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Mexican Grand Prix 2023

F1 Mexican Grand Prix rookie FP1 report

With five rookies taking to the track on Friday, who impressed and who was hampered? Hear from all five drivers after their first runs of the season.

Bearman Mexico
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Five F1 rookies took to the track for FP1 outings at the Mexico City Grand Prix as teams fulfilled part of their obligation to run up-and-coming drivers.

All teams must use rookie drivers on two occasions across the season, meaning a driver who has competed in two Grands Prix or less.

With ups and downs for each of the five that took part at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, here's a rundown of the varying fortunes.

Vesti impresses for Mercedes

Frederik Vesti took to the wheel of George Russell's Mercedes for his bow in an official F1 session and impressed his team by completing his practice programme cleanly.

The F2 championship challenger would set the 19th fastest lap time as he completed the data collection required by the Brackley-based outfit, driving alongside seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

Vesti will be back in the car at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"It's a dream come true and I'm very grateful to the team for the opportunity," said Vesti.

"Since I've joined the team's junior programme, there's been a lot of work going into getting the right results and lots of preparations in the simulator to prepare me for.

"It was a good session for us overall, we managed to get some useful information from the long run stints and understand the prototype tyres and degradation at this track.

"I've never raced here before and it's definitely a difficult track with low grip, which you can also really feel in the car. So, lots of learnings for me and the team in the one-hour long practice session and hopefully good preparations for decent results on Sunday.

"I can't wait to be back in Abu Dhabi and sit in the car for the team again."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Doohan back in at Alpine

Jack Doohan returned to the Alpine cockpit for a second season having completed similar running last season in the wake of Oscar Piastri's contract saga.

The Australian was focused largely on test items looking ahead to the future whilst taking charge of Pierre Gasly's A523 and would set the 18th fastest time.

"It was a really good session and I felt very comfortable in the car right from my first lap," explained Doohan.

"I was glad to contribute to the team’s programme, which, on my side, focused on a couple of future test items. It was important to get through the session without any issues and tick all the boxes on our run list, which we were able to achieve trouble-free.

"I’ve been testing throughout the year in the 2021 car, so I definitely felt ready for today and it meant we could be right on it from the start.

"I’m very grateful to the team for the opportunity and for their trust and support both in the build-up ahead of the day and during the session itself.

"I’m now looking forward to seeing how the rest of the weekend unfolds for the team and offering my support where I can.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Pourchaire bugged by brake issue

Théo Pourchaire's return to the Alfa Romeo hot seat was an underwhelming experience as he failed to complete a timed lap.

The French F2 championship leader was hampered by a brake issue at the start of the session, leaving him confined to the garage as the Hinwil-based outfit carried out checks on the car.

“I’m grateful to the team for this opportunity, even though we didn’t get much in terms of laps," he said.

"Unfortunately, I suffered an issue on the braking system at the beginning of the session, which prevented me to get any running throughout FP1 – the priority was, rightly, to promptly investigate the problem.

"Of course, it is a bit frustrating, as I was really looking forward to driving the C43 out on track; still, it’s all part of motorsport, and something like this can happen at any time – and, at least, it was during practice."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Hadjar thrilled with 'best day of my life'

Isack Hadjar got the chance to run for AlphaTauri despite the team having finished its quota of rookie runs but the Red Bull junior took the opportunity with both hands.

Beaming with excitement, Hadjar completed his test programme without issue and finished with the 17th fastest time.

“It's the best day of my life," said Hadjar.

"My first ever time in an F1 car was incredible, so I’m happy.

"There was so much going on with the procedures and traffic that it was overwhelming at first. It was tough, but I got into a rhythm quite quickly, and my confidence grew.

"During my first runs, I was struggling to get a lap without traffic, but in the last run, the race pace was quite good and consistent, and I could manage the soft compound for a few laps. It was a really good experience, and now I can't wait to be back in the car."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Bearman shines for Haas

Perhaps the most impressive of the five rookies was Ollie Bearman, who at 18 years old made his F1 bow with Haas.

The Ferrari Academy Driver was the fastest of the five whilst completing his practice programme trouble-free, even finishing above Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

“My first goal was to have a clean session and we did that, so that was the main thing," explained Bearman.

"Secondly, I got up to speed quite fast, I had confidence in the car - it was my first time on the soft tyres, my first time doing a long run – and I’ll do better the second time, but for my first FP1 I’m happy.

"The thing that surprised me was how much quicker you arrive at Turn 1 on a quali sim, compared to the race. The guys have given me pointers throughout, especially because the track is so unique due to the altitude. It was over so fast, but I’m going to be back on the sim preparing for Abu Dhabi.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

F1 2023 Mexican Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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