Thu. Dec 2nd, 2021

Valtteri Bottas kicked off the Mexican Grand Prix weekend by setting the fastest time in opening practice, ahead of Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Dusty conditions and a green track made for challenging, low grip conditions for the drivers, but Bottas appeared unfazed as he lit up the timesheets with a 1m18.341s to finish 0.076s clear of Hamilton.

Hamilton, who heads into the weekend trialing Max Verstappen in the world championship by 12 points, has been summoned to see the stewards in Mexico City between practice sessions for a track limits incident.

The seven-time world champion ran wide at Turn 1 before rejoining at Turn 3 in a moment early on during the first practice session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Hamilton reported over team radio that he “couldn’t slow down there” but he will be investigated after FP1 for failing to follow race director Michael Masi’s notes which state that drivers must return to the track by going around the left hand side of the Turn 3 bollard, which Hamilton did not do.

However, it is unlikely Hamilton will be given anything more than a reprimand for the transgression.

Hamilton’s title rival Verstappen was just 0.123s off the pace as he took third, ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, who finished 0.269s down.

Home hero Perez recovered from an early setback to his weekend when he missed track running after hitting the Turn 16 barriers following a spin early in the session. He was able to return to the action for the final 20 minutes.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was fifth-fastest and the final driver to get within a second of Bottas’ benchmark time.

Behind Gasly was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc, who like Perez suffered rear wing damage with an off at Turn 16. Esteban Ocon ensured both Alpine cars finished inside the top 10, which was completed by Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin.

During the session it was confirmed that both Yuki Tsunoda (11th) and Lance Stroll (13th) will start this weekend’s race from the back of the grid after taking new power unit elements.

2021 F1 MEXICO CITY GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE RESULTS (1)

POSDRIVERNAT.TEAMTIME
1Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m18.341s
2Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m18.417s
3Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1m18.464s
4Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1m18.610s
5Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m18.985s
6Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m19.463s
7Fernando AlonsoCHIAlpine F1 Team1m19.656s
8Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m19.667s
9Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1m19.795s
10Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m19.858s
11Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m20.011s
12Kimi RaikkonenFINAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m20.026s
13Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m20.030s
14Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m20.273s
15Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m20.301s
16Antonio GiovinazziGBRAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m20.344s
17George RussellISRWilliams Racing1m20.517s
18Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m21.580s
19Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1m22.144s
20Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1m22.819s

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