Bottas sets the pace in Mexico, Hamilton and Raikkonen under investigation

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix first practice

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Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes one-two in the first practice session for the Mexico City Grand Prix, followed by the two Red Bull drivers.

However his team mate Lewis Hamilton faces investigation for rejoining the track in an incorrect fashion after going off at turn one. Kimi Raikkonen is also being investigated for the same infringement.

Raikkonen was among the first to join the track when the hour-long session began and discover the extremely dusty conditions. Thick clouds formed behind cars as drivers struggled for grip, especially around the stadium section, and track evolution was high: lap times falling from 1’20 to 1’18.

The slippery conditions led to a couple of crashes. Sergio Perez missed almost half an hour of running after sliding backwards into a barrier at turn 16. Charles Leclerc committed and almost identical mistake in his Ferrari and also had to pit for repairs.

Both drivers damaged their rear wings and the Ferrari initially looked to have taken a lighter hit than the Red Bull. However, both were kept in their garages for much of the rest of the session for thorough repairs, Perez emerging after 26 minutes of work on his car.

Hamilton’s off-track excursion at turn one occured around 20 minutes into the session, and by the halfway point he was leading the times. He was followed by Verstappen and a Yuki Tsunoda, acquitting himself well on a track he has never been to before, though the AlphaTauri driver is doomed to start from the rear on Sunday following a power unit replacement.

Bottas led the second half of the session. Once Perez came back out the Red Bulls neatly slotted into the times behind both Mercedes.

Pierre Gasly had looked consistently strong all session, setting top 10 times. Despite Leclerc’s early incident Ferrari got both drivers in the top half of the field, making good on their predictions the circuit will suit them, and Alpine did the same.

Sebastian Vettel completed the top 10 for Aston Martin. His team mate Lance Stroll will also take a power unit penalty and start from the back of the grid.

The first session of the weekend was held under clear skies with an air temperature of 17C, track temperature 35C. Air temperature rose to 20C over the session and track to 40C as the weather remained sunny, though cloudier conditions are expected later.

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix first practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’18.34128
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’18.4170.07624
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’18.4640.12328
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’18.6100.26920
510Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’18.9850.64423
655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’19.4631.12226
714Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’19.6561.31526
816Charles LeclercFerrari1’19.6671.32620
931Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’19.7591.41820
105Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’19.8581.51727
1122Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’20.0111.67030
127Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’20.0261.68526
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’20.0301.68927
143Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’20.2731.93225
154Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’20.3011.96026
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’20.3442.00327
1763George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’20.5172.17623
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’21.5803.23923
1947Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’22.1443.80327
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’22.8194.47824

First practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’18.341

+0.076 Lewis Hamilton – 1’18.417

+0.123 Max Verstappen – 1’18.464

+0.269 Sergio Perez – 1’18.610

+0.644 Pierre Gasly – 1’18.985

+1.122 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’19.463

+1.315 Fernando Alonso – 1’19.656

+1.326 Charles Leclerc – 1’19.667

+1.418 Esteban Ocon – 1’19.759

+1.517 Sebastian Vettel – 1’19.858

+1.670 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’20.011

+1.685 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’20.026

+1.689 Lance Stroll – 1’20.030

+1.932 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’20.273

+1.960 Lando Norris – 1’20.301

+2.003 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’20.344

+2.176 George Russell – 1’20.517

+3.239 Nicholas Latifi – 1’21.580

+3.803 Mick Schumacher – 1’22.144

+4.478 Nikita Mazepin – 1’22.819

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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7 comments on “Bottas sets the pace in Mexico, Hamilton and Raikkonen under investigation”

  1. Massive amounts of sand.

    Both on track and in bags.

  2. Noticing the fluorescent curbs aren’t surrounding the T1-T3 runoff area anymore like the last three Mexico events, I hope a 2016 deja vu won’t occur.

  3. The difference between Russel and Latifi, and Schumacher and Mazepin… Latifi often finds his way, but this oligarch truly doesn’t belong in the sport.

    1. If this was qualifying, a 1.26.5 would be the 107% cut off, so Nikita is still 3.8 seconds within. That’s perhaps one positive. I guess him and Haas look for the little things like that this season.

      1. I don’t know about him, but I’m 100% sure HAAS looking at fat sponsorship money only, the only good thing about keeping Mazepin.

        1. Let’s evaluate if extending mazepin’s contract, performance 0, team player 0, brings 20 mil a year (hypothetical)?? Extended!

  4. The track was super dusty in the first 20 minutes, no wonder Leclerc and Perez binned it on the hards. The grip was very poor at that time. It seemed to get quite a bit better in the second half of the session and the times weren’t that far off from what they did two years ago.

    Tough to read anything into the times, other than Mercedes seem to be quite well prepared for this weekend.
    RB were definitely sandbagging to a certain extent as their long runs on the hards looked fairly decent. The same goes for Ferrari, considering Sainz was matching Verstappen on high fuel and the same tyres in S1 and S3, they just need to find some time in S2.

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