Home hero Perez expects ‘tough’ qualifying battle in Mexico City after ‘difficult, difficult day’

Home favorite Sergio Perez said his first runs at the high-altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez have been tough as he expects Ferrari and Mercedes to give Red Bull a run for their money in Mexico City.

Perez is entering his home race after enjoying his most successful season in F1, the Mexican driver who has won the Monaco and Singapore Grands Prix and took seven other podium finishes – all second places – in 2022. But on Friday, he was crowned as Finishing third in FP1 and then fifth in the FP2 Pirelli test was not easy.

FP2: Russell leads second practice in Mexico City as Leclerc crashes

“Yeah, as usual it was a tough, tricky day in Mexico with the altitude, everything is floating around so quite easy to make mistakes in these conditions,” he said. “So overall I think FP2 was clearly mainly for Pirelli, but [in] FP1 we have a good base, and we seem to be there.

“Ferrari seems to be strong, also Mercedes, so it will be a tough battle tomorrow,” added Perez.

“I think we got up to speed pretty quickly” [in FP1] so hopefully tomorrow should be clear. But tomorrow you can always expect different things.”

2022 Mexico City GP FP1: Max Verstappen spins in turn 10 in first practice

Team-mate Max Verstappen, who spun on his way to P4 in FP1 (above), said the track was as slippery as ever.

“Yeah, I had a moment: as soon as I got a little out of line it was like ice cream, so I just drifted left, drifted right, and at some point when it goes you just have to hold the brakes and it hits the wall.”

The two-time Formula 1 champion added that he is heading into the unknown after just one run on the soft tires, in FP1, before taking P6 on the prototype Pirellis in FP2.

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“I mean on the soft” [compound] everything was fine, but we only had one run on it, and then in FP2 we had to do the tire test again. That makes it just a bit more difficult and a bit more unknown like last weekend, for everyone, but the harder compounds are a bit more difficult,” explains the Dutchman.

Red Bull entered Mexico City and closed both the Drivers and Constructors’ Championships for the first time since 2013. Now Perez wants to take a historic home win in front of a packed house.

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