Lewis Hamilton went quickest in a tight opening practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix that saw the top three drivers separated by just over a tenth of a second. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was second with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third.
Leclerc went quickest early on with a lap of 1:18.949, a little under a tenth ahead of Hamilton and two-time Mexican GP winner Verstappen.
The Dutch driver’s team-mate Alex Albon then moved to the top of the order with another run on soft tyres with Mercedes Valtteri Bottas second.
There was then a minor delay when Racing Point’s Lance Stroll lost control if his car exiting the Foro Sol stadium section and hit the wall on the left-hand side of the track. He was able to keep his car going, however, and he limped the short distance to the pit lane. The session was briefly red-flagged while the barriers were repaired.
Hamilton then posted a new fastest time of 1:17.327 and though Verstappen got close to finish 0.134 off the championship leader, Leclerc managed to split the top two with a good lap of 1:17.446, set on medium tyres.
Albon and Bottas finished fourth and fifth respectively, with the Red Bull driver a little under half a second off his team-mate.
Sebastian Vettel was sixth in the other Ferrari, almost nine tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace, though like Leclerc the German stuck set his best time on medium tyres.
Seventh place in the session went to McLaren’s Carlos Sainz. The Spanish driver finished 1.074 seconds behind Hamilton but almost two tenths of a second clear of eighth-place Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso.
Gasly was in turn more than two tenths ahead of team-mate Daniil Kvyat and the final top 10 slot was filled by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.
2019 FIA Formula One Mexican Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25 01:17.327
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 23 01:17.446 00.119
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 17 01:17.461 00.134
4 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing 21 01:17.949 00.622
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 25 01:18.005 00.678
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 20 01:18.218 00.891
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren 21 01:18.401 01.074
8 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 23 01:18.593 01.266
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 27 01:18.835 01.508
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 22 01:18.959 01.632
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 22 01:19.011 01.684
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 22 01:19.013 01.686
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 22 01:19.205 01.878
14 Lando Norris McLaren 23 01:19.299 01.972
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 23 01:19.499 02.172
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point 21 01:19.679 02.352
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point 23 01:19.717 02.390
18 Romain Grosjean Haas 22 01:19.850 02.523
19 George Russell Williams 26 01:20.548 03.221
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 30 01:21.566 04.239