FP1: Hamilton blitzes Austin competition

Date published: October 20 2017

Lewis Hamilton was comfortably quickest on a drying Circuit of the Americas in Friday’s first practice, half a second up on Sebastian Vettel.

Friday’s first practice got underway on a damp Circuit of the Americas with the drivers opting for a run on the intermediate tyres.

Slick damp patches awaited them as the water was sitting on some parts of the track and causing a few slips and slides.

Daniel Ricciardo, test driver Sean Gelael, Esteban Ocon all spun within the first 30 minutes while Lewis Hamilton set the early pace on the intermediate tyres.

As the drizzle stopped and the track began to dry out Max Verstappen took over at the front with a 1:47.922 on the development intermediate tyres and reported that they are “simply lovely.”

Sebastian Vettel, running Ferrari’s new diffuser, was the first driver to swap to slicks and went quickest with a 1:45.960.

With the track continuing to dry out, more drivers swapped to slick tyres with the benchmark time tumbling.

At the end of the 90 minutes it was down to a 1:36.335, a time set by Hamilton on the supersoft tyres.

Vettel was second fastest, 0.593s down, while Valtteri Bottas was third.

Verstappen, fresh from signing a new Red Bull deal, finished fourth fastest ahead of Felipe Massa, who set his time on the ultrasoft tyres, Kimi Raikkonen and Stoffel Vandoorne.

The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz, now with Renault, completed the top ten.

Brendon Hartley on his Toro Rosso debut was 14th.

There were problems for Ricciardo, who sat out the final 30 minutes, with an undisclosed problem while Fernando Alonso did not set a time as a hydraulic leak on the chassis side meant he covered just three laps.

Times

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.335
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:36.928 0.593
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:36.979 0.644
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:37.339 1.004
5 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:37.352 1.017
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:37.570 1.235
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:37.598 1.263
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:37.808 1.473
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:37.861 1.526
10 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:38.093 1.758
11 Lance Stroll Williams 1:38.534 2.199
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport 1:38.904 2.569
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:38.916 2.581
14 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:39.267 2.932
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:39.336 3.001
16 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.366 3.031
17 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso 1:40.406 4.071
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:40.448 4.113
19 Charles Leclerc Haas 1:40.828 4.493
20 Fernando Alonso McLaren