Hamilton on the pace as Mercedes dominate opening US GP practice

Lewis Hamilton just shy of team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ time as Mercedes dominate opening practice of the United States GP, with Brit’s chief title rival Max Verstappen a distant third and ninth tenths of a second down

  • Valtteri Bottas went fastest for Mercedes who dominated Friday’s first session
  • Lewis Hamilton was less than a tenth behind at the Circuit of the Americas, Texas
  • The Brit’s chief title rival Max Verstappen was nearly a second of a lap slower 

Lewis Hamilton finished behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes dominated the opening practice session for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Bottas, who will serve a five-place grid drop here following another engine change, ended the one-hour running at a sizzling Austin just 0.045 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Max Verstappen, six points clear at the Formula One drivers’ championship summit, took third, a distant nine tenths back.

Lewis Hamilton ended first Friday practice on the pace as Mercedes dominated

Hamilton (above) was just under a tenth of a second slower than team-mate Valtteri Bottas

Hamilton has more victories in America than any other driver, triumphing at Indianapolis in his debut campaign for McLaren before taking five victories in eight appearances at the Circuit of Americas.

And the seven-time world champion appears primed to continue his fine record this side of the pond, with his Silver Arrows in command of the first running of the weekend.

While Bottas took top spot, the Finn will be bumped back down the grid after taking on his sixth Internal Combustion Engine of the campaign.

Bottas (left) topped the timesheets with Max Verstappen (right) only a distant third for Red Bull

There will be cause for concern at Mercedes with Williams’ George Russell and Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel also due to serve engine penalties here for change of parts. Both drivers are powered by Mercedes.

There were mechanical woes for Fernando Alonso, too, after the double world champion broke down in the opening moments.

The running was halted for 10 minutes with Alonso’s Alpine parked at Turn 12.

Alonso’s stricken machine was taken back to the pits before the Spaniard returned to the track with 15 minutes remaining. He finished 15th.

Hamilton will hope his Friday form carries over to the rest of the weekend


1 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1: 34.874

2 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:34.919

3 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:35.806

4 Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:36.334

5 Sainz (Spa) Ferrari. 1:36.508

6 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1:36.611

7 Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:36.798

8 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:36.855

9 Giovinazzi (Ita) A. Romeo 1:36.874

10 Raikkonen (Fin) A. Romeo 1:36.876

11 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:36.966

12 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:36.970

13 Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:36.972

14 Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1:36.982

15 Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:37.068

16 Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:37.458

17 Latifi (Can) Williams 1:37.463

18 Tsunoda (Jpn) AlphaTauri 1:37.954

19 Schumacher (Ger) Haas 1:38.866

20 Mazepin (Raf) Haas 1:42.239

Elsewhere, the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were fourth and fifth respectively, while Lando Norris – under the weather with a cold – was eighth.

Sergio Perez and Mick Schumacher collided in the closing moments of the session. Both drivers emerged from the coming together at Turn 12 without damage but Perez took aim at the German rookie.


‘What an idiot,’ said the Mexican. ‘He isn’t looking in his mirrors.’

F1 is back in America for the first time in two years and the grandstands were packed for Friday’s action, with more than 140,000 fans – the greatest attendance figures of the season so far – expected for Sunday’s race.

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