Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) set the fastest time of the first two free practice sessions of the Grand Prix of the United States, the 17th round of the World Championship Formula 1 Friday on the circuit of the Americas (5.513 km).
Hamilton, who can be crowned world champion on Sunday for the fourth time, beat with a time of 1 min 34 sec 668 / 1000th the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 2nd 397 / 1000th, and German Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), the third at 524 / 1000th. The best time at the first meeting, the leader of the World Championship has improved during the second session his time in the dry morning of 1 767 / 1000th.
If Hamilton has discussed the appointment of Austin (Texas), Vettel has had a frustrating second session: the German, relegated to 59 points behind Hamilton overall, is off the track in the penultimate corner of his first lap and had to wait for almost twenty minutes in the pits, the time his mechanics remove all the gravel of his car. The four time German world champion, 2nd lap in the morning, has completed eight laps, before quickly back to the pits. He returned to the track at the very end of the session, without improving his best lap.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda), plagued by a hydraulic leak, which had lost the first session, ended the day with the seventh fastest time, 1 sec 636 / 1000th of Hamilton. For his first laps at the wheel of a Renault, Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr finished the session with the 11th time, 1 sec 861 / 1000e, just ahead of his new teammate, German Nico Hulkenberg. Of the French drivers, Esteban Ocon (Force India) was 10th, just behind his teammate Sergio Perez of Mexico and 1 sec 822 / 1000th the fastest time of the day. Romain Grosjean (Haas), only shod driver super-soft tires in the second session, was credited with the 20th fastest time, 3 sec 719 / 1000th behind Hamilton.