The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Valtteri Bottas got off to a fast start on the opening day of action at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez as he led the way in the opening practice ahead of Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
The Finn set a fastestctime of 01:18.341s and speaking following the action he said:
It was a tricky start to the day with low-grip conditions and the dusty track. This made it hard to get a proper read on the car but nevertheless, it felt not too far off how it should be, and that mean we could fine-tune things for FP2. This afternoon, the car felt okay but there’s still time we need to find because Red Bull look quick. They seem faster than us right now, and they showed strong pace on the Soft tyre on a single lap, so we need to find more time if we want to fight for pole.
Lewis Hamilton was generally happy with the performance of the car saying:
The car’s generally feeling okay and we’ve not had any major issues today – we’re giving it everything we’ve got and Red Bull are just a bit quicker than us right now. We’ve been chipping away at the set-up and trying to improve it, but you can see we are lacking a bit of overall downforce here and that shows in the lap times. It was great to see lots of people came out today, and I’m looking forward to continuing the battle this weekend
Mercedes chief engineer Andrew Shovlin commented saying:
We’ve had a reasonable day, the first session was a bit cleaner than the second but the car and power unit seemed to be coping well with the altitude. We’ve stayed very much focused on our own programme for single lap and long run. It’s clear there is a bit of time to find to Max on the single lap but we’ve got a few balance issues to fix so hopefully we can close that gap a little. The long run picture is a bit tricky because we were on different tyres to our competition but the balance is reasonable and the hard tyre seemed to be working nicely. We didn’t come here expecting it to be easy and there is clearly a bit that we need to work on but compared to some of our Mexico Fridays, we’ve got off to a decent start