Carlos Sainz topped the timesheet in the opening practice session for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix, beating Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc by just under five hundredths of a second as local hero Sergio Pérez took third place ahead of 2022 F1 champion Max Verstappen. The session was twice halted by red flag incidents, first involving Haas reserve Pietro Fittipaldi and then AlphaTauri reserve Liam Lawson.
Verstappen took an early lead in the session on hard tyres with a lap of 1:23.282, with Red Bull team-mate Pérez six tenths of a second behind in second. Leclerc was then forced back to the pits with a suspected left-rear puncture that sidelined him for a quarter of an hour.
Verstappen lowered the benchmark steadily over the opening spell before Pérez moved ahead thanks to a lap of 1:22.702. The Mexican’s hold on top spot was brief, however,m with Verstappen stealing back P1 by 0.411 courtesy of a lap of 1:22.291.
The field then began to switch to soft tyres and after returning to the fray, Leclerc jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:21.546, more than seven tenths of a second clear of Verstappen.
Verstappen then went out on track again but the Dutch driver suffered a rare spin in the chicane and ended up posting a lap of 1:20.827 that left him fourth. That left him 0.12s down on Leclerc but with an identical lap time to his teammate Perez. Sainz then vaulted to P1 with a lap of 1:20.707, 0.046s ahead of Leclerc. Fittipaldi then brought out the red flags, with the Haas driver breaking down on the main straight and the times at the top remained static.
The session was red-flagged for a final time with four minutes left on the clock when Lawson’s car expired into Turn 13. The New Zealander was told to pull over and stop in a safe place as smoke billowed from the rear left of his AlphaTauri. And when he came to rest his overheated brakes caught fire. The session was halted and with time running out the decision was taken that the session would not be restarted.
It left Sainz at the top of the timesheet ahead of Leclerc with Perez and Verstappen in third and fourth respectively while Lewis Hamilton took fifth place for Mercedes. Fernando Alonso finished sixth for Alpine ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, while Lando Norris finished eighth ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.
Five reserve and junior drivers took part in the session with Lawson quickest of the bunch in 16th place. Logan Sargeant finished 17th for Williams ahead of Nyck de Vries who deputised for George Russell, Jack Doohan who sat in for Esteban Ocon at Alpine and Fittipaldi who took Kevin Magnussen’s seat at Haas.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:20.707 25 191.983
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.753 0.046 20 191.873
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:20.827 0.120 22 191.698
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:20.827 0.120 22 191.698
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.849 0.142 17 191.646
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:20.899 0.192 26 191.527
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:21.083 0.376 23 191.093
8 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:21.120 0.413 21 191.005
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:21.310 0.603 25 190.559
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:21.525 0.818 24 190.057
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:21.762 1.055 16 189.506
12 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:21.820 1.113 20 189.371
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:21.865 1.158 24 189.267
14 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:21.952 1.245 22 189.066
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:22.912 2.205 20 186.877
16 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:23.861 3.154 19 184.762
17 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1:24.246 3.539 22 183.918
18 Nyck de Vries Mercedes 1:24.582 3.875 20 183.187
19 Jack Doohan Alpine/Renault 1:24.615 3.908 13 183.116
20 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas/Ferrari 1:26.766 6.059 9 178.576