Hamilton Edges Rosberg in First Practice in Austin

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet in opening practice for the United States Grand Prix, running three tenths quicker than team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg. Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull.

Hamilton’s best time was set on the soft tyre after both he and Rosberg spent the early part of the session on the supersoft Pirelli compound, which is making its first appearance at the US Grand Prix this weekend.

Verstappen, meanwhile, set his best time on the medium tyre, which in part accounted for his being almost two seconds adrift of Hamilton’s time.

Verstappen finished just under three hundredths of a second clear of Kimi Raikkonen, though, like the Mercedes duo, the Ferrari driver set his best time on the soft tyre.

Nico Hulkenberg, who was recently announced as a 2017 works driver for Renault, finished the opening session in fifth place. The German kept Force India ahead of Williams in the tight battle for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, though he finished less than 0.1s ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Both set their best laps on soft tyres.

Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull was seventh fastest and like team-mate Verstappen, the Australian only used the medium tyre during the session. Sebastian Vettel was eighth in the second Ferrari.

The final top ten positions were taken the Toro Rosso pairing of Daniil Kvyat, ninth, and Carlos Sainz. Both of the Italian squad’s drivers set their best times of the session on the supersoft tyres.

Behind them Felipe Massa finished in P11 ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.

US team Haas opened their first home grand prix weekend with 14th and 15th places for Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez respectively. It was a tricky session for the home squad, with Grosjean damaging his car when he ran hard over the kerbs. Gutierrez then rtan over the debris moments later. Both drivers halted in the pit lane and had to be pushed back to the team’s garage,

Elsewhere there was a grand prix weekend for Briton Jordan King who took over the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein. King had a good outing, finishing in P20 ahead of Esteban Ocon on the other Manor, though the duo used different compounds to set their best times.

2016 United States Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.428 25
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.743 27
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:39.379 28
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:39.407 21
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:39.712 27
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:39.776 30
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:39.963 26
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:39.988 15
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:40.131 16
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:10.140 26
11 Felipe Massa Williams 1:40.191 27
12 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:40.287 16
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.362 26
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:40.826 15
15 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:40.970 15
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:41.170 17
17 Alfonso Celis Force India 1:41.422 27
18 Jenson Button McLaren 1:41.663 21
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:41.942 22
20 Jordan King Manor 1:42.012 29
21 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:42.332 31
22 Esteban Ocon Manor 1:43.874 27


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