Day one at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is in the books and the team, both trackside and back at Grove, are going through the data after an interesting first day in the Mexican capital.
Getting used to the conditions at 2,200ft above sea level is usually the first task of the Mexico City Grand Prix weekend, finding the sweet spot to keep everything running within the optimum window.
Then you throw into the mix a Pirelli 2024 prototype tyre test, but the team took it all in their stride, enjoying a positive FP1 that saw Alex Albon end the session up in P2, with Logan 1.4s back in P14.
Our American points scorer would close the gap in the second session, ending it within five-tenths of his teammate – our No23 had topped FP2 for a short while, running P1 on the prototype tyre.
As the chequered flag fell following mixed conditions in FP2, Alex was P14 with a best time of 1:19.446 with Logan in P17 with a 1:19.900.
“I don’t think we were slow in the FP2, but we obviously had a good run in the first session,” Alex commented post-FP2.
“We were better than expected but I think we just hit the ground running and optimised the window from the first lap, whereas other teams potentially took a bit longer to get up to speed.
“We were quick on the Test tyre but my lap on the Softs wasn’t very good. This is a circuit that doesn’t feel great for anyone with the low downforce; you feel like you’re sliding around a lot, however comparing year on year, it’s a big step, so let’s see how we go tomorrow.
“I don’t think we’re top 5 or top 10 but I do think we’ll be in a position to fight for Q3 tomorrow.”
Logan continued our reaction by sharing: “There is pace, but it needs to be extracted in the right way.
“It’s tricky out there to get everything in the right window whether that’s the tyres or car. The balance isn’t easy to drive with the high altitude.
“It’s not been the smoothest of days, but we made a good step from FP1 to FP2. From my side, there’s definitely more to come.
“I need to drive a little better tomorrow but it’s all heading in the right direction.”
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Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, was watching over both cars from the pit wall.
“We had a very productive day and were able to test numerous options before the rain started in FP2,” Dave said.
“Our pace was very strong in FP1 with Alex immediately happy with the car balance. Whilst this was great to see, we fully expected the others to catch up during FP2.
“With rain threatening the final third of FP2, we opted to run the new Soft tyre quite early in the session so that we could concentrate on the all-important high fuel running; getting the PU and brake cooling correct for this circuit is a challenge but we collected some good data and will be in a good position for the Grand Prix on Sunday.
“Our attention can now switch to analysing the results from today’s testing and refining the car ahead of Qualifying tomorrow.
“Although our position on the timesheet looks less impressive this afternoon, we are still in a good position to secure a strong result tomorrow with a car that should also be competitive on Sunday.”
The prediction window for this Grand Prix has now closed.