L&T Motorsport

Mercedes Dominate Free Practice One, Hamilton on Top

Lewis Hamilton took first advantage around the Circuit of the Americas as he topped the time sheet of the first practice session. He held onto the fastest time for the majority of the session, with only teammate Nico Rosberg taking it off him for a few moments.

Hamilton originally went almost a second clear of Rosberg as the Mercedes duo set their first laps times on the super soft compound of tyre. However, the fastest laps of the session were set on the soft compound as the track performance rapidly improved through the 90-minute session. With a fastest time of 1:37.428, Hamilton was faster than Rosberg by 0.315 seconds.

Max Verstappen put Red Bull ahead of Ferrari going third quickest, with a time of 1:39.379. The Dutchman was 1.6 seconds off the pace of the leading Mercedes but he was running the medium compound whilst the Silver Arrows were on the soft rubber. Kimi Raikkonen was beaten to third by a very narrow margin. Only 0.028 seconds split the two.

Kimi Raikkonen was beaten to third by a very narrow margin. Only 0.028 seconds split the two. The early pace belonged to the Finnish driver, but as he set his first time on the softs, Rosberg set his first time on the super-softs, going 2.1 seconds faster.

Behind Raikkonen, Renault-bound Nico Hulkenberg finished fifth, ahead of William’s Valtteri Bottas. Bottas ran the halo device at the beginning of the session, along with Daniil Kvyat.

Daniel Ricciardo beat the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel for seventh. The Australian set the time on scrubbed mediums and was 2.535 seconds off the pace of the Mercedes. Vettel was on a set of soft tyres, ending with a time 0.025 seconds slower than Ricciardo’s. It looks like the fight between Red Bull and Ferrari may be close this weekend with Red Bull displaying the edge so far.

The Toro Rosso pair rounded off the top ten, with Daniil Kvyat ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. Both drivers were 2.7 seconds down on the pace and were separated by 0.009 seconds, on the supersoft compound, when the flag dropped. Kvyat complained of understeer in the session.

It was not the start to the weekend that Haas wanted with Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez P14 and P15 respectively. To add insult to injury their session ended early when both cars were forced to be pushed back into the pits as they both stopped at pit exit.

Felipe Massa, Felipe Nasr, and Fernando Alonso filled the positions between the Haas pair and the top ten.

Both Sergio Perez and Pascal Wehrlein sat out of the first practice session, giving their cars to Alfonso Celis Jr and Jordan King. Celis finished 4 seconds off the pace, leaving the car in 17th. King, in his first Formula One practice session, was 4.5 seconds off the pace and ended 20th, with Jolyon Palmer and Esteban Ocon in the sister Manor behind him.

(image: autosport.com)

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