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Frederik Vesti on His Mexico FP1 Debut

The Mexico City Grand Prix was a big one for our Junior Driver, Frederik Vesti as he made his F1 race weekend debut in FP1.

It was the F2 driver’s first time behind the wheel of the W14, replacing George Russell for the first practice session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Each team must complete two rookie FP1 sessions across the course of a season, one per driver. George opted to take his in Mexico with Fred experiencing his first laps in an F1 car on an official race weekend.

We sat down with Fred on Sunday in Mexico City to see how he found the experience.

So, Fred, first time in Mexico, how's it been being here and with experiencing the weekend with the team?

Fred: “Being in Mexico has been a really, really cool experience. I've learnt so much from being with the team. Being able to drive the car and then straight away being in all the meetings. Learning from Lewis and George has been very beneficial, because I can assess my own performance against two of the best drivers in the world. And that has been very helpful. Also being with the Mercedes crew, the engineers and everyone has been great. They’ve all been extremely helpful for this weekend and also my future, for sure. So I’ve learned a lot.”

How did it feel driving out of the garage for the first time in W14?

Fred: “I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous, but it's funny because when you put your helmet on, and especially when the engine starts, it's just like this tunnel of focus. All of my brain capacity is focused on how I can execute this job in the best possible way. So, when the engine starts, you sort of forget about that nervous feeling, but for sure when I woke up in the morning before the FP1 there was some nerves.

What was your focus for the session?

Fred: “Well the focus was to deliver really good feedback to the team, both on the car set-up but also on the planned set-up changes we made. There were never any specifics in terms of lap time or achievements, it was more focused on completing the programme, driving within your limit and learning from that. We definitely did that so I was pleased overall.”

How did it feel driving the car compared to how it is in the sim? What kind of differences did you find?

Fred: “I think the biggest difference in the sim and the car is definitely the fear factor and the consequence if it goes wrong, when you're in your first ever official session in F1, there is sort of a zero tolerance to having an accident. It cannot happen. In the sim, if you make a mistake, you just press reset and you go again. And that's quite a big difference in mindset and mentality. But yeah, that was probably the biggest thing.”

How important is it to have that real world experience in the car for what you do in the sim?

Fred: “The sim work is really important, but it's very difficult to do that sim work, if I don't know how the tyres feel, how the car, the engine feels in real life. For sure every single lap I get in the car will help me massively in the simulator and help the team as well. So, in the days after Mexico I will be in the sim running through the programme that I did, trying to understand if it felt similar to real life in the sim and see if we can improve the sim further.”

You've had a lot of support from fans over the weekend, what would you like to say to them?

Fred: “Yeah, honestly the Vesti fans and the Mercedes fans have been awesome. It's been really cool to see that support. Obviously, this is my first time in official F1 race weekend session and to see that people are so excited and sharing that feeling with me is amazing. Thank you to all the fans and people supporting me!”