Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015

Verstappen leads first practice session in Mexico

2015 Mexican Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen was quickest as drivers had their first experience of the revised Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico.

The Toro Rosso driver posted the best time in the final minutes of the session which began in damp conditions and improved throughout. He demoted Daniil Kvyat, who led the session for much of the final half hour.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015
Drivers lapped Mexico’s revamped circuit for the first time
Nico Rosberg was quickest earlier on but had to duck into the pits when his rear brakes caught fire after he came to a stop at turn 12. Rosberg was using a new brake material during the session, and was able to rejoin in time for the final few minutes of running.

Verstappen was also urged to cool his brakes which reached “critical” temperatures during his final lap, and reported a tyre vibration on his way back to the pits.

A late run for the two Ferrari drivers moved them up to third and fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Rosberg. Raikkonen matched Kvyat’s time to within one thousandth of a second.

Lewis Hamilton was only 11th in the other Mercedes, but he clocked an impressive fastest speed at the trap of 362.2kph (224.9mph), higher than the quickest seen at Monza earlier this year.

However both McLaren drivers experienced problems during the session. Jenson Button cut his running short after a problem was detected in his power unit, and Fernando Alonso had to do his final run on intermediate tyres on a largely dry track after a cut was discovered on one of his slicks.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’25.99038
226Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’26.2950.30527
37Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’26.2950.30536
45Sebastian VettelFerrari1’26.8860.89631
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’27.1851.19528
66Nico RosbergMercedes1’27.1961.20619
777Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’27.3031.31326
855Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’27.4101.42037
911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’27.5811.59119
1019Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’27.6951.70524
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’27.7231.73327
129Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’28.4982.50827
1313Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’28.5592.56930
1412Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’28.5792.58925
1530Jolyon PalmerLotus-Mercedes1’28.7112.72124
1627Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’29.0993.10917
1714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’30.0724.08217
1853Alexander RossiManor-Ferrari1’30.6194.62923
1922Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’32.0916.1019
2028Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’32.8666.87611

First practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’25.990

+0.305 Daniil Kvyat – 1’26.295

+0.305 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’26.295

+0.896 Sebastian Vettel – 1’26.886

+1.195 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’27.185

+1.206 Nico Rosberg – 1’27.196

+1.313 Valtteri Bottas – 1’27.303

+1.420 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’27.410

+1.591 Sergio Perez – 1’27.581

+1.705 Felipe Massa – 1’27.695

+1.733 Lewis Hamilton – 1’27.723

+2.508 Marcus Ericsson – 1’28.498

+2.569 Pastor Maldonado – 1’28.559

+2.589 Felipe Nasr – 1’28.579

+2.721 Jolyon Palmer – 1’28.711

+3.109 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’29.099

+4.082 Fernando Alonso – 1’30.072

+4.629 Alexander Rossi – 1’30.619

+6.101 Jenson Button – 1’32.091

+6.876 Will Stevens – 1’32.866

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Verstappen leads first practice session in Mexico”

  1. Ladies and gentlemen are we going to break the highest speed record or not?

    371.7 kph

    I take bets.

    1. @mijail I’m feeling lucky, I say we will breach 375 on raceday.

    2. Still a long way to go. I don’t think this year we can break it, MAYBE in 2017 with the reg change. And it’s a big maybe.

    3. @mijail I’ll have my bet on “yes”.

      With the assumption that if they don’t do it in qualifying trim, someone will do it while slipstreaming and making a move in the race.

      1. That’s what my gut feeling says, too

  2. Great session that, good fun to see everyone sliding around on a new and very green track. The drivers shines through and it did ;-) Wonderful to see Verstappen getting to know the track and the conditions, every lap pushing that bit more, finding the limit, finding his feet. Very, very impressive that was, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
    The track seems a good one, the long straights might change the game a bit but the very tight inner sections seems to fit the slowest cars on the straights, be interesting to see if the Mercedes cars are as dominant as expected.
    Here’s hoping too that the rain predictions are accurate, maybe we might get some youngest ever records broken this weekend!

  3. Verstappen cut the Esses? Oh…

    1. Nevermind, seems wasn’t on quickest lap.

      1. That time did seem to appear about the same time as he ran off the track, and the commentators did speculate as to whether the time would stand.

        1. His second best time of the free practice was also quick enough to top the list anyway…

  4. Having seen some running now I don’t think this new layout is that bad, Problem is that its just nowhere near been as good as the old layout & I don’t think people will be able to look past that fact.

    1. @stefmeister Well, a large part of F1 fans wasn’t following the sport 23 years ago, some weren’t even born then. Saying that I’d love to know what age the average F1Fanatic reader is.

      1. Maybe but its likely they would have seen footage from the old track either in archive F1 material & from other categories.

        There was certainly enough people tweeting into Sky’s coverage of FP1 complaining that they felt the track had been ruined.

        1. @stefmeister They always want what they cannot have and rarely really know what they want to begin with.

          1. @xtw Crofty followers…

    2. Peraltada aside, was the old circuit really that great? I’d put it in the Paul Ricard, Anderstorp, Jacarepaguá league of decent ex-F1 circuits. It wasn’t really the Nordschleife, Osterreichring or Watkins Glen was it?

      1. Tilkering is hard.

    3. I’ll reserve judgement until after the race, but what I’ve seen from the track so far – especially now that’s we’ve had one FP session, it really doesn’t look like a good layout.

      Not a single corner seems special in any way (looking at the old layout that corner probably would have spectacular), the two slower sections make the F1 cars look painfully awkward and the ‘high speed section’ seems to pale in comparison to tracks such as Silverstone or Austin.

      I hope it’ll be a fun weekend, changing conditions might make this race spectacular no matter the layout. On its own, it seems dull. FYI: I had never heard of the track util it was announced F1 was returning and never saw a lap of the track until a week ago, in its new form.

      1. Of course the cars looked awkward. There was NO GRIP anywhere.
        Wait till race day to say something, at least.

        The times dropped 10 seconds on the first session. Expect them to drop at least another 4 or 5.
        Then the cars won’t look as awkward as they did in the first session.

      2. Constant radius turns. As I’ve mentioned before, when Tilke’s design office discover the nurbs curve we can hope for some better revisions. Until then, we have to make do.

  5. Verstappen cut a corner and accelerated through the run-off during his fastest lap, I’m surprised he kept the time.

    1. A lap later he did a 1:26.1, so still quickest.

    2. Some of the times did not held because of off track limits, Verstappen time held despite replays showing he straight-lined the final part of the essses sections.
      The track is not comparable to the old layout, they screwed-it-up real good.

  6. The layout is obviously different than it was in 92, but in the end it’s an old track, it does not look as clean and sophisticated as new tracks and in terms of layout it’s not trying to mimicking every type of corner in existence. In a way it reminds me of Melbourne, but it’s actually a permanent track in the middle of a city. The tyres are too hard the aero is gone and the speeds are high. I think we’ll have drama many crashes and some failures, drama all around, that said I’m worried with safety and overtaking, as of now I think the track is unsafe but I feel like cars are able to run okay together.

    1. I forgot to say that Mexico city layout is on my current calendar top 10. I like it.

    2. In a way it reminds me of Melbourne

      To me Melbourne’s layout offers so much more variety and such special corners. The combinations of turns 1&2, 3&4 (which always show action) and 11&12 are spectacular. But I’ll hold judgement until after the race – even if changing conditions might make it a messy spectacle regardless of the layout. :)

      I agree they look sort of similar, the bare concrete with metal barriers looks quite spartan in a cool way. Canada is similar in this respect as well.

      1. @bs You are right Canada is the example I wanted, which is as Mexico a permanent circuit.

    3. Totally agree. Looks pretty good to me. At least as good as some of the older tracks.

      I was immediately sceptical about the alterations, but this is pretty good. It turns out that confining the space you can build a circuit on produces a better track than some of those Super Tilke monstrosities. Two thumbs up!

  7. Verstappen already cutting corners, tut tut tut :-)

    Interesting to see the Renault runners this far up, is it possible that their Turbos had the largest potential of running at a higher RPM and therefore they had better pace relatively? The speed traps say otherwise though, so maybe its just more about what kind of wings everyone was running.

  8. Lets see if the stewards let Verstappen’s ‘Rosberg fastest lap’ stand, it’ll be a good test of whether they pay attention in practice sessions..

    1. Even if the stewards would remove Verstappen fastest “illegal” time…he still would be fastest with a 1.26.10 ;)

    2. It doesn’t make any difference to the time tables though. His “illegal” lap was 1:25.9 and the next clean one 1:16.1.

      1. Excuses me, 1:26.1 of course!

  9. The track seems to have some good overtaking point on the end of the straight. The rest looks too narrow at first view.

    But it’s a beautiful place to race. Like it more already than Russia, Abu Dhabi or Singapore.

    1. I’m glad we have a narrow track on the calendar. Most new tracks are awfully large.

  10. As expected, nothing to conclusive except one, Max Verstappen! I know he cut the corner but this guy is something special. Every driver was fighting with the car including Max but the way he controlled the slides and went through the corners was a sheer joy to watch! Can’t wait to see him in a top team. Top drivers will have a hard time with Max. He is the Marc Marquez like sensation that Formula ! needed.

    1. We heap praise on Maxieboy while he goes about crashing his cars, on more than one occasion now. Funny how not one mention is made of this. We praise him for his talent which he certainly has an abundance of specially at such a young age. I see someone who is arrogant and shows disrespect towards the more established drivers, taking unnecessary chances because he knows as the youngest driver he will be protected and for now is getting away with it. He is dangerous. Someone who has been given every chance to succeed not only by his father but an easy ride from commentators and the public. I would not want him in my team,
      You are gonna be replacing an awful lot more of the car. Maldonado no 2?

  11. It has to be said.

    Youngest driver to ever top a session?

  12. Is this the first time Max tops a F1 GP session?

    1. Yes. In Monaco he had a second place. Also FP1

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