FP1: Hamilton sets the pace ahead of Rosberg


Lewis Hamilton was quickest in Friday’s opening practice for the United States GP but Nico Rosberg achieved the P2 he needs on Sunday to continue his title run.

As the sun shone down on the Circuit of the Americas with glorious blue overhead, Formula 1 newcomer Jordan King grabbed the opening P1 in Friday’s first practice.

Making his debut for Manor, the development driver was the first one to set a time but that was blitzed by Kimi Raikkonen.

The Finn’s reign was brief as first Nico Rosberg and then Lewis Hamilton went quickest on the supersoft tyres. A 1:39.246 for the British racer put him a full second up on Rosberg.

The Mercedes team-mates engaged in a battle whereby every time Hamilton extended his lead, Rosberg closed the gap. It was down to a 0.337s when they pitted after their first runs.

Sebastian Vettel was third in the early running on the soft tyres, 1.2s down, and 0.2 up on Nico Hulkenberg as the 2017 Renault signing put his Force India P4 on the supersoft tyres.

Despite heading out for a second run using the soft tyres both Mercedes drivers upped their pace. Rosberg went quickest with a 1:37.743 but Hamilton responded with another P1 time, a 1:37.428, which put him 0.315s up on his championship rival.

Max Verstappen was third quickest despite setting his best time on the medium tyres as he was 0.028s up on Kimi Raikkonen, who used the soft tyres.

Hulkenberg was fifth on the supersoft tyres ahead of Valtteri Bottas on the softs, Daniel Ricciardo on the mediums and Vettel on the softs.

The Ferrari driver covered 15 laps as he lost a piece of bodywork which damaged his mirror and brought out the Virtual Safety Car in order for a marshal to clear the debris.

Toro Rosso drivers Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz, both on supersoft tyres, completed the top ten.

Kvyat was one of two drivers who spun in FP1, Jolyon Palmer being the other, while Marcus Ericsson ran intor problems late in the session and slowly toured his way back to the pits with his Sauber in first gear.

Jordan King was P20 for Manor as he made his grand prix debut with a 1:42.012.

1. L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:37:428 25 laps
2. N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:37:743 27 laps
3. M. Verstappen Red Bull 1:39:379 28 laps
4. K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:39:407 21 laps
5. N. Hulkenberg Force India 1:39:712 27 laps
6. V. Bottas Williams 1:39:776 30 laps
7. D. Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39:963 26 laps
8. S. Vettel Ferrari 1:39:988 15 laps
9. D. Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:40:131 16 laps
10. C. Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:40:140 26 laps
11. F. Massa Williams 1:40:191 27 laps
12. F. Nasr Sauber 1:40:287 16 laps
13. F. Alonso McLaren 1:40:632 26 laps
14. R. Grosjean Haas 1:40:826 15 laps
15. E. Gutiérrez Haas 1:40:970 15 laps
16. M. Ericsson Sauber 1:41:170 17 laps
17. A. Celis Jr Force India 1:41:422 27 laps
18. J. Button McLaren 1:41:663 21 laps
19. K. Magnussen Renault 1:41:942 22 laps
20. J. King Manor 1:42:012 29 laps
21. J. Palmer Renault 1:42:332 31 laps
22. E. Ocon Manor 1:43:874 27 laps laps