Daniel Ricciardo and George Russell both had their FP2 sessions for the Mexican Grand Prix curtailed by gearbox problems.
Ricciardo completed only seven circuits of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez before having to end his afternoon’s action early.
“We had an issue, so came in and let’s say there were a few checks to go through, so we couldn’t get back out, or let’s say it wasn’t worth the risk of going back out,” the Australian told reporters.
“I got a few laps in on the hard (tyres) and then that was it. We’ll obviously have to get it all together tomorrow but we’ve got the morning session to get on top of it.”
This season’s Italian Grand Prix winner thought the fact last year’s race in Mexico City had to be cancelled due to the pandemic was noticeable on the circuit.
“Track conditions are certainly a bit slow,” he said. “You could see this morning a lot of dust on the track. We didn’t come here last year so it’s got two years’ worth of dust and they are shorter practices now compared to 2019, an hour’s less time to clean the track.
“All of these factors made it a little slippery, so I think tomorrow will still be quite slippery in the morning but just go out and hit it hard straight away.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) November 5, 2021
McLaren were well off the pace in both sessions, Lando Norris’ P12 in FP2 as good as it got, but Ricciardo is not giving up hope of a strong weekend.
“It’s definitely not written off yet,” said the 32-year-old. “It obviously gives us a bit more work to do but it’s definitely not out of reach.
“We’ve got some pace to find but I think Lando’s first run this afternoon was a little better, so we’ll try and dissect that and see what we can learn.”
As for Russell, he did not even get to complete a ‘hot’ lap in FP2, reporting over the team radio the “gearbox has gone” before quickly adding “I’ve got it back now”.
Asking if he could change gear, and with no instant response, a fraught-sounding Russell added: “Can I, yes or no? Can I change gear or not?”
He was told “no gear change for now” before coasting back into the pits and spending the remainder of the session in the garage and on the pit wall.
Russell later told the Formula 1 website: “There’s not a huge amount more to say, to be honest.
“It was a gearbox failure, so the guys are still looking into how it happened, if we can recover that gearbox and where we go from there really.
“Not ideal, but it’s only Friday and points are awarded on Sunday.”