Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

Rosberg leads Red Bulls in wet COTA practice

2015 United States Grand Prix first practice

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Nico Rosberg set the pace as practice for the United States Grand Prix began at a wet Circuit of the Americas.

Heavy rain in the build-up to practice left the track very wet, but with no further precipitation during the session conditions steadily improved. While most drivers began the session using wet weather tyres, intermediate rubber was sufficient for most of the 90 minutes.

Rosberg put his Mercedes on top of the times by over a second, while Red Bull showed their usual wet weather paces to take the next-fastest times. Carlos Sainz Jnr made it three Renault-powered cars between Rosberg and team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel was sixth for Ferrari while team mate Kimi Raikkonen was delayed with a suspected braking problem on his car and ended the session eighth behind Max Verstappen.

Fernando Alonso’s McLaren was well up in ninth place following a late off at the end of the lap. Team mate Jenson Button, 13th, voiced concerns about a bump which has developed on the circuit’s back straight, as did Nico Hulkenberg.

The top ten was completed by the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, while his team mate Felipe Massa was 11th after a spin.

The only driver who didn’t set a time was Pastor Maldonado, who discovered a gearbox problem on his car shortly after leaving the pits. Lotus chose to postpone their plans to run test driver Jolyon Palmer in the first session as usual, and instead sent Romain Grosjean out with the intention of running Palmer in second practice – if the rain doesn’t return.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’53.989 7
2 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1’55.224 1.235 6
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’55.592 1.603 10
4 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’55.667 1.678 8
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’55.693 1.704 4
6 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’55.710 1.721 10
7 33 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1’55.969 1.980 7
8 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’56.326 2.337 10
9 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’56.839 2.850 18
10 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’56.866 2.877 15
11 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’57.081 3.092 13
12 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’57.139 3.150 4
13 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’57.495 3.506 20
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’57.518 3.529 4
15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1’58.319 4.330 10
16 36 Raffaele Marciello Sauber-Ferrari 1’59.431 5.442 19
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’59.743 5.754 18
18 53 Alexander Rossi Manor-Ferrari 2’01.154 7.165 11
19 28 Will Stevens Manor-Ferrari 2’01.907 7.918 13
20 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1

First practice visual gaps

Nico Rosberg – 1’53.989

+1.235 Daniil Kvyat – 1’55.224

+1.603 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’55.592

+1.678 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’55.667

+1.704 Lewis Hamilton – 1’55.693

+1.721 Sebastian Vettel – 1’55.710

+1.980 Max Verstappen – 1’55.969

+2.337 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’56.326

+2.850 Fernando Alonso – 1’56.839

+2.877 Valtteri Bottas – 1’56.866

+3.092 Felipe Massa – 1’57.081

+3.150 Sergio Perez – 1’57.139

+3.506 Jenson Button – 1’57.495

+3.529 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’57.518

+4.330 Romain Grosjean – 1’58.319

+5.442 Raffaele Marciello – 1’59.431

+5.754 Marcus Ericsson – 1’59.743

+7.165 Alexander Rossi – 2’01.154

+7.918 Will Stevens – 2’01.907

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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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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15 comments on “Rosberg leads Red Bulls in wet COTA practice”

  1. A nice moral boost for Rosberg being 1st on 1st practice session.

  2. So McLaren-Honda got in 38 laps comparing the new engine with the old.

    Renault? 0 such laps, because the teams wouldn’t cooperate. I just can’t see Renault supplying Red Bull after this.

    But suddenly Red Bull seem determined to stay in F1 at all costs.

    1. @lockup they are even throwing away the new spec engine, even torro rosso declared they won’t use them in the remaining four races.

    2. redbull want to leave they see money making venures in other relms of motorsport they

    3. @lockup Yeah, RBR should give away grid positions/set-up practice in a race they’re particularly strong (due to the weather) to give information to an engine supplier that’s not even confirmed to be theirs for next year. Looogic!

    4. Why would Red Bull swap out their engines at a track that favors their aero advantage? Here the swap for new engines isn’t worth it, not to mention they don’t need new engines yet. They’re probably going to take them at a track where they don’t have this advantage like at Mexico next week due to the long straights there.

  3. Autosport speculating Red Bull might use the new engine in Brasil.

    I think since bad weather is expected for the whole weekend, it makes sense not to take a penalty: Rain will boost their changes of finishing 3-4 if they run high their high downforce config. Especially now that Ferrari have taken penalties for their engines.

    1. I daresay it makes sense for Red Bull in isolation @me4me, but Ferrari and McLaren are running their new units, with an eye on next year and working as a partnership between team and engine supplier.

      So I’m thinking RBR have decided Honda’s greater resources make them a better bet, and/or Carlos Ghosn has given them the finger. Or if he hasn’t, he’s going to now.

      If it is to be Honda, then clearly it’s awfully late and getting later all the time. Alonso’s new engine still sounded horrible anyway, I thought.

      1. The commentary on the F1 app was indeed talking about how RBR might try to go for Honda next season.

        That would also depend on McLaren’s OK, since they would have a veto over customer deals. I think we can guess how that’s going to end.

        1. The exclusive solid guarantee is only for this year @patrickl. 2016 just sounded like ‘we don’t intend to supply anyone else’. Mac will not like it, for sure.

          1. Boullier was talking about 2017 until other teams would be allowed to get the engine, but of indeed we have no idea what’s exactly in the contract.

            I guess we will simply see what happens :)

  4. The Sky commentary team left me confused.

    So is Ferrari using a new engine of the same spec or are they using update tokens on this race.

    If they are using tokens, then I can’t wait for a dry session to see how much they’ve improved. But I guess it won’t be that clear.

  5. @ducpham2708 According to AMuS, no tokens were used. What exactly did Sky say?

    1. Well they discussed something about an upgrade and the “bigger picture of next season” I believe. And yes I’ve heard that no tokens were used so I’m quite confused.

      Wonder why Ferrari did not use token. So when they use the tokens Seb and Kimi would have to get more grid penalties to run the new engines.

      If they wait until after Abu Dhabi to homologate then they’re losing valuable testing time. This season is settled already, at least for Ferrari, using the last few races to test new engines for next year sounds like a good strategy

      1. @ducpham2708

        If they wait until after Abu Dhabi to homologate then they’re losing valuable testing time.

        They agreed on in-season development for 2016, meaning there’s no homologation date.

        And the “lost” testing time is compensated by a longer development time. They can surely test everything as they see fit on the post and pre-season testing sessions.

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