'Few positives' for Mortara but race pace, promise for Guenther the story of Maserati's Mexico City

Testing pacesetters Maserati MSG Racing had been expected to hit the ground running in Mexico City, but rapid development and some tactical wizardry elsewhere, plus some tough luck, meant the team would leave Central America without a point.

Maserati Mexico City Mortara

Free Practice 1 looked to confirm the team's Valencia promise - with Maximilian Guenther topping the times there, and Edo Mortara ninth overall. In Mexico City, they opened the weekend 10th and sixth, respectively. 

As with DS PENSKE's race weekend, things somewhat unravelled from there. Mortara got loose, like he did last year with that spin over the line on his Duels lap, right at the Peraltada but this time he clipped the wall and damaged his car, ending his FP2 prematurely. Guenther rounded the session in just 16th spot. Any and all data at this crucial stage in GEN3's infancy is vital and Mortara's shunt is unlikely to have helped the cause.

Ninth for Guenther and eighth for Mortara in the Groups reaulted in no further progress in qualifying, meaning 16th and 17th for the pair on the grid ahead of Round 1.

Mortara's progress ended in the wall

Mortara made ground up until the first ATTACK MODE and through to Safety Car deployments - passing Rene Rast and Dan Ticktum - the latter unlucky to be penalised from a top six berth with an power spike, over limits.

Approaching the half way point, though, the Swiss-Italian-French driver made an uncharacteristic slip, spinning 180 degress into the Turn 1 barriers aand out of the race. That left him pointless in four of his last five races, having also never finished below eighth in Mexico.

“This weekend wasn’t our best," said Mortara. "After the pace we had in Valencia, I found it difficult to find a good rhythm in the car, especially over one lap. I managed to come back in the race and until the crash, I think we were in a good position, especially with our pace and on the energy side.

"I found it quite challenging to find a good balance on the tyres, and a snap of oversteer caused me to go off in the first corner. Overall, there were few positives to take, but we will examine our data closely, understand what happened and come back for Diriyah.”

Strategy pays dividends for Guenther

With five laps added for time spent under the Safety Car, the team's energy management-focussed strategy to clamber through the pack paid dividends for Guenther.

Maximilian Guenther Mexico City

As the race ticked beyond the 36-lap mark where it was due to end, the German came into his own and made up four spots to 11th overall, ultimately just 0.614 seconds shy of the points.

“This weekend has been tough for us as a team," said the 25-year-old. "With the high altitude it was quite difficult to get the tyres into the sweet spot which impacted our pace in qualifying.

"Starting from the back, our pace in the race was much better and our efficiency and strategy proved to be competitive. I was able to move forward several places, but unfortunately, we were just short of the top 10.

"We’ve gained a lot of data from this weekend, and now, we just need to examine our performance, focus on our progress, and come back stronger in Riyadh.”