Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2016

Hamilton ahead as lap times tumble in Mexico

2016 Mexican Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton was quickest as practice for the Mexican Grand Prix began in cool conditions.

The Mercedes driver used the hardest rubber available the weekend, the medium compound, to lead the times on a 1’20.914, five seconds inside the best time from the same session 12 months ago. Team mate Nico Rosberg also used the medium compound for his quickest run and lapped seven-tenths slower than his team mate, the pair separated by five of their rivals.

Those were led by the Ferrari pair, Sebastian Vettel fractionally quicker than Kimi Raikkonen as both set their quickest times on soft tyres.

The two Force Indias were next, Sergio Perez ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, both VJM09 drivers on the super-soft rubber. Hulkenberg reported problems with his DRS on more than one occasion, which was occasionally deploying on straights were it shouldn’t have been available.

Encouragingly for Williams, Valtteri Bottas was just a few hundredths of a second slower than Hulkenberg, using the soft tyres. Felipe Massa was also inside the top ten.

Red Bull kept a low profile in the session, Daniel Ricciardo the highest of their drivers in eighth place. Max Verstappen’s running was disrupted when his rear brakes caught fire after one run.

Felipe Nasr hit trouble too when the right-hand side of his front wing collapsed after he ran down the kerb at the exit of turn 11. The wing shattered as he ran over it and the session was stopped for almost ten minutes while the debris was cleared away.

The track temperature never rose above 26C, significantly below last year’s peak of 40C during this session.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’20.91434
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’20.9930.07923
37Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’21.0720.15819
411Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’21.2000.28623
527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’21.4090.49523
677Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’21.4470.53334
76Nico RosbergMercedes1’21.6730.75932
83Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’21.7270.81327
919Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’21.8360.92231
1026Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’22.2151.30129
118Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’22.5001.58621
1255Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’22.5631.64932
139Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’22.7231.80917
1433Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’22.8771.96310
1521Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’22.9101.99623
1614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’23.0892.17525
1712Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’23.0892.17512
1822Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’23.3422.42824
1920Kevin MagnussenRenault1’23.5562.64232
2031Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’24.0833.16930
2130Jolyon PalmerRenault1’24.0973.18335
2294Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’24.3503.43628

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’20.914

+0.079 Sebastian Vettel – 1’20.993

+0.158 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’21.072

+0.286 Sergio Perez – 1’21.200

+0.495 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’21.409

+0.533 Valtteri Bottas – 1’21.447

+0.759 Nico Rosberg – 1’21.673

+0.813 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’21.727

+0.922 Felipe Massa – 1’21.836

+1.301 Daniil Kvyat – 1’22.215

+1.586 Romain Grosjean – 1’22.500

+1.649 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’22.563

+1.809 Marcus Ericsson – 1’22.723

+1.963 Max Verstappen – 1’22.877

+1.996 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’22.910

+2.175 Fernando Alonso – 1’23.089

+2.175 Felipe Nasr – 1’23.089

+2.428 Jenson Button – 1’23.342

+2.642 Kevin Magnussen – 1’23.556

+3.169 Esteban Ocon – 1’24.083

+3.183 Jolyon Palmer – 1’24.097

+3.436 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’24.350

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Hamilton ahead as lap times tumble in Mexico”

  1. Ferrari and Force India looking pretty strong here. This could be a big opportunity for Lewis in the WDC chase. If he can take pole and lead the race after Lap 1, there is a strong chance there could be at least one car between him and Rosberg.

    Also, touche to Mclaren. Looks like Suzuka all over again for this disaster of a team.

    1. Damn! Sorry.. Didn’t read that Lewis time was set on the harder compound. Looks like another Merc 1-2 for sure this weekend.

  2. I counted 5 cars running the Halo – was that right?

    Felipe Massa’s Williams, Kevin Magnussen’s Renault, Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor, Sergio PĂ©rez’s Force India, and Felipe Nasr’s Sauber.

  3. A minor point but every car in first practice was inside the quickest time set in WEC qualifying last month, which was Andre Lotterer’s 1’24.763 in an Audi R18 eTron Quattro.

    1. Why are people making such a point of that? WEC cars are 300 kgs heavier and probably similarly powerful. F1 should be the pinnacle. If anything, the gap should be bigger (2017 please)

      1. Not sure why people want to see the cars lap a few seconds quicker over, say, decent racing.

  4. Good job with the visual Gaps infographic, Keith!

Comments are closed.