Carlos Sainz topped the timing sheets in the first practice session of the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc and home hero Sergio Perez in third.
A number of cars were forced to retire early with engine issues with many citing the thin air of Mexico City becoming an issue for the power units. The track sits at 2.2km above sea level, the highest out of any other circuits on the Formula 1 calendar.
READ MORE: F1 Mexico GP – FP1 Results
Max Verstappen was fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fifth. Fernando Alonso in sixth meant that the top six drivers were separated by less than two-tenths of a second.
Valtteri Bottas set the seventh fastest time of the session with Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly in eighth and ninth, respectively. Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top ten.
The track was busy when FP1 went green as teams wanted to make the most of the 60 minutes due to the Pirelli tyre test scheduled for FP2.
All drivers ran the hard C2 compound tyres in the first stints of their long runs to collect data before they are made to run a single set-up in FP2 and it was Verstappen who set the early benchmark.
Leclerc followed Bottas out on the soft tyres around the hallway mark and displaced the world champion at the top before team-mate Carlos Sainz topped him by half a tenth.
Verstappen’s first flying lap on a new set of softs saw him facing the wrong way at turn 11 after losing control through turn 10.
Mercedes brought a slightly altered version of the new front wing which was first shown in Austin but not used on track.
Zhou Guanyu had to be rolled back to his garage after becoming stranded at the end of the pit lane due to a gearbox problem.
Haas test driver Pietro Fittipaldi brought out a brief Red Flag after an engine issue cut his first of two sessions this season short by 20 minutes.
Among the Brazilian, four more teams fielded test drivers as they fulfilled their mandatory rookie outings which were put in the place for this season.
Jack Doohan made his Formula 1 testing debut in replace of Esteban Ocon at Alpine. The Australian rookie got in a fair few laps before his session was ended for a safety measure on the power unit.
Future AlphaTauri man Nyck de Vries also completed his fourth FP1 test of the season, returning to Mercedes to drive George Russell’s W13 after previously testing for them at Paul Ricard.
After making his test debut in Austin a week ago, Logan Sargeant returned to Williams after being confirmed as Nicholas Latifi’s replacement if he receives enough Super License points.
Liam Lawson stepped into Yuki Tsunoda’s AT03 for his second test of the season having previously tested for the team at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix. His session was cut short due to an engine issue with five minutes on the clock which brought out another red flag.
The session wasn’t resumed after the stoppage.
Friday’s extended second practice session is scheduled for 15:45 local (21:45 BST) time
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