While it wasn’t entirely unusual to see a Mercedes driver missing from the top of the timesheets on Friday, it was to see them seventh and ninth, respectively 1.380 and 1.420 seconds off the pace of Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen.
While the Silver Arrows, like most, struggled with its tyres, the German team was also concerned at overheating of its power units and therefore opted to turn the wick down.
“This is an unusual track, which places unusual demands on the chassis, power unit, cooling systems and tyres,” said technical boss James Allison.
“From all our running today, we have to conclude that we have not yet found the best way to meet those unusual demands with good performance on both single laps and in the long runs.
“We were overheating the power unit in a number of areas today,” he admitted, “and that meant we had to protect against this by turning it down as a precaution.
“With a bit luck, and no little hard work, we can get ourselves into better shape tomorrow and on Sunday, when conditions are also forecast to be cooler.
“We have plenty of work ahead of us overnight and in FP3 tomorrow to put ourselves in a stronger position than we were able to achieve today.”
Check out our Friday gallery from Mexico City, here.