Grosjean puts Haas’ home-race party on hold

Mark Scott

Romain Grosjean gave Haas an unwanted repair job at their home race after crashing heavily during FP2.

Here is how the first day of practice unfolded in Austin, Texas…

The drivers were treated to, let’s say, fresh, conditions as they filed into Circuit of The Americas first thing on Friday morning. Temperatures were barely above zero. Not like you can tell…

Lando Norris McLaren

FP1 did not start off particularly well for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari but, fear not, it turns out it was an issue with the throttle pedal rather than the engine itself.

Meanwhile, off the track, Renault announced a reshuffle of their aerodynamic department as they look to hit the ground running in 2021, depending on whether they stay in the sport or not, of course.

There was also more planning for the future on track as some of the Formula 1 drivers tested out 2020 Pirelli prototypes in FP1.

Nicholas Latifi’s latest FP1 run for Williams came to a grinding halt with the gearbox sounding very poorly indeed.

Elsewhere Mercedes were staying well out of the spotlight with both drivers down in the bottom five until the final stages as they tested out the 2020 prototypes.

It didn’t sound like Hamilton was having the greatest of times out there.

Top of the timesheets in FP1… Max Verstappen.

Romain Grosjean started FP2 for Haas in terrible fashion, bringing out the red flags at their home race after spinning off into the barriers at speed at Turns 5 and 6.

Fortunately the Frenchman was okay.

With the track green again Charles Leclerc was leading the way ahead of Max Verstappen.

Antonio Giovinazzi meanwhile went for a spin of his own.

After a quiet FP1 Mercedes began to show their hand as Hamilton improved to P2, but he was yet to use the medium tyre which was serving Leclerc well.

Bottas briefly put himself fastest as he went for a stint on the soft rubber, but Sebastian Vettel needed only minutes to set a 1:33.890 on the same compound to displace the Finn.

It would be Leclerc who gave his team-mate a dose of his own medicine, shattering that time with a 1.33.5.

Hamilton picked up a handy tow on his qualifying sim to better Leclerc by 0.3s as top spot continued to change hands.

Vettel made a mess of his race simulation after spinning under acceleration at Turn 14.

Hamilton would top the session, but it remains to be seen how much that tow down the straight was worth to the Brit.

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