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Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in opening practice – FP1 Report

Mexican Grand Prix – Red Bull got off to a flying start in tricky conditions at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, with Max Verstappen leading team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

With the low grip, low downforce conditions that Formula One has come to expect from the high altitude circuit in Mexico, Red Bull’s validated their tag as one of the candidates for the Mexican Grand Prix win by topping the session.

Verstappen’s time of 1:16.656 was just under half-a-second faster than Ricciardo, with the Red Bulls being the only front-runners to attempt flying laps on the hypersoft tyres, the fastest available tyre this weekend. However, a lot of wear was witnessed on the hypersofts, meaning the top teams may try to start the race on a harder tyre.

The two Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg were third and fourth fastest, as they were the next teams to have setting flying laps on the fastest tyres, whilst the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were next, having set times on the ultrasofts.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were seventh and eighth – also setting times on the ultrasofts – but spent a large part of the session evaluating two floor designs. They attempted to use a new floor over the second half of the season, but reverted to an older spec in Austin.

Brendon Hartley took ninth for Toro Rosso ahead of Force India reserve driver Nicholas Latifi, who was taking Esteban Ocon’s seat for FP1.

Also making stand-in appearances during the opening free practice session were Antonio Giovinazzi (12th, in for Charles Leclerc at Sauber) and Lando Norris (15th, in for Fernando Alonso at McLaren).

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly failed to complete more than two laps after encountering technical troubles.

To view the full results of the session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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