The analysis of free practice in Mexico

The Mexican circuit is confirmed in favor of Red Bull, with Verstappen the man to beat and Mercedes in difficulty. Ferrari is faster than a McLaren not at ease, but beware of Gasly’s Alpha Tauri, which could undermine the Red as the third force of the weekend. All live on Sky Sport

HIGHLIGHTS OF FREE

The Mexican track, as expected on the eve, it seems enhance the Red Bull package and its strength we have seen in Free Practice 2 with Verstappen inflicting a rather important gap on the Mercedes duo. There RB16B, on a very “green” track, it has shown that it can fly especially in second and third sector where downforce is crucial. All the cars on the track suffered from a lack of grip on these stretches of track with the exception of the two Milton Keynes drivers who seemed to be driving on the tracks. All the teams took to the track with high downforce wings similar to those used in Monaco just to try to find the maximum downforce. The Mexican GP is raced at an altitude of 2.285 m and this results in a reduction of oxygen of about 25% (compared to sea level 0 m). This aspect causes problems not only for the engines but also for the aerodynamic load of the cars which, with the same wings, is reduced by about 25% compared to the other circuits (0 m asl).

Engines also suffer from this aspect, in fact a naturally aspirated engine would have a loss of power quantified in about 20-25% while with turbocharged ones the power deficit is estimated around 5%. In a nutshell, the more you can get the group around quickly turbocharger and less will be the loss of power.

But this is not free because the maximum speed of the turbocharger assembly is set by the technical regulation in 120,000 rpm. This level of rotation is not reached by any motorist as the motors are designed and conceived for most of the routes on the calendar that are located less than 500 m above sea level. Here lies the advantage of Honda who can count on a May-sized turbocharger assemblyr compared to the others who is able to approach, without too many problems, the maximum limit imposed by the technical regulation. Honda can also count on experience in this field gained in the aeronautical field which has certainly brought a big advantage.

If we analyze the individual split times we can see the strength of the Red Bull and Honda package. L’Alpha Tauri, powered by the Japanese engine, was the fastest in the first sector where there is a straight line of over 1 km. In the remaining sectors, Verstappen’s dominance was clear against all competitors.

If we analyze the qualification simulation of the Ferrari we can say that the Maranello team must consider itself quite satisfied. The SF21 suffered from the lack of grip on the asphalt but it was still there well defended against McLaren which, as was foreseen on the eve, seems to be in great difficulty. The goal for the Maranello team seems to be the third row in qualifying of tomorrow as the two Red Bulls and Mercedes seem to be unassailable. The new hybrid system, from what is perceived in the analysis of the times, was used by Sainz combined with the old specification internal combustion engine. Only tomorrow, during free practice 3,

both pilots will use the cooler endothermic specification combined with the new system hybrid that has performed well in the last few races.

From what we have seen today, the team that can annoy the Italian Scuderia, both in qualifying and in the race, seems to be Gasly’s Alpha Tauri who, today, finished in sixth place with a better “ideal lap” than Sainz’s. It must be said that the Spaniard got his best time on the third timed lap demonstrating that a decidedly more competitive time trial could be obtained.

If we focus on the race simulation we find results that reflect what we saw during the qualifying simulation. Among the top teams, only Mercedes decided to test the red tires at the start of the stint. This may have simply been due to the fact that the hard bikes they had used at the start of free 2 had already covered several laps and both riders had made a block that had tried one “flattening“. According to Pirelli, the difference in performance between the soft and the average is only 6 tenths and for this reason, during tomorrow’s qualifying, the strongest teams will try to qualify during Q2 with the averages in order to exploit them in the first part of the race. The “red”, with the track conditions seen today, does not seem to be the right tire for the race and the teams seem oriented to use mainly medium and hard.


If we analyze the times Red Bull is confirmed as the team to beat with Verstappen who was the fastest even with a full tank of petrol followed by team mate Checo Perez. Mercedes did not shine with either compound proving that the Anglo-German team has a lot work to do to try to put pressure on his rival for the world title.

For the role dThe third force confirms Gasly’s competitiveness who was the author of an excellent long run with a better race pace than that of Leclerc and Sainz. Even with a full tank of petrol McLaren did not shine but we wait for free practice 3 tomorrow before drawing too hasty conclusions. In the time table, Fernando Alonso’s long run is noteworthy with hard tires that was

particularly fast and constant, demonstrating that the hardest compound could be the best one for Sunday’s race which, according to Pirelli’s prediction, should be a single pit stop with the best who will mount the average at the start and then use the hard up to the flag. chess.

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The analysis of free practice in Mexico