Max Verstappen has topped the first practice session from Mexico City as Red Bull emerged as the pace-setters from the session. Verstappen's fastest time was a 1:16.656, which is well over a second quicker than the FP1 time set twelve months ago by Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished in second place, just under half a second behind. The Australian will be leaving Red Bull at the end of the year to join Renault, with the French squad being the surprise of the bunch at the end of the opening Friday session.
Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg ended up in third and fourth place. The team will be hoping to continue the momentum from Austin, where it extended its gap to Haas in the fight for fourth place in the constructor's championship.
Behind the two Renault drivers came championship-chasing Lewis Hamilton. The Briton will be hoping to clinch his fifth world title this weekend and can do so if he finishes the race in P7 or higher, regardless of where rival Sebastian Vettel crosses the line.
Tyre degradation was the main focal point of the session, as all cars appeared to be suffering massively with the hyper soft compound. The pink-walled tyre started to grain after just a couple of laps, with teams now looking into set up changes to combat the issues.
Valtteri Bottas was sixth in the second Mercedes. Vettel was behind the Silver Arrow and he led teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen suffered from a low-speed spin early on in the session when track conditions were not good.
Brendon Hartley, who is fighting for his future in Formula 1, was ninth. The Kiwi is running Toro Rosso's upgrades on Friday after they were postponed after Austin. Should the data look positive, it is believed Hartley will keep the upgrades for the rest of the weekend. Nicolas Latifi rounded out the top ten in his latest outing for Force India.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing
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