Recapping all of the news and notes following a busy Friday in Mexico, F1 Digital Editor Luke Smith brings you his paddock notebook.

- Max Verstappen is angling for his second straight victory in Mexico after topping both FP1 and FP2 for Red Bull on Friday. The team dominated proceedings, finishing over a second clear of the pack in both sessions.

- Verstappen’s day ended on a sour note, though, as a suspected hydraulic issue forced him to park up at the side of the track with 10 minutes remaining in FP2. The team does not believe it will force them into an engine change and subsequent penalty, though.

- Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, said it would be “naïve” to believe the team was fighting only itself for pole, but Lewis Hamilton feels the Red Bulls are already out of reach in Mexico.

- Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas both turned down their engines during Friday’s running for fears of overheating, with cooling being a key issue in the high altitude setting.

- Sebastian Vettel summed up his day as being “slippery” and lamented a lack of grip on his Ferrari, knowing his hopes of keeping the title race alive to Brazil are looking slimmer and slimmer.

- Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, ran the updated Ferrari floor that debuted in practice in Austin on Friday. The team confirmed it would be sticking to its old package, though, after completing comparisons between its two cars. Red Bull debuted its new floor design - largely copied from Ferrari - in FP1.

- FP1 stand-ins Nicholas Latifi (Force India), Antonio Giovinazzi (Sauber) and Lando Norris (McLaren) all managed to beat their teams’ regulars in the session. Latifi finished an impressive P10 for Force India, marking his best F1 practice result to date.

- The FIA stewards confirmed that Pierre Gasly has taken a new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H ahead of the race weekend, triggering a 15-place grid penalty. Gasly has also taken a new gearbox, meaning his running in qualifying tomorrow will be limited.

- Gasly’s Toro Rosso teammate, Brendon Hartley, delivered positive feedback after his first running with the updated aero package for the STR13 car on Friday. Gasly used it for FP3 before opting against using it in the race in Austin, leading to Hartley getting his chance. Hartley is set to keep the updated front wing, floor and bargeboards on his car for the rest of the weekend before Gasly gets the new parts in Brazil.

- Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz Jr., Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso will join Gasly in taking a new gearbox for the event. All of them do so within the regulations, meaning there will be no grid penalties.

- Tyre degradation was a big concern for drivers after FP2, with many saying the Hypersofts did not last any more than four or five laps on a long run before experiencing a significant drop-off. This may lead drivers to try and get through Q2 on Ultrasofts, although this compound was also reported to have high levels of degradation.

- Renault drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenberg were two of the stand-out drivers on Friday, finishing FP2 P3 and P5 respectively. However, both said they doubted they would be able to beat the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers again come qualifying.

- Sauber team boss Frederic Vasseur said he is expecting to find out this weekend whether or not the team will be able to test Kimi Raikkonen in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season. Raikkonen will join the team for 2019, and may be allowed to do the test, with replacement Charles Leclerc potentially set to feature for Ferrari.

- The race promoters in Mexico reported a Friday crowd figure of 84,976.



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