Mexican Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton’s bid to secure title number six on the first attempt got off to a promising start after he topped the opening practice session.
With drivers fighting against a drying track and low-grip conditions, the Mercedes driver took top spot with a 1:17.327, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by just over one tenth of a second.
Ferrari, however, will be buoyed by the pace shown by the Monegasque driver on the slower, medium tyres compared to Hamilton’s soft-tyre effort.
Also equipped with the soft tyres, Max Verstappen took third place for Red Bull ahead of team-mate Alex Albon and the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
The only other top six driver to set a time on the medium tyres was the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, who finished nine tenths off the pace in sixth.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz finished the 90-minute session in seventh, with the Toro Rosso duo of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat setting times in the top nine. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi completed the top ten.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg finished eleventh, with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in twelfth, Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) in thirteenth, Lando Norris (McLaren) in fourteenth and Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) in fifteenth.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was the first driver of the weekend to bring out the red flags after crashing at the final corner.
Losing control of his car at the final corner, he slid sideways into the barrier, damaging the left-hand side of his car. He managed to limp back to the pits but the red flags came out to enable barrier repairs.
Local hero Sergio Perez took seventeenth, Haas’ Romain Grosjean finished in eighteenth and, with Williams admitting that their opening free practice session was going to be an experimental one, they propped up the timing screens, with George Russell leading development and reserve driver Nicholas Latifi, who used Robert Kubica’s car for FP1.