US Grand Prix F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton fastest in wet FP1

Lewis Hamilton began his bid to secure a fifth Formula 1 title in perfect fashion by dominating a wet opening practice session for the United States Grand Prix

US Grand Prix F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton fastest in wet FP1

Hamilton outpaced Valtteri Bottas by 1.3s to comfortably lead a Mercedes one-two at a rainy Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo proved Mercedes' nearest challengers as the Ferraris appeared to concentrate on longer runs and Hamilton's title rival Sebastian Vettel wound up fifth and almost two seconds off the pace.

Most of the field completed installation laps in the first 10 minutes when the track was at its wettest after heavy morning rain, with Nico Hulkenberg the first to switch to intermediate tyres 17 minutes into the session.

It took a little longer for somebody to set a laptime but the Red Bulls ended the wait with Ricciardo leading Verstappen on a 1m50.642s.

Ricciardo lowered that to a 1m49.386s shortly after, before Bottas moved into top spot at the half-hour mark by setting a 1m48.806s in his Mercedes.

Several drivers got on the leaderboard before the midway point of the 90-minute session, but there was a break in track action at this point due to a red flag to clear gravel at Turn 9.

Charles Leclerc had spun his Sauber at the end of the fast esses sequence at the start of the lap, and had to drive through the gravel to rejoin.

He deposited a lot of stones onto the track just as it crests and falls away through the Turn 10 kink down to the tight left-hander.

That prompted a 10-minute stoppage while marshals cleaned the track.

Hamilton blitzed Bottas's benchmark with just over a third of the session remaining, and his immediate challengers failed to improve before the end.

Vettel never troubled the top of the times as he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen conducted longer runs than their rivals, ending with 17 and 19 laps respectively - neither Mercedes or Red Bull got into double figures.

However, Vettel was able to get ahead of Raikkonen into fifth and eventually outpaced the Finn by half a second.

Carlos Sainz Jr emerged as best of the rest for Renault in seventh, while Haas driver Romain Grosjean finished eighth ahead of the Saubers of Leclerc, who made a late improvement, and Marcus Ericsson.

Two drivers were driving in FP1 in place of regulars, with Lando Norris driving Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren and Sean Gelael substituting at Toro Rosso in place of Brendon Hartley.

Norris finished the session 12th, one place and two tenths behind team-mate Fernando Alonso, while Gelael was slowest of the 20 runners and 1.4s off the pace of Pierre Gasly in the sister car.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m47.502s - 6
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m48.806s 1.304s 7
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m48.847s 1.345s 9
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m49.326s 1.824s 9
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m49.489s 1.987s 18
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m49.928s 2.426s 20
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m50.665s 3.163s 8
8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m50.821s 3.319s 10
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m50.961s 3.459s 14
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m51.016s 3.514s 14
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m51.036s 3.534s 9
12 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m51.232s 3.730s 9
13 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m51.234s 3.732s 19
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m51.459s 3.957s 18
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m51.589s 4.087s 14
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m51.614s 4.112s 15
17 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m51.655s 4.153s 17
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m51.717s 4.215s 7
19 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m51.896s 4.394s 14
20 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso/Honda 1m52.625s 5.123s 21


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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Author Scott Mitchell
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