Charles Leclerc of Ferrari escaped a serious collision during Friday practice for the Mexican Grand Prix unharmed.
At the Esses, Leclerc lost control and went backward into the barrier, ending his run and raising a red flag for barrier repairs.
Carlos Sainz of his team won the first practice session, while George Russell of Mercedes won the second.
Russell and his teammate Lewis Hamilton both expressed satisfaction with their vehicles after establishing a fast pace.
On the common 2022 Pirelli tires, Russell recorded the second session’s quickest overall time.
Russell was one of five drivers permitted to use the standard rubber since a junior driver had driven his vehicle in the first session. The session was mainly devoted to testing the 2023 development rubber on predetermined blind programs established by the tire supplier.
On the other hand, Hamilton was the driver that utilized the 2023 tires the most.
The seven-time champion outpaced Red Bull’s Sergio Perez by 0.03 seconds and his teammate Max Verstappen by 0.039 seconds.
Leclerc was fourth fastest on the test tires in a group of well-matched drivers, only 0.109 seconds behind Hamilton. Carlos Sainz, driving the second Ferrari, was 0.184 seconds slower than the seven-time champion.
The two Mercedes drivers expressed satisfaction with their day’s work.
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“I feel very, really fantastic,” Hamilton said. Overall, I had a great session today. The vehicle is feeling better and better as we continue to go through it and better understand it. I loved driving around the course.
Russell said the pace seems to be really strong, and the vehicle is now performing nicely.
“I believe that it is at least podium-possible. It’s arguably our finest Friday of the year, if not the best.
Following a pattern from the United States Grand Prix last weekend, when there was a 2023 tire test in second practice and the quickest time on the 2022 rubber, Russell set the pace on the 2022 rubber while the majority of the field raced on the development tires.
Russell led Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri and Esteban Ocon of Alpine in the second session while on 2022 tires.
Sainz led Leclerc by 0.047 seconds in the first practice session, which held on 2022 tires but on a dusty and filthy track. The following five drivers were Perez, Verstappen, Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.
In the first session, one turn after Leclerc’s subsequent mishap, Verstappen spun at the Esses but avoided hitting the barriers.
Later in practice, when he battled on the low-grip circuit, the world champion also had an oversteer situation at Turn 5.
Sainz was 0.12 seconds slower than Perez and Verstappen, who had identical timings to the thousandth of a second. Hamilton was 0.142 seconds slower than Sainz, while Alonso was 0.192 seconds down.
Because all teams are obligated to dedicate two Friday practice sessions throughout the season to running drivers with no more than two Grand Prix experiences, the junior drivers participated in the opening session.
The fastest driver was Liam Lawson from New Zealand, driving for Alpha Tauri in the 16th position. He follow Nick de Vries from Mercedes, who will racing for Alpha Tauri in 2023, and Logan Sargeant from Williams.
The two drivers who had their practices cut short by mechanical issues, Alpine’s Mick Doohan and Haas’ Pietro Fittipaldi, and Lawson, were the slowest.