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Leclerc unhurt after heavy practice crash

Leclerc unhurt after heavy practice crash

The Mexico City Grand Prix is live on 5 Live and the BBC Sport website

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was unhurt in a heavy crash in Friday practice at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Leclerc lost control at the Esses and spun backwards into the barrier, bringing his session to an end and causing a red-flag for barrier repairs.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz topped the first session, while Mercedes’ George Russell was quickest in the second.

Russell’s time was set on standard tyres when most drivers were using 2023 Pirelli test tyres in second practice.

That repeated a trend from last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, when there was also a 2023 tyre test in second practice and the fastest time was also set on the 2022 rubber.

Russell headed Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, all on 2022 tyres, in the second session, while the fastest driver on the 2023 test tyres was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in fourth place.

The seven-time champion was 0.03 seconds faster than Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and 0.039secs ahead of the Mexican’s team-mate Max Verstappen.

In a closely matched field, Leclerc was fourth quickest on the test tyres, just 0.109secs behind Hamilton, with the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz 0.184secs off the seven-time champion’s time.

In the first session, run on 2022 rubber but on a dusty and dirty track, Sainz was 0.047 seconds ahead of Leclerc, followed by Perez, Verstappen, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.

Verstappen had a spin at the Esses in the first session, one corner on from Leclerc’s later incident, but managed to stay out of the barriers.

The world champion also had an oversteer moment at Turn Five later in the session as he struggled on the low-grip track.

Perez and Verstappen, who set identical times to the thousandth of a second, were 0.12secs behind Sainz, with Hamilton 0.142secs off the pace and Alonso 0.192secs behind.

In the first session, a number of teams used young drivers to fulfil their obligations under the rules.

The quickest was Liam Lawson in the Alpha Tauri in 16th place, followed by Williams’ Logan Sargeant, Mercedes’ Nick De Vries, Alpine’s Mick Doohan and Haas driver Pietro Fittipaldi.

Lawson, Doohan and Fittipaldi all had their sessions curtailed by technical problems.

Both Fittipaldi’s and Lawson’s issues led to the session being stopped, and Lawson’s was close enough to the end of the hour for it not to be resumed.

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