In the 90-minute extended session, the drivers focused on using Pirelli’s prototype rubber for next year, building on Austin’s findings a week ago with a softer selection of compounds.
Drivers were required to run identical programs throughout the session, comprising two five-lap races before completing two eight-lap races.
Russell was one of only five drivers allowed to use the 2022 tire compounds during FP2 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Friday afternoon, having sat out FP1 for Mercedes reserve driver Nyck. de Vries.
Russell was joined by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Williams’ Alex Albon to use 2022 tires for the first half of the session.
Russell set the fastest lap time of 1m19.970s on the soft compound tyre, finishing eight tenths of a second clear of Tsunoda in second place. Ocon was a further four tenths of a second back in third for Alpine, the trio having completed their opening runs in mediums.
While the rest of the field focused on Pirelli 2023 tyres, the race was interrupted 33 minutes into the session when a red flag was thrown after Leclerc crashed heavily at Turn 7, losing the rear of his Ferrari F1. -75 when turning.
Leclerc had done three laps in his third stage on the Pirelli prototype tyre, but hit the barrier at the esses entrance with the rear of his car, causing damage to the rear wing and left corner. The Monegasque quickly reported on the radio that he was fine, but said: “The car is not.”
The damage to the barrier meant that it was 20 minutes before racing could be resumed, at which point all the drivers concentrated on the Pirelli prototypes for the rest of the session.
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap time on the prototype tire during his third stint after pitting halfway through his second race. The seven-time world champion finished 1.5sec down on Mercedes team-mate Russell at the head of the field.
He narrowly beat Red Bull driver and hometown favorite Sergio Perez, who was just seven hundredths of a second further back after reporting rear-lock issues earlier in the session. Perez was also seen trying out several different lines at Turn 1 after noting a few bounces at the end of the straight.
Pérez’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen followed in sixth, ending the session a tenth off 2021 title rival Hamilton’s best effort in the prototypes.
Leclerc’s lap time set during his second stint on the prototype tires was good enough for seventh place ahead of Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, while Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.
Fernando Alonso finished FP2 in 11th for Alpine ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, while Albon could only reach 13th after completing just one short race on the 2022 soft tires before switching to prototype tires for Williams. .
The McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in 14th and 15th place respectively ahead of Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin, followed by Mick Schumacher in 17th for Haas.
Kevin Magnussen was limited to 20 laps during the session after missing the first half hour due to an engine change by his Haas team following the FP1 stop when Pietro Fittipaldi was in the car.
Magnussen will receive a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race as a result of the engine change, which was out of his allocation for the season.
Due to lost time, Haas opted not to use the 2022 tires and instead focused on running the Pirelli prototype, dropping him to 18th overall ahead of only Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu. .
Zhou brought out a red flag with less than two minutes on the clock in FP2 after reporting a hydraulic failure, pulling to the side of the track at Foro Sol after being instructed to stop his car.
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