COTA, FP2: Hamilton continues to set the pace in the wet

As Vettel incurs grid penalty

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By Olivier Ferret

19 October 2018 - 22:40
COTA, FP2: Hamilton continues to (...)

Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton continued to dominate the timesheets in practice for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, with the Briton, who could wrap up a fifth title this weekend, running a second clear of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in a badly rain-disrupted second session at the Circuit of the Americas.

Meanwhile, the fading title hopes of Hamilton’s sole title rival, Sebastian Vettel, were dealt a blow when he was hit with a three-place grid penalty for a rules infringement in the morning practice session.

Vettel failed to stay above the minimum time set by the FIA during a red flag period in FP1 caused by an incident involving Sauber’s Charles Leclerc.

The stewards ruling on the matter stated: “Art. 31.6 was added this year to ensure that drivers reduce speed significantly during a red flag. Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter.”

In FP2, there was no running in the first half of the session as heavy rain made conditions treacherous, but eventually the downpour eased off drivers began to emerge from the pit lane and in a somewhat disjointed final half hour Hamilton claimed top spot with a time of 1:48.716 set in the final five minutes of the session. The championship leader only completed three laps in the entire session.

Second spot on the timesheet was taken by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman posted 10 laps of COTA during the session and ended the session 1.012s behind Hamilton with a best time of 1:49.728. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was third with a time seventh hundredths of a second slower than his 2019 team-mate Gasly.

Fourth place went to Fernando Alonso, with the McLaren driver finishing ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and the second Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley.

Marcus Ericsson was seventh for Sauber ahead of the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne, and then came the Ferraris, with Kimi Räikkönen ninth and Vettel tenth. In an unrepresentative session Räikkönen was 4.7s off the pace, while Vettel finished over 5 seconds off Hamilton’s pace.

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:48.716 3
02 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:49.728 10
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:49.798 5
04 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:51.728 3
05 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:52.208 6
06 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:52.505 19
07 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:53.070 9
08 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:53.354 10
09 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:53.443 7
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:53.912 8
11 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:54.101 9
12 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:54.637 5
13 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:54.963 6
14 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:55.348 6
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:55.446 8
16 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 -:—.--- 2
17 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer -:—.--- 0
18 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari -:—.--- 0
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari -:—.--- 0
20 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG -:—.--- 0

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