COTA, FP1: Verstappen quickest in opening practice for United States Grand Prix 

Vettel 2nd, Albon 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

1 November 2019 - 18:39
COTA, FP1: Verstappen quickest in (...)

Max Verstappen set the pace in the opening practice session for the United States Grand Prix, with the Red Bull Racing driver beating Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just under two tenths of a second as championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished eighth.

Red Bull Racing’s early weekend pace was confirmed by Alex Albon’s third place at the end of the session, 0.259s behind his team-mate and it was the Thai deriver who also set the pace in the opening half of the session.

Verstappen then moved to soft tyres and powered to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:34.057. Vettel then made the same switch and arrived with a time of 1:34.226 to split the Red Bulls.

Fourth place in the session went to Pierre Gasly. The Toro Rosso driver continued the good form he showed last weekend in Mexico City, where he finished ninth, to post a time of 1:35.008, just under a second off Verstappen.

The French was the last man inside a second of top spot. Fifth-placed Daniel Ricciardo finished 1.2s off the pace, while Romain Grosjean of home favourites Haas was a further nine hundredths of a second back.

Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari was seventh, 1.3s off Verstappen’s P1 time at the end of a tricky session for the Monegasque driver who suffered what he reported as an engine issue early on and then a lurid slide later in the session as he struggled for grip on the cold and bumpy circuit.

Lewis Hamilton took an uncharacteristic eighth place in the session. The Mercedes driver, who can wrap up a sixth world title this weekend, completed 32 laps but failed to set a really representative time in the session. The Briton might have ended the session towards the foot of the order but a late soft tyre run boosted Hamilton to P8 at the chequered flag though he was 1.382.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas did finish low down on the timesheet, with the Finn 17that the flag as he spent the bulk of the session on Pirelli’s 2020 development tyres and this weekend’s medium compound specification.

Ninth place in the session went to Lance Stroll of Racing Point and the final top-10 spot went to Kevin Magnussen of Haas who along with Verstappen and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz is set to make his 100thGrand Prix start on Sunday.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB15 1:34.057 26
02 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1:34.226 30
03 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB15 1:34.316 28
04 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:35.008 32
05 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1:35.263 29
06 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:35.356 24
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:35.380 23
08 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:35.439 32
09 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:35.586 31
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:35.659 23
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:35.661 31
12 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL34 1:35.723 26
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:35.854 22
14 Sergio Pérez Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:35.971 29
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:36.037 26
16 Nico Hülkenberg Renault RS19 1:36.124 24
17 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1:36.159 40
18 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL34 1:36.263 23
19 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW42 1:37.948 28
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW42 1:41.112 7

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