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

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

Perez enters his home race after enjoying his most successful season in F1, with the Mexican driver having won the Monaco and Singapore Grands Prix and scoring seven more podiums – all second places – in 2022. But Friday’s race , which saw him finish third in FP1 and then fifth in the Pirelli FP2 test, was not easy.

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

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

“Ferrari seem to be strong, Mercedes too, so it’s going to be a tough battle tomorrow,” added Perez.

“I think we got to know each other pretty quickly [in FP1] so should be simple tomorrow hopefully. But you can always expect different things tomorrow.

Mexico GP 2022 FP1: Max Verstappen turns at turn 10 during first practice

Teammate Max Verstappen, who spun his way to P4 in FP1 (above), said the track was slipperier than ever.

“Yeah, I just had a moment: as soon as I got off the line a little bit, it was like ice cream, so I was just drifting left, right, and at a point where it goes, it’s just to hold the brakes and it just hits the wall.

The double Formula 1 champion added that he was heading into the unknown after a single test on soft tires, in FP1, before taking 6th place in the Pirellis prototype in FP2.

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“I mean on the soft [compound] everything was fine, but we only had one race on it, then in FP2 we had to do the tire tests again. It makes it a bit harder and a bit more unknown like last weekend, for everyone, but the harder compounds are a bit trickier,” explained the Dutchman.

Red Bull entered Mexico City having won the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships for the first time since 2013. Now Perez is aiming to deliver a historic victory on home soil in front of a capacity crowd.

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