FP2: Hamilton domination continues


Lewis Hamilton once again proved unstoppable in Austin, Texas as he topped the practice timesheets for a second time at the Circuit of The Americas.

Hamilton, chasing a fifth US win in six years and one that could seal a fourth World Championship crown, beat his own track record with a best time of 1:34.668.

Max Verstappen, in P2, closed to within four tenths, with Vettel, in P3, half a second off the pace and only setting his first timed lap 45 minutes into the session due to a late start and a big spin off at the penultimate corner.

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas was a further tenth back in P4, with Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen rounding off the top six.

The grey, murky backdrop that lingered throughout FP1 made way for blue skies and a dry track in the afternoon, producing a much more meaningful session ahead of Sunday's race.

As the Red Bull duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen traded top spot in the opening stages, Vettel, the last driver to head out of the garage, made only a brief appearance to begin with as he lost control at the penultimate corner on his first hot lap and found the gravel trap.

After a brief lull in proceedings, the drivers began to slowly emerge from the garages again with plenty of the pink ultrasofts on display.

Hamilton, who had a scruffy start to the FP2 session, suddenly came to life by setting a 1:34.668 which surpassed the previous track record that the Brit set himself in Q3 at the Circuit of The Americas last year.

Similar to FP1, nobody else could really get close to Hamilton's best time with Verstappen four tenths down and Vettel finding himself half a second behind again – only setting his first timed lap at the halfway point of the session.

Attention then turned to the longer race programmes, but not for Vettel, who required yet another set-up change and was unable to get into any sort of rhythm throughout the afternoon.

Vettel reported "something weird with the front axle" on the way back to the garage and said the car "felt like jelly", losing more valuable track time as a result.

Team-mate Raikkonen, though, had the best lap average on the ultrasofts during the race simulation runs with a 1:40.7, three tenths quicker than Mercedes and Red Bull.

FP2 times:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1:34.668    –    US
2    Max Verstappen    Red Bull    1:35.065    0.397    US
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1:35.192    0.524    US
4    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1:35.279    0.611    US
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull    1:35.463    0.795 US    
6    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1:35.514    0.846    US
7    Fernando Alonso    McLaren    1:36.304    1.636    US
8    Felipe Massa    Williams    1:36.460    1.792    US
9    Sergio Perez    Force India    1:36.481    1.813    US
10    Esteban Ocon    Force India    1:36.490    1.822    US
11    Carlos Sainz    Renault Sport    1:36.529    1.861    US
12    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault Sport    1:36.534    1.866    US
13    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso    1:36.761    2.093    US
14    Kevin Magnussen    Haas    1:37.285    2.617    US
15    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren    1:37.463    2.795    US
16    Lance Stroll    Williams    1:37.788    3.12    US
17    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso    1:37.987    3.319    US
18    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber    1:38.165    3.497    US
19    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber    1:38.262    3.594    US
20    Romain Grosjean    Haas    1:38.387    3.719    SS