COTA, FP: Verstappen quickest ahead of Leclerc and Hamilton in Austin

Perez 4th, Magnussen 5th


By Franck Drui

20 October 2023 - 20:44
COTA, FP: Verstappen quickest ahead (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen went quickest in the sole practice session for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, with the three-time champion beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by a little over 1500ths of a second. Third place in the session was taken by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

The timesheet was defined by a sequence of Soft tyre qualifying simulations at the end of the session. That was sparked by Williams’ Alex Albon, who jumped to the top of the order on Softs, but Verstappen then appeared and set a time of 1:35.912 which remained the benchmark until the end of the session.

Leclerc got closest to the Red Bull driver’s time finishing 0.156s off Verstappen and then

Hamilton popped into third place, a tenth adrift of Leclerc, running an upgraded Mercedes featuring a revised floor. Sergio Pérez finished fourth 0.3s off his table-topping team-mate and the top five was rounded out by Kevin Magnussen who benefited from a suite of upgrades on his Haas VF-23.

The early part of the session saw many running on Hard tyres, with Verstappen leading the way on the most durable compound on offer this weekend. Hamilton then moved ahead with a lap of 1:37.394s set on Hards and he held top spot until McLaren’s Lando Norris forged ahead with a lap of 1m37.256s on Medium tyres as the session headed towards the final 15 minutes.

The British driver was soon eclipsed, however, as the Soft tyres times began to roll in. Neither Norris nor team-mate Oscar Piastri ran Softs during the session and the pair slid to 15th and 19th respectively at the end.

Behind fifth-placed Magnussen, Mercedes’ George Russell was sixth for Mercedes on 1:36.474, while Albon’s run on Softs netted him seventh ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who finished 0.621s off Verstappen.

Nico Hülkenberg was ninth in the other Haas car and the final top 10 place was taken by Alpine’s Pierre Gasly.

There were difficulties at Aston Martin, however, with Lance Stroll suffering brake problems on the left front wheel on his car with the result that the Canadian posted only five laps during the single practice available before qualifying.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:35.912 23
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:36.068 25
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:36.193 23
04 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:36.212 23
05 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:36.472 21
06 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:36.474 25
07 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:36.492 21
08 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:36.533 24
09 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:36.702 21
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:36.705 22
11 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:36.987 26
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:37.066 22
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:37.104 25
14 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:37.152 24
15 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:37.256 21
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:37.476 25
17 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:37.517 24
18 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:37.840 19
19 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:38.420 22
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:39.940 5

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