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RECAP: Bottas leads FP1 in Mexico City

Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, United States GP 2021. Valtteri Bottas. Credits: Daimler.

Valtteri Bottas leads a Mercedes 1-2 in the opening practice session of the Mexico City Grand Prix.

The race weekend at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez started with an eventful first free practice.

As soon as the green light appeared at the pit lane exit, some drivers left their garages. Charles Leclerc reported to the team that there was a lot of dust at the track. Valtteri Bottas took the early lead in the session, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris. Shortly after, the Finn significantly improved his lap time.

The day did not start well for Leclerc – he hit the barrier at turn 16 and damaged his rear wing. So did Perez. Virtual Safety Car was deployed in order to remove debris.

Pierre Gasly went to the top of the standings, going a tenth and a half quicker than Bottas. The championship leader Verstappen eventually beat the Frenchman’s time. It did not last for long though as Hamilton set the new fastest lap. However, the stewards were set to investigate Hamilton’s incident in turn 1, where he did not rejoin the track properly.

The championship protagonists kept setting quickest laps back-and-forth despite the difference in tire compounds. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez looked to be fitting for Scuderia Ferrari ahead of the race weekend and Carlos Sainz proved it by getting to the top of the standings. Later on, the Mercedes drivers beat his result.

Verstappen started setting lap times on soft tires and he set the new quickest lap of the session without any issues. At the same time, Perez came back on track after the rear wing of his RB16B had been fixed. The track was getting better, so the lap times improved – Bottas was the quickest.

All in all, Mercedes took the early advantage in Mexico as Bottas topped the standings of FP1 with Hamilton less than a tenth away. Verstappen completed the top 3.

The results of the Formula 1 Mexico City GP FP1:

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1:18.341
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.076
3Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing+0.123
4Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+0.269
5Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+0.644
6Carlos SainzFerrari+1.122
7Fernando AlonsoAlpine+1.315
8Charles LeclercFerrari+1.326
9Esteban OconAlpine+1.418
10Sebastian VettelAston Martin+1.517
11Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+1.670
12Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing+1.685
13Lance StrollAston Martin+1.689
14Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+1.932
15Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.960
16Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing+2.003
17George RussellWilliams+2.176
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams+3.239
19Mick SchumacherHaas+3.803
20Nikita MazepinHaas+4.478
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