Hamilton surpassed Valtteri Bottas with the 13th century to comfortably lead a Mercedes one-two at a rainy Circuit of Americas…
Hamilton surpassed Valtteri Bottas with the 13th century to comfortably lead a Mercedes one-two at a rainy Circuit of Americas in Austin.
Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo showed Mercedes’s closest challenger as Ferraris seemed to concentrate on longer runs and Hamilton’s titler Sebastian Vettel interrupted fifth and almost two seconds of the beat.
Most of the field completed the installation rounds during the first 10 minutes when the track was on its wettest after heavy morning rain with Nico Hulkenberg the first to switch to intermediate tires 17 minutes in the session.
It took a little longer for anyone to put a laptime but Red Bull’s ended the wait with Ricciardo who led Verstappen at 1
Ricciardo dropped it to a 1m49.386s card before Bottas moved into the top half of the game by putting a 1m48.806s in his Mercedes.
Several drivers came on the lead before halfway in the 90-minute session, but there was a break in track at this time to clear the gravel on trip 9.
Charles Leclerc had spun his Sauber at the end of the fast essence sequence at the beginning off the yard, and had to drive through gravel to return.
He deposited a lot of stones on the track just as it looks and falls through the Turn 10 kink down to the narrow left hand.
This led to a 10 minute stop while marshals cleaned trails.
Hamilton blinked Botta’s benchmark by just over one third of the remaining session, and his immediate challenger failed to improve before the end.
Vettel never disturbed the time when he and team mate Kimi Raikkonen performed longer runs than their rivals, ending with 17 and 19 laps, respectively – neither Mercedes nor Red Bull came in double digits.
However, Vettel could go before Raikkonen in fifth and eventually the Finns exceeded half a second.
Carlos Sainz appeared as Best of the rest for Renault in seventh, while Haas driver Romain Grosjean finished eighth before Saubers of Leclerc, who made a late improvement, and Marcus Ericsson.
Two drivers drove in the first quarter instead of regulars with Lando Norris driving Stoffel Vandoornes McLaren and Sean Gelael replacing Toro Rosso instead of Brendon Hartley.
Norris finished the 12th session and two tenths behind team mate Fernando Alonso, while Gelael was slower of the 20 runners and 1.4 s in the run of Pierre Gasly in the sister car.