Valtteri Bottas tops Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes makes strong start
Mexican Grand Prix - Free Prictice 1

Valtteri Bottas tops Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes makes strong start

Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.4s as the newly-crowned world champions made a strong start to the Mexican Grand Prix weekend.

Though Hamilton can wrap up the drivers' title by finishing fifth or higher this weekend, it was Bottas who topped Friday morning's session. It will be a boost to the out-of-form Finn, who has struggled for pace at the last few races. Mercedes wrapped up the constructors' championship in Austin but is braced for a more difficult weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigeuz.

As with most FP1 sessions of a grand prix weekend, the lead times are likely to be misleading at this stage -- while Bottas and Hamilton set their quickest laps on the ultra-soft tyre, Red Bull and Ferrari's were set on the slightly harder super-soft tyre.

Red Bull finished third and fourth, with Verstappen's quickest time on the super-softs just over 0.1s slower than Hamilton's best attempt on the ultra-soft. Though the Mexico City circuit has a punishing long straight, its twisty and technical second and third sectors are likely to suit the former world champions' aerodynamic prowess.

Ferrari settled for fifth and sixth, though Sebastian Vettel's deficit of 0.7s to the lead is unlikely to continue into the more meaningful sessions of the weekend. Kimi Raikkonen finished 0.4s off his teammate's quickest effort.

Away from the top six, local favourite Sergio Perez finished as best of the rest. Force India ran an all-Mexican line-up for the morning session, with Alfonso Celis taking Esteban Ocon's seat for FP1. However, Celis had a session to forget in front of his home crowd, slamming into the wall at Turn 16 after losing the rear of his car on the run into the corner.

Fernando Alonso, who already has a 20-place grid penalty for Honda engine changes, was eighth, ahead of Williams' Felipe Massa. Renault teammates Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz were split by just 0.02s in 10th and 11th.

Lance Stroll finished 11th for Williams in what appeared to be a frustrating session for the teenager. The Canadian was hampered by traffic on one of his hot laps and then complained to his pit wall that he was out of sync with the high-fuel runners in the closing portion of FP1.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was 13th in a session in which the team was running split aero packages between its cars, with Antonio Giovinazzi standing in for Romain Grosjean. Haas is continuing to evaluate the upgrade package introduced in Austin.

Pascal Wehrlein split the Haas drivers with an impressive run to 14th. Behind Giovinazzi, fellow Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc was 15th in the other Sauber, narrowly ahead of Toro Rosso pair Sean Gelael -- who spun mid-way through the session -- and Brendon Hartley, who's car appeared to be suffering from engine issues after he slowed during the opening 30 minutes

Behind Celis in the standings was Stoffel Vandoorne, who failed to set a time in his McLaren after the team detected a power unit issue after just three laps. The team switched back to an old power unit, meaning the issue won't add to the 35-place penalty he is already set to serve for changes made to his Honda power unit ahead of the session.

Related news

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi

Valtteri Bottas withstood race-long pressure from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to end the season with a victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Valtteri Bottas secured pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the final race of the season as the Mercedes drivers locked out the front row of the grid in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice

Lewis Hamilton topped the final practice session ahead of qualifying for Formula One's season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2

Lewis Hamilton swapped places with Sebastian Vettel at the top of the order as Mercedes and Ferrari remained close during Friday evening practice at Yas Marina.

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel set the pace in opening practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday with Lewis Hamilton second fastest for Formula One champions Mercedes.

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second

Thierry Neuville won the final round of the 2017 World Rally Championship as his closest challenger, Jari-Matti Latvala, crashed out of second place on Rally Australia's Power Stage.

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth win of the season after beating Valtteri Bottas to victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years

Honda's Marc Marquez won his fourth MotoGP world championship in five years on Sunday after his only rival Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of the season-ending race in Valencia.

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out

Valtteri Bottas beat Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to pole position with a last-gasp effort in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, after newly-crowned Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton crashed out in the first session.

RELATED NEWS

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi

Valtteri Bottas withstood race-long pressure from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to end the season with a victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Valtteri Bottas secured pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the final race of the season as the Mercedes drivers locked out the front row of the grid in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP3

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice

Lewis Hamilton topped the final practice session ahead of qualifying for Formula One's season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP2

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2

Lewis Hamilton swapped places with Sebastian Vettel at the top of the order as Mercedes and Ferrari remained close during Friday evening practice at Yas Marina.

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP1

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel set the pace in opening practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday with Lewis Hamilton second fastest for Formula One champions Mercedes.

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second
WRC Rally Australia

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second

Thierry Neuville won the final round of the 2017 World Rally Championship as his closest challenger, Jari-Matti Latvala, crashed out of second place on Rally Australia's Power Stage.

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil
Brazil Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth win of the season after beating Valtteri Bottas to victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years
Valencia Grand Prix

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years

Honda's Marc Marquez won his fourth MotoGP world championship in five years on Sunday after his only rival Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of the season-ending race in Valencia.

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out
Brazil Grand Prix - Qualifying

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out

Valtteri Bottas beat Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to pole position with a last-gasp effort in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, after newly-crowned Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton crashed out in the first session.