World Champion Max Verstappen set the pace during the opening practice session for Formula 1’s Mexico City Grand Prix.

Verstappen posted a time of 1:19.718s on Soft tyres in a session which featured Pirelli’s 2024 prototype tyres as well as five Formula 2 drivers.

Verstappen’s time was just 0.095s clear of Williams’ Alex Albon, who displayed impressive pace in the FW45, with home hero Sergio Perez third overall.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was fourth while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc placed fifth.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19.
Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Friday 27th October 2023. Mexico City, Mexico.

Norris’ McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri was sixth-quickest on the prototype 2024-spec Medium, the fastest driver not to clock his best time on Softs.

Carlos Sainz, who missed Thursday’s media activities after falling unwell, suffered an early hydraulic problem but recovered to finish seventh.

AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo was eighth, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.

Half of the grid used FP1 in Mexico City to run a young driver, as required twice per team through the course of a season.

Frederik Vesti (Mercedes), Oliver Bearman (Haas) and Isack Hadjar (AlphaTauri) all made their respective weekend debuts while Jack Doohan (Alpine) and Théo Pourchaire (Alfa Romeo) returned after also running in 2022.

Ferrari junior Bearman was the fastest of the quintet, in 15th place, with Hadjar 17th, Alpine reserve Doohan 18th, and Mercedes’ Vesti 19th.

Formula 2 title leader Pourchaire suffered from repeated brake pedal issues and was able to complete only four installation laps.

Second practice for the Mexico City Grand Prix is scheduled for 16:00 local time

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