Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton at the end of FP1 to lead an all Mercedes front row over the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo; 3rd and 4th respectively. Ferrari followed them all with Sebastian Vettel in front of Kimi Raikkonen. Mexican driver Alfonso Celis was driving Esteban Ocon‘s Force India and put it in the wall, causing a red flag and ending his day in an F1 car. Other testing drivers were Antonio Giovinazzi in Romain “Whiner” Grosjean‘s Haas, Sean Galael spinning (literally) Pierre Gasly‘s Toro Rosso and Charles Leclerc driving a Sauber in place of Marcus Ericsson.
FP2 saw Daniel Ricciardo set a new track record in Mexico with a 1:17.801; just .131 ahead of runner up Lewis Hamilton. Max Verstappen cruised in at third before an engine issue forced him into the garage early. Pierre Gasly suffered the same fate, completing only 10 laps before retiring the session. And surprise, surprise as Romain Grosjean had a spin that saw his tire come apart, littering the track with tire and carbon fiber to trigger a red flag. Eye roll. Hamilton also had a spin and ruined a set of tires. Formula 1 or someone in charge fitted Sergio Perez’s Force India with an “experimental microphone” on the TV pod camera in an attempt to alter the sound of the car heard by spectators on their TV sets. In honesty, it sounded like a recording of the car being replayed thru a circa 1994 Yak-Bak. And in reality, to those at the track, I assure you they still sound like 800-hp blow dryers. Eye roll, pt.2.