Formula 1

US Grand Prix F1 practice: Verstappen beats Vettel, Hamilton eighth

Max Verstappen set the fastest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the United States Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton was only eighth in the lead Mercedes.

Verstappen was 0.169 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the first 90-minute session on Friday, with Alex Albon backing up his Red Bull team-mate in third.

Red Bull showed table-topping pace throughout, with Albon quickest at the halfway stage on a 1m35.282s before times tumbled as the track improved and teams switched to the soft tyre.

After dropping Pirelli’s development 2020 tyres for a set of mediums and then softs, Verstappen posted a 1m34.057s.

Vettel’s own soft-tyre run yielded a 1m34.236s, with Albon ending up on a 1m34.336s.

As neither Mercedes driver or Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari sett a representative time, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly ended the session fourth, just under a second slower than Verstappen.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Renault, a shade faster than Romain Grosjean’s Haas, with Leclerc only seventh, 1.3s off the pace.

Hamilton, who has regular race engineer Peter Bonnington back alongside him at Austin, ended up a few hundredths shy of Leclerc.

He vaulted into the top 10 with a late soft-tyre run after threatening to end the session 18th.

Lance Stroll was ninth for Racing Point, and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10 in the second Haas.

Valtteri Bottas was down in 17th in the second Mercedes. He did complete a lengthy stint on softs but spent the rest of his session on development tyres and mediums.

Several drivers complained about bumps around the track and a jump at Turn 9, where there has been a mix of resurfacing and other parts being left alone and deteriorating.

Television replays even showed small parts being thrown off by at least one Haas over the bumps.

Carlos Sainz Jr suffered a major spin through the Esses after losing his McLaren on the bumpy entry to the corner, while many others ran wide and had lap times deleted for track limits.

Williams FP1 stand-in Nicholas Latifi stopped briefly on-track and only completed seven laps before returning to the garage.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m34.057s 26
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m34.226s 0.169s 30
3 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1m34.316s 0.259s 28
4 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m35.008s 0.951s 32
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m35.263s 1.206s 29
6 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m35.356s 1.299s 24
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m35.380s 1.323s 23
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.439s 1.382s 32
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m35.586s 1.529s 31
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m35.659s 1.602s 23
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m35.661s 1.604s 31
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m35.723s 1.666s 26
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m35.854s 1.797s 22
14 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m35.971s 1.914s 29
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m36.037s 1.980s 26
16 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m36.124s 2.067s 24
17 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m36.159s 2.102s 40
18 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m36.263s 2.206s 23
19 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m37.948s 3.891s 28
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1m41.112s 7.055s 7

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