Liam Lawson has run a clean FP1 session for the Mexico City Grand Prix to set the 16th fastest time of the session. The 1min 23.861 best lap time was enough to see him highest classified of the five young drivers filling in for full-time runners.
Mechanical difficulties for the AlphaTauri both early and late in the session put a dampener on the Kiwi’s time in the car, however he was still able to put in 19 laps during the 60 minute session.
Showing pace, he once sat as high as 10th in the classifications, but as the lap times began to tumble he dropped down the order to finish, some 3.1 seconds off top spot.
Four other reserve drivers took the track in the session, including full-time drivers for next year Logan Sargeant (Williams) and Nyck de Vries (Mercedes this session, AlphaTauri next year). Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas) and Australian Jack Doohan (Alpine) were the other two.
It was a shaky start for the Kiwi talent when brake issues hampered his efforts some five minutes into the session. Despite this, he was able to return safely to the garage for repairs.
Ten minutes was all that required to get the AlphaTauri back to track standard, Lawson immediately rejoining proceedings and setting a strong 1min 24.263sec, enough to see him move up to 10th on the FP1 timings board.
The session progressed with the field all on hard compound tyres. Mick Schumacher showed the benefits of soft tyres and track evolution midway through the session, improving on the time set on hards by three seconds.
The field took this as an opportunity to change to softs to set a benchmark time which saw lap times begin to tumble.
Max Verstappen, however, became unstuck with a spin on a flyer with 27 minutes remaining in the session. He avoided the wall and was able to resume safely.
Lawson remained out on track for the majority of the session from here, beginning to punch out a series of laps.
A red flag was required with 22 minutes remaining for the stranded Haas of Pietro Fittipaldi, the field returning to the lane whilst the car was removed.
Once proceedings resumed, it was a clean run for the majority of the remainder of the session, until a mechanical failure from Lawson’s AlphaTauri saw him grind to a halt with just minutes remaining. Stranded on track, the brakes on the Honda-powered car began to overheat and a small fire broke out before marshals could intervene.
This triggered a red flag and brought about an early conclusion to proceedings.
Carlos Sainz had the pace to top the session, a 1min 20.707sec flyer only .046sec faster than teammate Leclerc.
Red Bull were the third and fourth fastest with Sergios Perez and Max Verstappen setting identical times. Perez, however, set his time first which saw him classified third.
Despite the mechanical difficulties, Lawson was the fastest of the reserve drivers, a 1min 23.861sec enough to see him classified 16th. With this time, he eclipsed those set by Sargeant, De Vries, Doohan and Fittipaldi, all the other “fill-ins’ for the session.
Normal proceedings resume with FP2 later this morning, the full-time drivers to take back their cars from the young up-and-comers.