US Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton leads Austin Friday F1 practice

Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the second Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the United States Grand Prix, outpacing Charles Leclerc by 0.301 seconds.

Ferrari driver Leclerc was quickest in the early running, which was interrupted by a red flag caused by Romain Grosjean crashing his Haas after losing it at the downhill Turn 5 and nosing into the barrier, with a time of 1m34.434s using medium Pirellis.

That put Leclerc 0.158s quicker than Hamilton, who used the hard compound to set his time.

But Hamilton hit back once the drivers started to switch on to the soft Pirellis, setting a time of 1m33.232s to secure top spot.

This was despite lagging 0.317s behind Leclerc at the end of the first sector, with a significant tow from Robert Kubica’s Williams in the middle sector allowing him to take half a second out of Leclerc.

Hamilton ended up three tenths quicker than Leclerc having eked out a little more time in the final sector.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was the last of the frontrunners to set a time on mediums, lapping 0.315s off the pace and 0.343s ahead of fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel.

This was still good enough to put Vettel, who had a spin late in the session while running hard Pirellis coming through the Turn 14 right-hander, well clear of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas questioned where he had lost time over the radio, and was informed it was down to a combination of not having a Hamilton-like tow and time lost on the straights – which he was also told was down to “something else probably”.

He subsequently made a small improvement to his time, but was still 0.813s off the pace.

Alex Albon completed the top six in the second Red Bull, 1.202s down and just three quarters of a tenth ahead of the man he replaced – Pierre Gasly.

Gasly declared “that’s a good lap” after he jumped up to seventh place for Toro Rosso with a time good enough to keep him well-clear of eighth-fastest Carlos Sainz Jr’s McLaren.

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll was one of the last to set a time on softs, jumping into the top 10 with a lap of 1m34.744s with 37 minutes remaining and ending up ninth.

Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo having been shuffled from seventh after his quick lap down to 10th place, 1.607s off the pace.

Giovinazzi survived a spin earlier in the session when the rear stepped out coming through the Turn 6 right-hander, with his initial correction firing the car in the opposite direction to the original moment.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was 11th fastest despite a wide moment exiting Turn 9 on his lap, half-a-tenth quicker than the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Nico Hulkenberg put the second Renault 13th ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris with Sergio Perez 15th.

Kimi Raikkonen was 16th fastest with a lap 2.155s off the pace, just ahead of the first driver to set a time on softs – Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.

Grosjean’s pace on the mediums before going off and bringing his afternoon to a premature end on his fourth lap was good enough to secure 18th place, with the two Williams drivers 19th and 20th.

George Russell was the quicker of the pair, lapping just over half-a-second faster than Kubica.

Practice two times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.232s 34
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m33.533s 0.301s 33
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m33.547s 0.315s 28
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.890s 0.658s 35
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m34.045s 0.813s 34
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1m34.434s 1.202s 32
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m34.509s 1.277s 31
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m34.667s 1.435s 34
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m34.744s 1.512s 29
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m34.839s 1.607s 29
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m34.924s 1.692s 29
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m34.975s 1.743s 36
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m34.988s 1.756s 32
14 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m35.025s 1.793s 30
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m35.109s 1.877s 26
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m35.387s 2.155s 34
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m35.442s 2.210s 28
18 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m35.789s 2.557s 4
19 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m36.749s 3.517s 37
20 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m37.283s 4.051s 33

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