Alfa Romeo report from Friday practice at the Mexican Grand Prix, round 18 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Few places do Formula One like Mexico. Some tracks boast loads of history; in some, the passionate fans are the highlight of the weekend; others make sure the whole event is a show. And then there’s this: a venue that does it all.
For the fifth year running, we have been welcomed by the immense love of the Mexican fans. The autograph session was a rowdy affair, with fans defying physics to lean over the barriers and get a photo with Kimi and Antonio. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, even without the infamous Peraltada corner, remains a place steeped in history near and far – the backdrop to victories by the likes of Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna, title showdowns and epic battles. Most importantly, the event is a real highlight of the calendar not only for the on-track action, but for everything that goes on throughout the race weekend.
The Mexican Grand Prix promoters go above and beyond to turn this race into an event. For us in the paddock, it means walking through the turnstiles as Mariachi bands play or enjoying the taco and churro stands dotted around the place. For the ticket holders, it’s the impressive fan zone and the partying in the Foro Sol after the race. There’s stuff for everyone, everywhere.
Our focus, of course, remains on the racing. We will give 100%, as we always do. But we will do so while loving every minute of our stay here in Mexico. This is the hallmark of a great event.
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
1st practice: 13th / 1:19.205 (22 laps) / 2nd practice: 14h / 1:38.688 (37 laps)
“It wasn’t very easy to find the grip out on track, but it has always been like this here in Mexico. The altitude obviously affects the handling of the car and the surface of the track is quite dirty, as I don’t think the circuit really gets used much apart from us. We had a busy Friday, we focused on our programme and now we will need to get the best possible car ready for tomorrow.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 10th / 1:18.959 (22 laps) / 2nd practice: 18th / 1:38.689 (46 laps)
“It’s been a tricky Friday. The track was very difficult, especially in FP1, and there was very little grip. We struggled a bit in FP2 but my qualifying run was not the best, so the times are not really representative. We did a lot of laps on high fuel to understand how the tyres behave, but the real picture of where we stand will only appear tomorrow. It’s important to get a good qualifying position here so that’s what we will focus on now, then we will see what happens.”