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Morning After: Red Bull’s Time to Shine?

Making the most of the unique conditions on Friday at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Red Bull looked like a legitimate contender for top honours at Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Well, it’s official: Renault have the best power unit on the grid.

Okay, so maybe not, but at the very least, the unique conditions on Friday in Mexico City seem to have done a good job of levelling the playing field, and that means maybe, just maybe, Red Bull can interrupt the usual Mercedes/Ferrari hegemony.

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Certainly, they’re off to a good start, finishing FP2 a second clear of everyone else, and while they’ve still got work to do on their long runs (their only meaningful stint was a 9-lap run by Ricciardo on ultrasofts), there’s no denying they remain well ahead of everyone else.

That said, with an exceptionally green and dusty track, as well as the scorching on-track temperatures (nearly 50°C) it’s fair to suggest we haven’t seen the real Ferrari or Mercedes (although if you want to pretend Brendon Hartley is faster than Lewis Hamilton, I won’t stop you) and realistically, that changes as the conditions settle down on Saturday.

Still, even if their rivals draw closer, the RB14’s chassis isn’t going to get worse, and in the altitude of Mexico City, that might be really all they need. Here’s hoping for a six-way fight in qualifying, and just as importantly, Max Verstappen’s hydraulic failure being enough RBR-misfortune for one weekend.

Friday Figures

  • 80%. Chance of not just rain, but thunderstorms during quali. Things could get very wacky indeed.
  • 0.051. Advantage Lewis Hamilton (8 laps) had over Sebastian Vettel (12 laps) on their comparable supersoft runs in FP2. Perhaps not what Vettel would want to see, but close enough that there’s hope for a good tussle come Sunday.
  • 153. Race entries for Nico Hulkenberg without a podium. Is this the weekend that finally changes???

Quick Hits

Mexico FP2: Verstappen fastest then stops