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MEXICO GP: FREE PRACTICE

An update from free practice at the Mexico Grand Prix as the Bulls get up and running at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

The Mexico Grand Prix has swiftly become one of the season’s standout races. With high speeds in the opening sector of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez giving way to rapid changes of direction through the Esses in Sector 2, and the final sector seeing drivers winding through the immense Foro Sol stadium section where the high-sided grandstands are packed to the rafters with F1-crazy Mexican intent on partying like its 1999. It's a race which entertains both on and off track.

And for Friday's free practice the sun was beating down on the circuit, providing the perfect start to the action in Mexico City.

Both Bulls took to the track on Pirelli hypersoft tyres for Free Practice One and showed promising pace during the first track action of the week. Max finished the session in P1 with a 1:16.656, putting in 19 laps. Daniel wasn't far behind in P2, laying down a 1:17.139 after his 19 laps.

Conditions for Free Practice Two stayed relativley similar to earlier in the day as the cars left the garage. And it was another strong session for the Team, with Max ending the day in P1 after posting a 1:16.720 from his 21 laps. However, with eight minutes to go Max pulled to the side of the track with a suspected hydraulic issue. Daniel finished P2 with his time of 1:16.873, following 32 laps.

With damp track conditions, the Bulls opted to leave the garage late on in the session for Free Practice Three. Max continued his fine form from Friday and finished P1 with a 1:16.284, after his nine laps. Daniel also showed good pace ending the session in P4, with his 1:17.028 from his seven laps.

Summarising Friday's action, Max said:

“Today has been really good, better than expected. Not just for me but for Daniel also, it’s nice to have us both at the top. We have a very good car at this circuit, good downforce and good mechanical grip. This was already clear from Monaco earlier in the year and you can see again it is working really well here. If you have good grip you can make quite a big gap quickly because the surface is quite slippery out there. As always there are areas to improve but for now it’s looking good. I said in Japan that it was one of my worst Friday’s in F1, this has been one of the best. The car was quick here last year but after today I think we are more competitive than 2017. We think I had a small issue with hydraulics at the end but we haven’t been able to check the car yet. We are not too concerned ahead of tomorrow, the guys will investigate this evening but hopefully it is a quick fix.”
 
Daniel added:
 

“Our car worked really well on low fuel runs in both sessions today which should put us in a good position for qualifying, but I don’t want to be naïve as I’m sure Mercedes and Ferrari will turn it up and give us a push tomorrow. If it stays like this it could be a close six-way fight for pole which would be pretty exciting for everyone. Tomorrow I want to work more on our race pace and the high fuel runs as we weren’t quite as competitive on those. It seems with the altitude here everyone’s power levels are closer, we will see tomorrow once everyone goes into qualifying mode but today on paper we look good. The key in qualifying will be to get a clean lap as it’s still quite slippery around here and it’s easy to make small mistakes. The Hypersoft is graining a lot, which is actually quite nice, as most of the races this season have been easy on a one-stop so maybe we will actually get a two-stop this weekend.”