Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in the rain

2018 United States Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton led a one-two for Mercedes in a wet first practice session at the Circuit of the Americas.

The session began on a wet track which never dried sufficiently for anything other than intermediate tyres to be the compound of choice for setting lap times.

The Red Bull pair set the pace initially while the track was at its wettest, before Valtteri Bottas hit the track and lowered the best time to a 1’48.806.

The session was interrupted briefly after Charles Leclerc spun off at turn eight. The Sauber driver, whose start to the session had been delayed while the Sauber team worked on a problem with his car, dragged a considerable amount of gravel onto the track as he rejoined, and practice was temporarily red-flagged so it could be cleared away.

When the session resumed Hamilton took to the track for his first significant run and quickly lowered the best time by 1.3 seconds. The Ferrari drivers couldn’t get close: indeed, Sebastian Vettel’s best effort left him behind the second of the Red Bulls.

Carlos Sainz Jnr led the remaining runners, seven-tenths of a second off Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. The rest of the top 10 was filled by Ferrari-powered cars: Romain Grosjean’s Haas and the Sauber pair, led by Leclerc.

The two McLarens narrowly missed out on the top 10. Fernando Alonso was just two-hundredths of a second away and test driver Lando Norris, substituting for Stoffel Vandoorne, was within two-tenths of a second off his team mate.

The only other test driver in the session fared less well. Toro Rosso’s Sean Gelael gradually got closer to the pace but ended up eight-tenths of a second off the next-slowest car and 1.4 seconds slower than Pierre Gasly. The latter ran a new engine and will take a grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Nicholas Latifi was scheduled to run for Force India but the team made a last-minute decision to use their regular driver line-up of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon instead.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’47.5026
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’48.8061.3047
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’48.8471.3459
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’49.3261.8249
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’49.4891.98718
67Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’49.9282.42620
755Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’50.6653.1638
88Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’50.8213.31910
916Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’50.9613.45914
109Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’51.0163.51414
1114Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’51.0363.5349
1247Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’51.2323.7309
1310Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’51.2343.73219
1411Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’51.4593.95718
1535Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’51.5894.08714
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’51.6144.11215
1731Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’51.6554.15317
1827Nico HulkenbergRenault1’51.7174.2157
1918Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’51.8964.39414
2038Sean GelaelToro Rosso-Honda1’52.6255.12321

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First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’47.502

+1.304 Valtteri Bottas – 1’48.806

+1.345 Max Verstappen – 1’48.847

+1.824 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’49.326

+1.987 Sebastian Vettel – 1’49.489

+2.426 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’49.928

+3.163 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’50.665

+3.319 Romain Grosjean – 1’50.821

+3.459 Charles Leclerc – 1’50.961

+3.514 Marcus Ericsson – 1’51.016

+3.534 Fernando Alonso – 1’51.036

+3.730 Lando Norris – 1’51.232

+3.732 Pierre Gasly – 1’51.234

+3.957 Sergio Perez – 1’51.459

+4.087 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’51.589

+4.112 Kevin Magnussen – 1’51.614

+4.153 Esteban Ocon – 1’51.655

+4.215 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’51.717

+4.394 Lance Stroll – 1’51.896

+5.123 Sean Gelael – 1’52.625

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2018 United States Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in the rain”

  1. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to move this race to June to form a double-header with the Canadian GP after all.

    1. Why? Because of a little rain?

      1. Tell that to 2015!

        Also, pairing with Montreal is just as logical considering how the promoter complained about Mexico being too close on the calendar.

      2. @pastaman @eurobrun I was, of course, just being sarcastic. June is, in fact, one of the worst months to hold an outdoor event in Austin (or more or less anywhere in TX for that matter) temperature-wise as the historical average high of that month there is 33.4 degrees Celcius, so no way it’d actually be a wise idea to move COTA to that time of year. Only really the back-end of the season (where it’s now and has always been so far) and or the early-season are suitable temperature-wise.

    2. I can promise you that June in Texas is not a good idea.

      1. @lancer033 Indeed, and that’s what I just explained to @pastaman @eurobrun above, LOL.

      2. They survive Singapore.. hot an humid, so TX would be no real problem.

  2. Not looking good for any Silver arrow competitors if the weather stays the same.

  3. In first part of the season everyone used to skip wet sessions… But now they realizing they lost major opportunities in wet perfo development

    1. Thats hard to say for sure @prvn

      A lot of race weekends have started wet with more chance of a dry race and qualifying in which case the teams learn very little from a wet Friday. Here, the conditions are expected to be the same tomorrow and possibly Sunday. With that in mind, it’s important to use the wet practice time to set up for qualifying.

  4. Richard Gibson
    19th October 2018, 18:19

    1.3 seconds is a huge gap to your team mate

    1. Bottas lost his fast lap to the red flag. He was going purple on lewis’ time.

      1. Nope, he was purple on his own time. Lewis set his after the red flag.

    2. Not really in changeable conditions when the times were set in different times.

    3. I don’t think anyone pushed to see clear times in wet.

      1. yea and i think it is a silly thing to judge anyway. I’m sure there was a practice session sometime this or last year where Bottas was over a second faster then Hamilton. We just can’t judge these to be realistic.

  5. Gonna be another boring Merc dominant weekend

    1. I enjoy watching the world’s best sports men and women winning, and breaking and making records. Like watching Tiger win golf tournaments and Roger and Serena in tennis. So I’m happy for Lewis to win the majority of his races until he retires, hopefully after his eighth WDC.

      1. Hopefully not, he has nothing on schumacher.

  6. Given that the Saubers both did a reasonable amount of laps, and given that Ericsosn is often rated as a very poor wet driver, i think this is also Leclerc’s weakness. Ericsson beat him in the one wet qualifying we had, and solidly outperformed him when the rain came in Germany. And here, Ericsson is very close and i think the reason may be that Leclerc just can’t yet perform that well in the rain. I know it is only practice, but it has shown in other sessions this year.

    I think Leclerc is initially going to really struggle against vettel. And I’d say by a bigger margin than Bottas did against Hamilton in his first season. At least Bottas had been in F1 for 4 seasons before moving up to a top team. I do think he will be better than Kimi, but that won’t show instantly IMO.

    1. hehe, poor wet driver sounds a bit wrong :D i mean poor wet weather driver regarding Ericsson, which generally i think he is.

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