and it's a testament to the hard work that has been going in for so long. At this high altitude, drag is less of a factor for us on the straights, and the update we brought to Austin is performing well. We saw last week with Lewis what the car was capable of, and this weekend, it felt like pole position was there for us. I'm kicking myself about the final run, but at the end of the day, there are no points for qualifying and I'm excited to be back on the front row. We will be going for it in the race and our long runs looked decent yesterday, so I'm excited to go racing and see what we've got".

 

 Lewis Hamilton finds that today was the best qualifying so far:

 

"I'm proud of the team - this is the best qualifying we've had all year. It just shows that you can never give up, and that perseverance is the way forward, so a big thank you to everybody here and back at the factory. In terms of the laps, they were pretty closely matched, but obviously when the first one is deleted, you have to make sure the second is completely clean. There was still more performance in it but it's great to be so close to the Red Bull cars after we have been chasing them each weekend this year. So, we will just keep pushing, and I'm pretty happy starting from P3. It's a long way down to turn one...".

 

For him, having a better perfomance was possible but he is satisfied with the positions both cars achieved. But Says Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal:

 

"We had a mega car today in FP3, as we saw from the lap times in that session, but then conditions changed a bit and it really closed up at the front. All the way through the session, we couldn't really match Verstappen in the stadium section, but George's lap was zero to him on the final run until the lock up at Turn 12. Still, those are good starting positions for tomorrow - and there will be opportunity in the race. We brought our final upgrade to Austin, which is working well, and we have been at our best in high downforce configuration this year - so slowly but surely, we are creeping back to the front".

 

The trackside engineering director at the Mercedes, Andrew Shovlin, finds that:

 

"After the final practice this morning it looked like we might be in the fight for pole; in the end, the gap at the end to Max was a bit bigger than we had hoped for".

 

Mercedes’ pace, especially in the last sector, was close to Red Bull’s one but track conditions prevented them to match it completely: 

 

"We were very close on pace to him into the final sector but couldn't quite match him there in the hotter afternoon conditions. Overall, though, we can take encouragement from the way the car is working with the recent updates. Our long runs had looked competitive yesterday and we do tend to race a bit better than we qualify, so there is still everything to play for tomorrow. We're lacking a little bit of a straightline speed to the Red Bulls so having both lined up behind Max may be no bad thing".

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Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, is satisfied with today’s results but the real challenge will come tomorrow: 

 

"Today was a very good day, we did our job really well - but the challenge is to finish the job tomorrow. It’s our best Saturday result since Miami, nearly six months ago, and it shows that everyone in the team is still pushing hard to finish the season on a high. We made the most of the upgrades we brought in the last couple of races and we gave ourselves a good chance for tomorrow. Zhou also had a good qualifying, missing out on Q3 by a small margin: still, this is his best qualifying since the summer break and he’ll have a good opportunity to add some points to his tally in the race. Now we have to focus on tomorrow: doing our best job, both on track, on the pitwall and in the garage, to bring home a good result".

 

For Valtteri Bottas today is: 

 

"We had a really good qualifying, on top of a weekend in which we have consistently been in the top ten. It’s a good result ahead of tomorrow and I’m personally pleased with having delivered the best lap of the whole weekend when it mattered, at the end of Q3. The car was good from the get-go, all we needed was to refine the setup to extract even more performance; the track layout did help, with slow-speed corners that really work well for us. I’m optimistic for tomorrow: we need points for our battle in the championship and we’re in an excellent position to have a good fight. It’s F1, so everything can happen, but we’re up there and that’s what matters today".

 

Carlos Sainz is not particularly satisfied:

 

"It was a difficult qualifying. Riding the kerbs was very tricky for us, especially in the first two sectors, which meant it was challenging to put together the perfect lap. I tried everything out there today to get a better result but couldn't make it. Nonetheless, the weekend is not over and we will fight hard all the way to the chequered flag".

 

 Charles Leclerc is of the same mind:

 

"We had a tough qualifying, losing quite a bit of time down the straights and not having a great feeling in terms of drivability. We need to investigate the reasons for this, so that we can improve and challenge our competitors tomorrow". 

 

Says Laurent Mekies, Ferrari’s Racing Director:

 

"It was a tight qualifying today. This season, we’ve got used to being higher up the grid, but today we had to settle for 5th and 7th. It’s probably fair to say that we were not totally satisfied with the behaviour of our cars on this track, and that there are perhaps a few things we still need to crack around here to be more competitive. That being said, we think the potential is there. The gaps were relatively small and at some stage in Q2 it felt like we could be in the fight for better positions, but as it turned out we will start behind our competitors tomorrow. It’s a long and tough race here, we have seen many cars struggling more than usual with a lot of sliding and it could be a race full of surprises with hopefully some opportunities for us to bring home plenty of points. We focus tonight on trying to understand how to extract a bit more from the package we have here, and we will try our best to be in the fight tomorrow".

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Lando Norris is satisfied with today’s P8:

 

"I'm very happy, it was a good day today and I'm pleased with P8. I did a very good lap in Q3 to put us ahead of both the Alpines, which is the best we could do in the conditions. We're too far off the teams ahead, but that's usual, so I'm happy because we've given ourselves a good chance going into tomorrow's race. It's a long run down to Turn One, many things can happen. We'll switch our concentration to the race and focus on having a clean start, getting away, getting our heads down and having a clean race from then on".

 

Andreas Seidl, McLaren Team Principal, adds: 

 

"Given how tricky a session it was, we're happy with P8 and P11 in qualifying today at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Lando maximised pretty much everything with a strong lap at the end to finish P8 and we're also very pleased with Daniel's performance for P11. He's felt a lot more comfortable this weekend and he's starting in a good position to fight for points. Unfortunately, his last shot in Q2 was compromised by hitting heavy traffic in the last sector of the out lap, which didn't allow for optimum preparation. We're expecting a challenging and tense race tomorrow, as it always is here on this high altitude, low grip track. Reliability will also play an important role but with the choices we've made for the car, we feel well prepared for the battle. We're expecting to give these magnificent fans an exciting Mexico City Grand Prix to enjoy".

 

Fernando Alonso finds today more challenging than expected but both cars achieved good positions for tomorrow’s race:

 

"It was a little bit more difficult than expected today but we are still quite pleased to be in ninth position on the grid for tomorrow's race. It's good we are on the clean side of the grid and just behind Lando [Norris]. In general, I didn't feel that fast and struggled with the balance of the car. I was tenth in Q2 and so I think ninth was potentially our maximum today. With the unique temperatures and altitude of this race, we can't take anything for granted. That's the same for everyone this weekend and we'll do our best to take points at the chequered flag".

 

Esteban Ocon says that the team maximised the cars’ potential but they probably could have done a bit more:

 

"It's a good team Qualifying result with both Fernando and I inside the top ten, which is always our minimum goal. We did well to maximise the potential of the car today even though I think there was a bit of performance left on the table in Q3 after a solid Q1 and Q2. Nevertheless, it's all very close, we're in the mix for points, and we know tomorrow will be a fight. We'll need to be at our best as a team to come out with good points from the race. I know we'll be ready for all possibilities".

 

Finally, Alan Permane, Alpine’s Sporting Director, is of the same mind and finds that they could have done more in Q3: 

 

"On the face of it, we feel we could have done marginally better than ninth and tenth in Qualifying. That said, we can draw on the positives as both cars are back in Q3 and, importantly, we're well placed for our championship battle. Esteban showed good improvements from Free Practice 3 from earlier today to put himself into Q3, recovering well from last weekend's disappointment. We decided to run Fernando in the middle of the session in Q3 on a clear track and I think that worked out quite well for him. Tomorrow's race will certainly be challenging, as it always is at this circuit, as it's tough on the brakes, power unit and cooling systems. First we need to see the chequered flag and we'll count on our strong race pace from both drivers to consolidate our championship position".

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On Sunday, stands are full and there is a party atmosphere, at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Home hero Checo Perez will start fourth on the grid, behind his teammate and pole-sitting Verstappen and the Mercedes cars of Russell and Hamilton. Verstappen and Perez are both on soft tyres, while the two Mercedes opt for mediums. Looking at the back, Haas driver Magnussen starts nineteenth with a five-place grid penalty for an engine change, with Aston Martin’s Stroll last on the grid, having been docked three places for his crash with Alpine rival Alonso in Austin. Lights out and the 71-lap race starts, with Max Verstappen who immediately goes first well defending from the two Mercedes drivers down to Turn 1, while Hamilton overtakes Russell in the middle of the first chicane to take P2. Perez makes a move on Russell exiting the chicane and, after getting out of the slipstream, passes on the outside of his rival at Turn 4 and moves into the podium places. Sainz maqnages to mantain his fifth position, but it is not the same for Bottas who drops back to eighth, behind the other F1-75 of Leclerc and between the Alpines of Alonso and Ocon. Lando Norris ends the top 10. In the first stages of the race, Hamilton is near the leader Verstappen, with just a little more than a second of detachment, before he goes back by a few tenths, also because of the engine cooling due to the altitude and warm temperatures of the track. You just need to try and break this tow. You’re doing a great job, was the message to Verstappen shortly afterwards, with almost two seconds separating himself and Hamilton by Lap 10, when attention started to turn to the pit stops. In the midfield, Gasly overtakes Stroll under braking for Turn 4 on lap 14, but the stewards state that the Frenchman forced the Aston Martin driver off the track and give him a five-second time penalty. Verstappen continues to slip away from the rest, while Perez is six seconds off the lead, and Russell 7.5 seconds; Sainz and Leclerc struggle with the pace of the Red Bulls and Mercedes. Around lap 20, Verstappen explains to his team that he has some tyre problems: the left front doesn’t want to turn, while on lap 24 his team mate Perez is the first of the front-runners to pit, swapping his softs for mediums; the stop lasts five seconds due to a sticking rear-left tyre. Verstappen pits two laps later, releasing Hamilton and Russell into the lead. Perez emerges behind the Ferraris, while Verstappen in P3, 20 seconds off the new leader Hamilton, who reports that my tyres are okay. However, on lap 30, the Mercedes team decides it is time to pit for Hamilton, who switches from mediums to hards, while Russell asks to extend his stint in order to mount a set of softs in the closing stages of the race. the British driver now leads Verstappen by 10 seconds, with Hamilton six seconds back.

 

Russell’s pits on lap 35 to switch to the hard tyres, emerging fourth, around 16 seconds off the lead. Hamilton reports that the hards are not as comfortable as the mediums, and Russell soon joins him on the radio to question the strategy; the Mercedes team reassure both drivers that the pace will be better soon. Further back, the Ferraris continue their race, while Ocon and Alonso overtake Bottas goint into P7 and P8 respectively. Norris is still on the final point place. On lap 51, Daniel Ricciardo tips Tsunoda into the air at Turn 6, so the stewards hand him a 10-second time penalty. Tsunoda pits to retire his damaged car. Ricciardo passe salso his team mate Norris, Bottas, Alonso and Ocon, moving up to P7 and doing all he can to build a margin and emerge with some points. Verstappen leads Hamilton by more than 10 seconds, while Perez is third, trying to give the Red Bull another one-two finish. The two Mercedes driver are not still happy about the strategy, despite the many reassurances from the pit wall that the race will come their way. At the end, Max Verstappen wins the Mexico Grand Prix with a 15-second margin on Hamilton, claiming his 14th victory of the 2022 season. This secures another record for the Dutchman as he now has the most wins in a single Formula 1 campaign, more than the 13 achieved by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel in 2013. Hamilton finishes seconds, while Perez third, gaining the podium in his home race. Russell pits with two laps to run to switch to the softs and score an extra point with the fastest lap. Sainz and Leclerc finish a minute behind Verstappen, while Ricciardo builds a 10-second margin over Ocon for P7, and Norris and Bottas ends the points area. A failure with six laps to go ends Alonso’s afternoon, while Gasly and Albon miss out on points for AlphaTauri and Williams, with Zhou having to settle for P13 in the second Alfa Romeo, followed by the two Aston Martins. Also Haas is out of the points, with its drivers in P16 and P17, while Latifi the last driver to take the chequered flag. Verstappen wins the Grand Prix by a margin, thanks to the grip of the Medium tires, which does not allow Hamilton, who closed the final part of the race with the hard ones, to trouble the Dutchman. Red Bull Racing's two-time world champion driver triumphs in the thirty-fourth race of his career, the third consecutive race after the previous Japanese and U.S. Grand Prix, as well as the fourteenth victory in the season, a new all-time record in the category, beating that of the most wins achieved in a single championship by the two Germans Sebastian Vettel, also with Red Bull Racing, in the 2013 season, and by Michael Schumacher with Ferrari in that of 2004, confirming his victory for the second consecutive edition of the Mexico City Grand Prix after the inaugural one in 2021.

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Verstappen becomes the driver with the most triumphs in a Grand Prix held in Mexico, with four wins, after winning the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Grand Prix of the same name, along with the first two editions of this race. The Dutchman has won four times at the Red Bull Ring circuit, the site of the Austrian Grand Prix, twice in the 2021 season thanks to the holding of the Styrian Grand Prix, but until the holding of this event he had never won on the same track in four different years. For the Austrian team it is the ninth consecutive victory, equaling the record for the most wins in a row in the 2013 season, two lengths off McLaren's all-time record of eleven wins in a row in the 1988 season, the ninety-first overall victory in its history, as well as the sixteenth of the season, a new record for the Austrian manufacturer, as well as becoming the team with the most victories, four, along with Lotus, considering it the 1962 edition of the race not valid for the world championship, in a Grand Prix held in Mexico, having won the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Grand Prix of the same name, along with the first two editions of this race, again with Verstappen. The team is confirmed victorious for the second consecutive edition of the race with engines under a different name, Red Bull Powertrains, abbreviated RBPT, unlike its last triumph in 2021 powered by Honda powertrains, as well as equaling the record of nineteen races finished on the podium set at the turn of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Hamilton, second, on podium number 190 in his career, gets his eighth podium finish of the season, more than he has achieved in the last two seasons with McLaren, with still two races left to go before he can win at least one Grand Prix in every season he has participated in since his debut in the 2007 season. Only Verstappen and Leclerc have finished better than Hamilton in the last 12 races since the Canadian Grand Prix. Pérez, third, again takes the second position in the drivers' standings, with a five-point margin over Leclerc. Russell, fourth, gets the fastest lap on the last lap, his second consecutive lap after the one he got in the previous U.S. Grand Prix. The Ferraris with Sainz Jr. fifth and Leclerc sixth finish in the same positions, but reversed, for the second consecutive edition of the race. For the Spaniard it is the best result on the Mexican circuit, completing more than two laps in the race for the first time since the Singapore Grand Prix, while the Monegasque, in his 100th Grand Prix in the category, ends a career record streak of five podium finishes. Ricciardo, seventh, despite a ten-second penalty for causing a collision with Tsunoda, gets points for only the once in the last eight races, while Norris' ninth position is his best result at the Mexican track.

 

McLaren is seven points behind Alpine in the fight for fourth in the constructors' standings. Ocon finishes eighth and scores points in a race held in Mexico for the first time since 2017, his second points finish in the last five races. Bottas, tenth, ends the longest streak for a driver on the grid without scoring points, having not scored any in 10 races since the British Grand Prix. Winner Verstappen leads the drivers' standings by the highest margin ever over second, teammate Pérez, who is 136 points behind. It is also the widest gap ever recorded in the history of the world championship when there are two Grands Prix to go. The Dutchman marks the record for the most points scored in a single season, 416, finding himself 31 lengths behind the total points scored by Russell and Hamilton in the season, breaking the record held by Hamilton himself in which he scored 413 points in the 2019 season. Verstappen won the Grand Prix starting from pole position and holding the position throughout the first lap, with the pole-starting author having not finished on the podium in any of the last four races at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez. The top three finishers repeat the exact same podium finish as in the inaugural 2021 edition, along with the fifth and sixth positions achieved by Ferrari. Such an event, for the top three finishers, had only occurred for the 1964 and 1965 editions of the British Grand Prix with Jim Clark first, Graham Hill second and John Surtees third, for the 1998 and 1999 editions of the Spanish Grand Prix with Mika Häkkinen first, David Coulthard second and Michael Schumacher third, for the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Bahrain Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel first, Kimi Räikkönen second and Romain Grosjean third, for the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Spanish Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton first, Valtteri Bottas second and Max Verstappen third, and for the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Spanish Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton first, Max Verstappen second and Valtteri Bottas third. McLaren mechanics set the season record for time for a pit stop during a Ricciardo pit stop, with 1.98 seconds. The previous record belonged to Red Bull Racing for a pit stop by Pérez with 2.09 seconds in the Dutch Grand Prix. During the race, two times are cancelled by the stewards to drivers for not respecting the track limits: specifically, they are those of Charles Leclerc (at Turn 2) and Fernando Alonso (at Turn 14). Max Verstappen won his 14th Grand Prix of the season, setting a new record in Mexico City:

 

"The first stint of the race was critical today and we managed to stay in the lead after turn one. We were obviously on a different strategy to the cars around us and we had to look after our tyres a lot. We had quite good pace on the soft tyre even though it wears a bit more, we then drove the medium to the end. Winning 14 races in a season is incredible, we’re having an amazing year as a team and that’s the most important thing. We keep on pushing and we want to win as many races as possible, it’s really special what we are all achieving together this year".

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Home favourite Sergio Perez has mixed emotions after the race, as he gained the podium finish at his home race but was penalized by a slow pit stop that hurt his chances of getting second place:

 

"It feels good to be on the podium but I wanted more today, I am a little bit disappointed. We could have finished second definitely but we had a poor pitstop, which really prevented us doing the undercut and being closer to Lewis. The hard tyre didn’t work for him initially but once he got them going it just didn’t work for me, then I was looking after my tyres and there was no more in them. We were planning to do a two-stop race but degradation was better than expected. This place in unbelievable, it is an amazing crowd here and I will never forget these moments because of the people. It is certainly, if not the best, one of the best crowds in Formula One - I am very privileged to have this support. I just want to go and win the next two races now, we have had the pace in the last few races, so now I just want to put it all together, cut out the small problems and then I believe we can do that".

 

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal and CEO, is very pleased with today’s result:

 

"Both drivers were impeccable today and we got our strategy absolutely right. The soft and medium tyres were definitely the quickest. After both drivers’ first pitstop, we saw that the tyres were in really good hape so it was a no brainer to put on the mediums. Checo had a little bit of trouble with his pitstop, but his recovery was phenomenal and to see both drivers on the podium is incredible. We are pleased we got it right today and of course, Max was truly remarkable. Frankly, Max is racing to another level, he’s raised the bar so high all season and to break the record with 14 race wins is extraordinary, especially with a couple of races still to go. He deserves all the plaudits that are coming his way and his drive today demonstrates his maturity and ability to read a race and control it in a very convincing manner".

 

Lewis Hamilton focuses on the positives as he crossed the line second for Mercedes behind winner Max Verstappen:

 

"It was a good race for me today, although we didn't choose the right tyre strategy in hindsight. Nonetheless, to be this close to Red Bull makes me very proud of my team and I'm very grateful to them for the hard work they've put in to keep on moving us forward. The race pace generally was quite good, but we were offset on tyres for most of the race. Maybe we should have started on the soft, but obviously we went for the medium, then took the hard to make the one stop work; it looked pretty good on the first stint, but then the Red Bull was just too quick for us - and had the better tyre strategy today as well. Congratulations to Max on his win and it feels great to be back up on the podium here in Mexico. We're getting closer to the front, and we will continue to push. The last couple of races, we've taken a big step forward with the car and I hope we will continue like this for the final two".

 

George Russell complains on the strategy:

 

"I had a good start but lost two positions in the first lap and our strategy with medium - hard was not the right one in hindsight. I couldn't get the hard tyre working as there was just no grip. Red Bull and Ferrari both started on the softs and we need to understand why the other teams opted for the soft as that looked like the right strategy for this race. So that's clearly our learning for today, as we might have been able to get closer, being on the same strategy. Nevertheless, as a team we're making progress and I'm very happy about that. I'm intrigued to see how Brazil goes, although I don't think we will be quite as competitive as in Mexico, but still a huge positive takeaway from this weekend and a great job by the whole team".

 

Toto Wolff admits they got it wrong:

 

"Lewis and George did an amazing job today. We discussed whether the soft-hard was a viable strategy, but we didn't really have the soft-medium strategy on our radar going into the race. So, we just got it wrong today in hindsight, but we still showed strong performance and secured valuable points. Our performance gap to Red Bull today was small, and we had a good margin to Ferrari - however, we need to be careful about jumping to quick conclusions about the latter and wait to see what happens in Brazil. Our goals are still to win a race and fight for second in the constructors' championship: we want to demonstrate that our car is fast and the whole team put just so much work into upgrading the car, it would be fantastic for them if we can make it happen for one of the last two remaining races this year".

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Andrew Shovlin is happy for the progresses of the car but says that the result would have been better with a different strategy:

 

"It's a peculiar mix of emotions after a weekend like this; we are demonstrating progress with the car and the update that we brought to Austin has clearly delivered a good step in performance. The team in Brixworth can also be very satisfied with the work they had done preparing and optimising the power unit for what is a very difficult track, given the altitude; this has been one of our strongest performances of the season, so it's clear that they have done a great job on that side. We also can't fault the commitment of the drivers and the whole team towards the end of what has been a very long and very tough season, even when giving everything each weekend still isn't quite enough to deliver a win. If we could run the race again, we'd have started on the soft tyre; we knew that a soft-medium one stop was a possibility, but we did not expect it to be quite so comfortable. Our strategy relied on their mediums dropping towards the end of the race, but that simply didn't happen. On a positive note, we have closed the gap to Ferrari, and we'll keep chasing them until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi. So, we have two races to go, a few days to regroup before the sprint race in Brazil, and still plenty to work for".

 

Ferrari were struggling for performance and finished far from the podium places. Sainz admits they had no pace:

 

"Today we did everything we could to get the best result possible, but unfortunately the pace was not there, so P5 was the maximum we could aim for. From my side, despite the overall picture, I had a good race and the feeling inside the car was positive this weekend. We will try to build on that ahead of Brazil and make sure we are ready for the last two races". 

 

Charles Leclerc will end the season with the most pole positions of any driver, but after five podium finishes in a row, he did not managed to earn the sixth:

 

"It was a lonely race. Carlos and I were lapping together, too quick for the midfield but too slow for the front runners. We stuck to our strategy, focused on ourselves and got the most out of our package, but we were just too far off and we have to understand why so that we can work on being more consistent. As always, it was amazing to see so many fans around the track in Mexico City and to feel their passion".

 

 Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s Team Principal & Managing Director, says there are a lot of things to improve:

 

"It was a very difficult weekend for us and it was clear that we were already struggling yesterday in qualifying and that was accentuated even more in today’s race. There is a lot that needs to improve, but when faced with a difficult weekend like this, it is essential to bring the cars home and pick up as many points as possible. Charles and Carlos did the best they could and the way they tackled the first few corners after the start was exemplary. It is vitally important that we improve in the last two races so as to end the season to the best of our ability".

 

Daniel Ricciardo picked up a 10-second time penalty for a contact with Yuki Tsunoda, but pulled off a series of overtakes to come home seventh, building a sufficient margin to keep the place even after his penalty was applied:

 

"It was a rollercoaster of a race. Ultimately, I'm happy. I wish it was more of a smooth race in terms of you never want to have contact, and you never want to receive a penalty. So that's a little bit of a cloud over what was otherwise a good day, but ultimately it still didn't change the outcome for us. I think the penalty was more than enough. I saw a replay and I'll still take the majority of the responsibility, but it isn't like I came in sideways and locked-up, I was just there. All he had to do was just miss the apex a bit and we would both get through that corner. I'll take it but I don't think it's something I need to beat myself up over. I was pretty down when Tom [Stallard] came on the radio to tell me I had a 10 second penalty because it's the one race where we had pace and I had a chance, but I still felt that I had pace on the Soft so I just got my head down and got on with it. Lando let me by, so that let me keep attacking, and when I saw the Alpines right in front of me, I was like 'alright, it's game-on here'. I knew if I kept George [Russell] behind me and didn't lose the few seconds to the blue flag, I had a real chance. That was tense for a few laps - but then he pulled in for fastest lap and that gave me a bit of breathing space. All-in-all, very happy and huge shout out to the team, especially the pit crew for the 1.98-second pitstop - the fastest of the season".

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Norris lost two places at the start but managed to come home in the points:

 

"Today was a good race. I lost a couple of places at the start. It wasn't a bad launch, but it wasn't the best, and it's a long run down to Turn One. I had to box when I did to cover Yuki, going onto the Hard tyres but they weren't the tyres to be on! I lost a lot of time compared to Daniel who went onto the Softs, which was a much, much quicker strategy in the end. I'm still happy because I think we did a good job and got the most out of it that we could. The team scored some good points and we out-scored Alpine, which is the goal. We'll head back to the factory to work hard ahead of Brazil in two weeks' time".

 

Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s Team Principal, is satisfied with earning these important points for the fight for P4 with Alpine:

 

"This was an intense Sunday for our team at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. After losing positions at the start, a great job from the drivers, excellent pitstops and brave strategy calls got us back into a competitive position, eventually finishing P7 and P9. Important points in our battle with Alpine for fourth place in the Constructors' Championship. A special mention to Daniel - Driver of the Day - who had a very strong weekend after a tough time in Austin. He's been more comfortable in the car from the first run here in Mexico, and put in a great final stint which, combined with an aggressive strategy, produced an impressive result. Also, another fantastic job by the pit crew to record the two fastest stops of the race, with our 1.98-second stop for Daniel being the fastest of any team so far this season. Thanks to the entire team - those here at the track, back at the factory and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP - for producing a reliable car for these unique conditions and managing a very complex race. We've got a short rest now and then we go again into the last double-header of 2022".

 

Ocon finished in the points:

 

"It was a tough race for the team today. We were on for an important, double points finish before Fernando's unfortunate retirement. On my side, we were struggling with cooling issues towards the latter half of the race and we had to manage that, which meant we couldn't match the pace of the McLarens at the end, narrowly missing out on catching Daniel's [Ricciardo] time penalty. We come away with some points, but we need to ensure these issues don't happen again if we are to stay fourth in the championship".

 

Fernando Alonso was running seventh when started to suffer from a loss of power and had to retire his car at Turn 1 inside the final 10 laps to register his third retirement in five races:

 

"Unfortunately we couldn't finish the race today after a strong start, good stints, which meant we looked set to score some good points. I felt very fast in both stints, first on the Mediums and then with the Hard tyres. However, we lost a cylinder on the engine with 18 laps to go, which eventually forced us to stop the car despite our best efforts. Austin and Mexico were two very good weekends for me, and it's a pity we didn't score the points we deserved. We have two more race weekends to go, and we need to make sure we score more points in our battle for fourth position".

 

Otmar Szafnauer’s goal is to rectify the car’s issues going into the final two races of the season:

 

"This race was always going to prove challenging with the unique conditions in Mexico City and we leave here disappointed in the fact we only had one car see the chequered flag. Unfortunately, Fernando suffered a cylinder failure on lap 52 and he was having to manage on five cylinders - meaning a significant lack of power - to try and remain inside the points. Eventually the problem was not sustainable, and he had to retire the car. Esteban faced a challenge with some cooling issues from quite early on in the race where he had to lift and coast and therefore, he sacrificed significant lap time. He did well to bring the car home in eighth place and score some valuable points for the team. We know reliability is going to be the key in our championship battle and it's something that has let us down after showing such a strong level of performance in recent races. I'm confident we can rectify these issues going into the final two races of the season".

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Valtteri Bottas scored for the first time in 10 races as he took the final point:

 

"We got one point out of this race, and this is a positive, but we expected more today. We were doing okay until the second stint: when we switched to the hard tyre, we just couldn’t get them to work. I never got them up to temperature and it was a bit of a struggle until the end. We thought the hards would be a good race tyre, but it wasn’t to be. It’s a shame as in the first stint we were on the pace with the cars around us, but at least we have something to show for it today and we increased our advantage in the championship".

 

Zhou had a solid race, but starting down the field he could not get up high enough to challenge for points:

 

"The beginning of the race was quite fun, and the extended stint was looking good, but we ended up in traffic after the pit stop and that compromised my race a little bit. The second part of the race was trickier: making progress turned out to be quite difficult on this track, which of course is not easy, and it has definitely been one of the toughest one for me as a rookie to get used to. I was happy to see Valtteri get a point for the team and I hope some of my battles helped with this. In general, this weekend we have been consistent, and we did do a step up: we just need to keep working on our race performances to finish this season well".

 

Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, concludes:

 

"A point is always valuable, especially when it allows us to extend the gap on our championship rivals; of course, when starting in P6 and with the pace we showed throughout the weekend, the hopes and expectations were for more, but in the end the race didn’t really go our way. We seemed to have the pace to be at the front of the chasing pack, just behind the three leading teams, during our first stint, but we weren’t able to make the most of the hard tyres after Valtteri’s stop and we slowly dropped off. Zhou was on an alternative strategy, but also seemed to struggle in the second part of the race and wasn’t able to make back the places he had before the stop. We’ll analyse this race and see what can be done better; in the meantime, we will keep building on the speed we’ve shown on Friday and Saturday, aiming to make the most of the final two weekends of the season to finish the job properly".

 

Gasly fought hard but came home outside the points:

 

"It's a real shame, but we knew it would be difficult starting from P14. I gave everything I could today, and we were close to finishing in the top 10, if we'd had one more lap I think we could've been in it. The atmosphere has been insane, as always in Mexico, so that's been great, I'm just disappointed we've come away without points".

 

Yuki Tsunoda was the first driver out of the race due to the collision with Ricciardo, which damaged his sidepod and front wing:

 

"It's such a shame about today's result. My tyre management had been really good in the race up until that point, and I was feeling confident in that final stint, so I'm very disappointed that it ended with such a silly mistake. Daniel was on a different strategy and would've easily made it past later on, so for such an experienced driver to try to overtake in an area that it's just not possible to is so annoying. We were close to being able to finish in the points, which are so valuable to us right now. There are some positives to take away from this weekend, but for now I just need to go away and reset, then come back stronger for Brazil".

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Claudio Balestri analyses the race:

 

"As our two cars were close together on the grid today, we decided to start with different compounds, with the target of maximising the possibility to score points. Yuki started on new Softs and was immediately able to gain some positions in the first lap, he was P11 between the two McLarens who were both on Mediums, with Norris in front and Riccardo behind. Yuki's first stint was good, he was able to produce consistent lap times, manage tyre and brake temperatures, and the tyres were working properly for the entire stint. For the rest of his race, he continued to fight the two McLarens, so in the second stint we decided to fit Mediums and the pace was again good, allowing him to follow Norris and stay in front of Ricciardo. However, Ricciardo tried to overtake Yuki, which destroyed our car and our race. The contact left Yuki's car with a lot of damage, and we had to retire. Pierre's race was a bit different. By the end of lap one he had lost some positions and was P17, racing on the Mediums, behind the two Astons that were slower than him. During the first stint, Pierre was able to gain one position, overtaking Stroll, who was on the same compound, but during this manoeuvre he got a five second penalty. This was served at our second pit stop and our race became a bit more complicated. When he re-joined the track he was behind Albon. Pierre's pace with the soft compound was good and we were able to overtake him and close the gap with the cars in front, who were on different strategies. Pierre finished just behind Bottas, just outside the points in P11. It is a shame, because the pace wasn't bad today. Now we need to switch our thoughts to the preparation for our next race in Brazil".

 

At the start, Stroll made up five places to run 15th. But then he struggled with his tyres and had to pit first of the field; then, he pitted again and went home down the field:

 

"The start was great; it was definitely the highlight of the race. On the move with Pierre [Gasly], he braked late, passed me but did not give me any room. However, it would not have really changed our day if that had not happened. There were fun moments out there passing other cars, but we struggled a lot with our pace and the tyres. We will try to understand this dip in performance and see how we can make progress to maximise the final two races of the season".

 

Sebastian Vettel made a long first stint but at the end finished just ahead of his team mate:

 

"Overall, we were just a little bit too slow today. At the start of the race, I could hold on to the cars in front of me, but then I was a bit unlucky to get tangled up with Yuki [Tsunoda]. His car was damaged, and he came back onto the track right in front of me - I lost too much time and was an easy target for the others. The car did not feel too great and the afternoon was a bit of a struggle - but, luckily, we did not lose too much ground in the fight for sixth in the Constructors' Championship".

 

Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s Team Pincipal, concludes:

 

"This is a race where you need to skilfully manage the brakes and tyres. And, despite the best efforts of our drivers and engineers to do just that, we were never really in a position to capitalise. Lance drove another typically charging opening lap to jump five places, and Sebastian was precise and clinical all afternoon - but he just did not have the pace to fend off a gaggle of faster cars. In the battle for sixth in the Constructors' Championship, this was an afternoon of damage limitation - we will pick up the fight again in Brazil next month".

 

Bad day for Magnussen, with a gearbox issue causing a few moments of panic before the race:

 

"We just didn’t have good pace today. I had the medium and then soft tire on for the race, which could’ve given us some opportunities, but we were a bit too far off to really do much. There are so many opportunities, we scored points in the last race but today isn’t what we wanted, so we’ll move on to the next one".

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Mick Schumacher continues:

 

"We saw in FP3 that once the track gets colder, it seemed that others were performing a bit better than us. We knew the pace was there yesterday but it wasn’t there today, there wasn’t anything wrong with the strategy or anything in that sense. That was our pace and we have to live with it today. I’m sure that in Brazil, things might look very different again".

 

Guenther Steiner, concludes with few words:

 

"Today, our car just didn’t have the speed and therefore we ended up where we ended up. Hopefully Brazil suits our car better and we can get back to where we want to be".

 

Latifi had a quiet race at the back of the field and was the first to switch to hards:

 

"We had some car damage from early on in the race which was confirmed by the team. At the beginning it didn't seem too bad but as the race went on our pace seemed to deteriorate. We need to see what the damage specifically was but unfortunately, we had no pace today. Even at the end, I was two or three seconds a lap slower on new Soft tyres compared to people on older Softs. Overall a very lonely day but we'll look to bounce back in Brazil".

 

Albon made his way up to 12th but he didn’t have the pace to challenge for the top 10:

 

"Honestly, I'm really happy with today and it feels like our pace was relatively strong from where it was on Friday. We had a tricky start so we dropped to 19th and despite a few retirements, we overtook everyone else, so I think it was a good race from us. It was a thermal race with the dirty air making the brakes hot and then the tyres hot, so we did well with our strategy to find the gaps of clean air. It was really close today and I'm feeling good with a lot of positives to take away. I think we're getting better at solving the weaknesses in the car and at a circuit that doesn't suit us we were able to set up the car and compete with those around us".

 

Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, is overall satisfied with the performance:

 

"Following a frustrating day yesterday, we can be very pleased with how we performed today. Racing in Mexico City is always challenging but we were able to get the car into a pretty good place such that it was easily managed and had good pace relative to our competitors. We pitted Nicholas early for the Hard tyre but unfortunately this was a poor tyre today and, coupled with some car damage, it harmed Nicky's race. We were able to leave Alex out on his Medium tyre whilst we monitored the performance of the cars that started the race on Soft. Once it became clear that a Medium-Soft one-stop was possible we were able to commit to this with Alex. Once again, he drove very well to battle aggressively with Gasly, Vettel, Zhou and Bottas. To finish so close to the Alfa Romeo which qualified 6th, especially after a tricky race start, was very satisfying but also hints at what might have been possible with a better grid position. It has been a hard couple of weeks racing in the USA and Mexico, but we can be pleased with what we achieved and how we coped with the conditions".

 

Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, analyzes the race and the strategies:

 

"Seeing how all three compounds gave the drivers and teams the chance to approach the race in a sort of strategic chess game on the track and the pit wall is obviously a source of satisfaction for us. There were different strategies, which were all based on individual capabilities to optimise the tyres, with the mediums being a protagonist and the hard and the soft too playing a fundamental role, showing strong performance and limited wear. It all came down to a strategic duel between the two teams that had managed to get the most out of the tyres all weekend. This is particularly significant for us, especially following 15 intense days that took in two tests of the 2023 prototype tyres to collect data on both the hard and the soft compounds in Austin and Mexico City respectively, as well as the comments of the real stars - the drivers - who showed enthusiasm and real engagement when it came to analysing all the topics that emerged, right up to the Friday night of the second test. Congratulations to Red Bull and Max Verstappen for their victory and a new record of 14 wins in one season, in front of Mexico's unique crowd".

 

Next round is the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, which will take place at Interlagos from November 11-13, with the Sprint format returning for the third and final time this season.


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