Leclerc unscathed after heavy fall in training in Mexico

Leclerc unscathed after heavy fall in training in Mexico

The Mexico Grand Prix is ‚Äč‚Äčlive on 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was uninjured in a serious crash during Friday practice at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Leclerc lost control at the Esses and spun backwards into the barrier, ending his session and causing a red flag for barrier repairs.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz dominated the first session, while Mercedes’ George Russell was quickest in the second.

And Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton were happy with their cars after setting a strong pace.

Russell’s fastest overall time in the second session was on the standard 2022 Pirelli tyres.

The session was mainly devoted to testing 2023 development rubber on pre-determined blind programs set by the tire supplier, but Russell was one of five drivers allowed to use the standard rubber as his car had been driven by a young driver during the first session.

Hamilton, meanwhile, was the fastest of the riders who exclusively used 2023 tyres.

The seven-time champion was 0.03 seconds faster than Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and 0.039 seconds ahead of Mexican team-mate Max Verstappen.

In a tight field, Leclerc was fourth quickest on the test tyres, just 0.109 seconds behind Hamilton, with Carlos Sainz’s second Ferrari 0.184 seconds off the seven-time champion’s time.

Both Mercedes drivers were positive about their day’s work.

Hamilton said: “I feel really, really good. Overall I had a really good session today. I really enjoyed driving on the track, the car feels better and better as we go. as we work on it and understand it better.”

Russell added: “The car is working well at the moment and I have a good feeling here, the pace seems relatively strong.

“I’d like to think that’s at least a possible podium. It’s probably one of our best Fridays of the year, otherwise.”

Russell set the tone on the 2022 rubber while most raced on development tires repeated a trend from last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, when there was also a 2023 tire test in the second trials and the best time was also set on the 2022 rubber.

Russell edged out Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, all on 2022 tyres, in the second session.

In the first session, run on 2022 tires but on a dusty and dirty track, Sainz was 0.047 seconds ahead of Leclerc, followed by Perez, Verstappen, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.

Verstappen spun at the Esses in session one, a corner kick after Leclerc’s later incident, but managed to stay out of bounds.

The world champion also had a moment of oversteer at turn five later in the session as he struggled on the low grip track.

Perez and Verstappen, who set identical times to the thousandth of a second, were 0.12 seconds behind Sainz, with Hamilton 0.142 seconds off the pace and Alonso 0.192 seconds.

The young drivers took part in the first session because all teams are required by the regulations to devote two Friday practice sessions in the season to drivers who have no more than two Grand Prix experiences.

The fastest was New Zealander Liam Lawson in the Alpha Tauri in 16th place, followed by Logan Sargeant of Williams, who is expected to be their second driver in 2023 if he qualifies for an F1 license and Nick de Vries of Mercedes , which drives for Alpha Tauri. Next year.

Alpine’s Mick Doohan and Haas rider Pietro Fittipaldi, who both had their sessions cut short by technical issues – as did Lawson – were the slowest.

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