Sebastian Vettel set the pace in Friday’s second practice in Mexico, edging ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel: “Overall it was a good day: the car seems to work, not only judging from the result but also as an overall feeling. The pace was there not only for one lap, but for all the laps we have completed. Also, we were always ahead of schedule leaving the garage, which is not always the case. For sure it is nice to be first in the time sheets, but this doesn’t mean anything on Friday. If we are in the same position tomorrow afternoon, then we can be happy. Anyway, I felt that I was in Mexico city, not on the race track, with all the traffic! I think everybody was fighting with the same problems, trying to make the tires last, especially the Supersofts. I didn’t have successive laps because I had so much traffic, but overall the pace was good, which is the most important thing. I think we can still improve for tomorrow and go from there.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall it was pretty ok today, but it’s still early to know where we are and how’s going to be. I had some understeer, mainly in the afternoon, with new tires on it was a bit tricky, but it’s still the first day of practice. Now we have to concentrate and work on a few things as we normally do after the Friday’s session and hopefully tomorrow, on new tires, we can push a bit more.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s great to be back here in Mexico. The support we’ve had here already is amazing – and it’s only Friday! There’s so much energy and enthusiasm for the sport here, which is great to see. It’s been a solid day in terms of our programme for the weekend. The cars are obviously faster but lap times are pretty strong already. The track is feeling better than it did last year and I feel a lot more comfortable in the car than I did the first time we came to this circuit, so hopefully I can carry that through the rest of the weekend.”
Nico Rosberg: “It was an unusual day out there with the low temperatures and a very green track. So, it’s been a bit of a steep learning curve to understand what to do with the tyres – how to get the best out of them for one lap and also for the long runs. We really learned a lot today and it’s not been a bad start overall but we have a lot of homework to do tonight. The car was feeling okay on the medium tyre but even there we need to make some progress to understand where we can find some performance. Ferrari seemed very quick here today, so they will be a big threat. Let’s see how tomorrow goes. It feels great to be back in Mexico. The fans are outstanding here. Already on Friday it’s really packed out there in the stands, which is awesome.”
Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: “It’s really difficult to find the right set-up with these conditions, when there is low grip you have a bit of under-steer and also a bit of over-steer so setting the car up is tricky. I think we improved from the morning but there is still some progress to make so we’ll still prepare for a pretty low-grip track tomorrow and try to improve the balance. I think it will get better, I expected the grip to be higher after a year but it was still very slippery. By Sunday the last half of the race will be better but I think we’ll fight the balance from now until the end, trying to get comfortable with a slick-feeling track. The supersoft today wasn’t a great tyre for the long runs as it wasn’t lasting. I don’t know how the others got on but I believe everyone has had a few problems with that compound so it’ll be interesting in qualifying tomorrow. We might see a mixed bag again.”
Max Verstappen: “It was not ideal to miss a lot of the first practice session because of my brakes overheating, but we did some good work on the car in the second session which was positive. The brake issue was from pushing a bit hard on the in lap, therefore the temperatures were higher than usual. Due to the time I missed this morning I am still not completely happy with the set-up of the car over a short distance, but I think we have found a good long run pace for now. It was a bit tricky out there on supersofts but the car felt especially good on the medium compound, which I think is a good sign for race day. I think we can be competitive on Sunday as I was still making set-up changes towards the end of the second session, they are starting to come together now so I can improve from here. The make-up is off today, so it’s game face for the rest of the weekend.”