United States Grand Prix Practice Round-Up: Advantage Hamilton in Austin

Leis Hamilton, USGP, Kettle Mag, Charlier Wright
Written by F1_Charlie

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes once again were the class of the field on Friday as he and teammate Nico Rosberg led both sessions ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Championship leader Hamilton laid down a marker by narrowly topping FP2 by just 0.003 seconds from teammate Nico Rosberg in the afternoon. Whilst Hamilton showed he had the pace this weekend he was force to sit out the final ten minutes of the session thanks due to a hydraulic problem.

Third place man Fernando Alonso did well to manage to set a time good enough for third fastest, however the Spaniard’s time was still over a second slower than pacesetter Hamilton, whilst Alonso set a quick time, the Ferrari driver set his time later on in the session.

McLaren were unable to carry over their good form from Russia in the second session. The Woking based outfit found themselves third and fifth this morning however this afternoons session was another story with Jenson Button finishing ninth and one place behind teammate Kevin Magnussen.

Daniil Kvyat’s impressive form continued and was the star of Friday, the Russian went seventh fastest and completed thirty four laps of the 3.4 mile circuit.

Just eighteen cars will take to the track this weekend due to Caterham and Marussia’s financial troubles, whilst there were fears that just seventeen would compete due to Sebastian Vettel being forced to start from the pitlane on Sunday, Christian Horner confirmed that he will take part in Q1.

With that in mind Sebastian Vettel ultimately ended the session as the slowest car. The German opted to spend the day working on race set up and doing race simulations, whilst Vettel brought up the rear of the grid, teammate Daniel Ricciardo managed a time of 1:40.390 and ended the afternoon in fourth place.

Williams were a team that seemed to have a quiet day today. Whilst Felipe Massa did well to finish the afternoon in fifth place, teammate Valtteri Bottas could only manage eleventh. The Fin was narrowly beaten by the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg by .028 as his teammate Sergio Perez struggled in fourteenth and could find himself struggling to get out of Q1 tomorrow.

As you would expect with no Caterham and Marussia, Sauber and Lotus were at the back of the pack. Pastor Maldonado was on for a quick time in his Lotus however ultimately the Venezuelan ended up in a spin and blew the lap. Maldonado would eventually go on to finish in fifteenth place with the Frenchman Romain Grosjean in twelfth.

Looking ahead to qualifying it is clear that we will see yet another Mercedes front row lock out. Whilst Hamilton has topped both the sessions today, teammate and rival Nico Rosberg was in his shadow, especially in the afternoon session.

Will it be the man with the seventeen point lead in the championship on pole position tomorrow? Or will it be Nico Rosberg who seizes the initiative come tomorrow afternoon?

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