Lewis Hamilton headed up a one-two finish for Mercedes in a damp first practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday in Austin, lapping over a second faster than the rest of the pack at the Circuit of The Americas.

Heavy rain overnight and throughout the morning at COTA forced drivers to fit full wet tyres for the start of FP1, only for a break in the weather to allow the track to dry enough to allow for intermediate running for the bulk of the session.



Hamilton - who could be crowned F1 world champion for a fifth time this weekend in Austin - was able to turn in a fastest lap time of 1m47.502s for Mercedes, going more than 1.3 seconds faster than his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, in second place.

Bottas had been set to improve his lap time before pitting, leaving more time in his pocket, but his effort was still enough to beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in third place.

Daniel Ricciardo finished half a second back from teammate Verstappen to take fourth, with the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen following in fifth and sixth position respectively.

Vettel managed to escape offs at Turn 1 and Turn 10 through the session as he struggled in the slippery conditions, but was almost two seconds down on title rival Hamilton come the chequered flag.

Carlos Sainz Jr. managed to finish as the top midfield driver in seventh place for Renault, finishing two-tenths of a second clear of Haas’ Romain Grosjean.

Charles Leclerc wound up ninth for Sauber despite spinning at Turn 9 midway through the session, dragging gravel onto the circuit that forced FP1 to be red-flagged to allow the track to be cleared. It acted as the only major incident in the session that was halted for 10 minutes while the gravel was cleared.

Marcus Ericsson completed the top 10 in the second Sauber ahead of McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris, the latter deputising for Stoffel Vandoorne in FP1 to continue his development ahead of his F1 debut in 2019.

Pierre Gasly took 13th for Toro Rosso ahead of Sergio Perez and Sergey Sirotkin, with Kevin Magnussen taking 16th for Haas. Esteban Ocon finished 17th despite an off-track moment ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll, with Sean Gelael propping up the running order in his first FP1 appearance of the year for Toro Rosso.


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