With the prospect of breaking his own record for the most wins in a season should he chalk up a 16th success of 2023 in Mexico, Verstappen enjoyed a strong start to the weekend by topping both FP1 and FP2 in his RB19.
The three-time Mexico GP winner paced Alex Albon’s Williams in the opening session by 0.095s in the opening session before lowering his 1m19.718s benchmark to a 1m18.686s that shaded Lando Norris by 0.119s before rain fell in FP2.
Verstappen’s only moments of concern came when he identified a tear-off that had become lodged in his rear suspension and encountered stiff resistance when attempting to pass a feisty Valtteri Bottas into Turn 1.
Behind Norris, who had clocked the fourth-fastest time in FP1 behind Verstappen, Albon and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, came the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc one week on from his disqualification in Austin.
The session was less straightforward for Fernando Alonso, who spun through 360 degrees on the exit of Turn 9 to root his set of soft tyres,
Bottas was a fighting fourth for Alfa Romeo ahead of Perez, a result made all the more impressive by his having to give up the Ferrari-powered Alfa in FP1 for Formula 2 points leader Theo Pourchaire as part of F1’s mandatory rookie running.
Fellow F2 drivers Ollie Bearman (Haas), Isack Hadjar (AlphaTauri) and Fredrik Vesti (Mercedes) all had their first experiences of an official F1 weekend, while for Hadjar it was a first experience of F1 machinery full-stop.
Meanwhile, Jack Doohan returned to the Alpine cockpit for the first time since Abu Dhabi 2022.
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Ollie Bearman, Haas VF-23
What time does qualifying start for the F1 Mexican Grand Prix?
Qualifying for the Mexican GP starts at 3pm local time (10pm BST), using the regular Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout session format.
Date: Saturday 28 October 2023
Start time: 3pm local time – 10pm BST
How can I watch Formula 1?
In the United Kingdom Formula 1 is broadcast live on Sky Sports, except for the British GP which is shown live on both Sky Sports and Channel 4, with highlights shown on Channel 4 several hours after the race has finished. Live streaming through NOW is also available in the UK.
Sky Sports F1, which broadcasts the F1 races, can be added as part of the Sky Sports channels which costs £24 a month for new customers. Sky Sports can also be accessed through NOW with a one-off day payment of £11.98p or a month membership of £34.99p per month.
How can I watch F1 Mexican GP qualifying?
In the United Kingdom every F1 practice, qualifying and race is broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, with Mexican GP qualifying coverage starting at 8:30pm BST on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event.
- Channel: Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event
- Start time: 8:30pm BST 28 October 2023
Autosport will be running a live text coverage of qualifying here.
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23
When can I watch the highlights of F1 Mexican GP qualifying?
In the United Kingdom, Channel 4 is broadcasting highlights of qualifying for the Mexican GP at 8:30am BST on Sunday morning. The full programme will run for 60 minutes, covering both qualifying and wrapping up the major talking points of the race weekend so far.
For the entire 2023 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race of each event. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.
- Channel: Channel 4
- Start time: 8:30am BST 29 September 2023
Will F1 Mexican GP qualifying be on the radio?
Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2023 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra or via the BBC Sport website.
Coverage of Mexican GP qualifying will start at 10:00pm BST on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds app.
What’s the weather forecast for qualifying in Mexico City?
Hot and sunny conditions are forecast for Saturday for the start of qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The temperature is set to be 24 degrees Celsius at the start of qualifying, with a very low chance of rain.