There was nothing good to expect from a second free practice session devoted to testing Pirelli 2023 tires on Friday in Mexico City. A useless session for the teams and the drivers, but precious for the Italian manufacturer. Nothing to gain therefore – the times having no value – but a lot to lose. Without having the choice of rubbers or measuring their reactions, everyone was supposed to “keep some underfoot” in order to avoid the blunder.
Charles Leclerc was unable to keep this margin of safety. Halfway through the session, the Monegasque lost control of his Ferrari by biting on an inside curb to complete his three-quarter rear run in the foam protection socks. Bent rear axle, chewed up spoiler. We will have to wait to find out if the engine or more likely the gearbox of the Ferrari have been affected.
The session was interrupted for more than 20 minutes and saw George Russell (Mercedes) finish at the top of the list of times (1’19”970) without that having the slightest meaning. Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri, 0.828) was second and Esteban Ocon (Alpine, 1.207) third.
Note that Kevin Magnussen (Haas) will be penalized five places on the grid on Sunday after changing engines earlier in the afternoon.