Formula One: Kiwi Liam Lawson's practice session with Alpha Tauri goes up in smoke in Mexico

Kiwi driver Liam Lawson's second practice drive with Formula One's Alpha Tauri was cut short, after his car caught fire in Mexico on Saturday (NZ time).

During the first practice session at the Mexico City Grand Prix, Lawson was forced to pullover and make a hasty exit from his car, when his brakes failed and caught fire.

"I have no brakes, brakes are completely gone," Lawson told his team in the pits at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

With all 10 Formula One teams obliged to give two practice sessions to a junior driver in 2022, Lawson stepped into the Alpha Tauri cockpit for the second time this season, taking over from Japan's Yuki Tsunoda after replacing Pierre Gasly at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Lawson is currently the reserve driver for both Alpha Tauri and Red Bull's senior team, after coming through Red Bull's driver academy.

He was overlooked for a spot on the 2023 Formula One grid, as Alpha Tauri signed former Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries for next year after the departure of Gasly to Alpine.

Lawson looks on as he car smokes away.
Lawson looks on as he car smokes away. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Pukekohe native is currently seventh in the Formula Two standings after 13 rounds and 26 races, highlighted by sprint victories in Belgium, Saudia Arabia, and France.

Carlos Sainz led team mate Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari one-two, clocking a fastest time of 1m 20.707s with Monaco's Leclerc 0.046s slower.

Both championships have already been won by Red Bull's Max Verstappen and his team but Monday's high-altitude race will see the Dutch driver and team mate Sergio Perez each chasing their own first.

Perez can become the first Mexican to win his home race while Verstappen will be chasing a record 14th win in a single season, as the team move on from being punished for breaching last year's cost cap.