Mexican GP: Max Verstappen fastest in damp first practice

F1i 01:38 31/10/2015
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Max Verstappen finished on top of the timesheets.

Max Verstappen set the fastest time of the first practice session of the Mexican Grand Prix as Mercedes hit brake trouble.

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In the first session on the refurbished Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Verstappen set the pace on a 1:25.990. However, the Toro Rosso youngster skipped a corner after running wide at the Esses on his fastest lap, with the time not being deleted at the end of the session despite Verstappen gaining an advantage.

Daniil Kvyat ended the session in second place for Red Bull, 0.305s behind Verstappen having looked set to end FP1 fastest. Both Red Bulls and Ferraris were quick in the first practice session, with Kimi Raikkonen third having set the identical time to Kvyat on his final lap.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth and Daniel Ricciardo fifth ahead of the lead Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. However, Rosberg had a difficult session after his rear brakes caught fire after running wide at Turn 12 as he overtook Vettel, with the Mercedes driver spending half an hour in the pits as the problem was rectified.

Rosberg did get back out on track to improve his time but could not move up a position, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton ended the session in 11th place. The two drivers almost came together at one stage as Hamilton passed Rosberg under braking for Turn 12, with the German having to run wide.

While the track dried out following a damp start which saw drivers complete the early laps on intermediates, conditions remained tricky as the circuit was low on grip. A number of drivers ran wide at the Esses, while also struggling to put the power down through the slow stadium section.

Valtteri Bottas was seventh fastest overall but spun late in the session at Turn 3 having been trying to overtake a Mercedes, while Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa completed the top ten. Perez also had a spin – albeit a controlled one – having run down the escape road at Turn 12.

Felipe Nasr was another driver to spin as he exited Turn 15 – the penultimate corner – and was fortunate to avoid the concrete wall on the outside of the track.

While many drivers got to grips with a circuit which is new to them, Jenson Button completed only nine laps as a power unit issue forced the McLaren driver to spend the majority of the session in the garage.

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