Sebastian Vettel says he has been taken by surprise with the low speeds in the corners and the slippery nature of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit as he got to grips with the new Mexican track.
The Mexican Grand Prix, which is making a return in Formula 1 after a 23-year absence, had been predicted to produce the second-highest average lap speed of the year after Monza and Vettel says he anticipated the track to be much quicker but wants to hold back his final judgement until the track rubbers in.
The Ferrari driver ended the second free practice in fifth place and a fraction off of the recently-crowned F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, while Red Bull also appear to pose a threat at the front alongside Mercedes.
“This was an interesting day but the track was very, very, very slippery,” Vettel said. “There was very low grip and I think everybody was struggling to keep their cars on the track. It's a surprising low speed overall, as I was expecting the faster corners to be faster than they actually are but hopefully with more rubber on the track it should get a bit better for tomorrow.
“I think we are reasonably happy with how the day went. I'm sure we can improve but unfortunately the rain stopped our long run at the end of the session. But everyone else was affected too. Nevertheless I'm sure we can make improvements for tomorrow and I'm sure we'll be in a good place.”
Reflecting on his first experience of the Mexican Grand Prix, Vettel compared the atmosphere and grandstands to the ones in Singapore and has been thoroughly impressed by the support shown by the Mexican fans.
“It was amazing to see how many spectators we already had on a Friday,” Vettel said. “It's quite unique to enter a sort of stadium and see that many people in those big grandstands. Then to go through those grandstands is a bit like in Singapore, just a lot bigger, and it's a great feeling.”