Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

Hamilton leads Vettel in damp opening session

2017 United States Grand Prix first practice

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Championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel topped the practice times at a damp Circuit of the Americas.

The Mercedes driver ended the first session just under six-tenths of a second quicker than Vettel. Both set their best times on super-soft tyres on a drying track.

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
2017 United States GP practice in pictures
The circuit was damp when the 90 minute session began and all drivers used intermediate tyres for their first run. Some took the opportunity to run Pirelli’s new prototype intermediate tyre.

Valtteri Bottas was the only other driver to get within a second of Hamilton. He appeared to suffer an unusual problem with his rear wing vibrating after he went off the track at turn one.

Max Verstappen, who has just signed a new contract with Red Bull, was next ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne. Fernando Alonso in the other McLaren spent most of the session in the garage with a technical problem. Daniel Ricciardo was also limited to just 16th place after doing little running in the latter part of the session when the track was at its driest.

Both Force Indias appeared in the top ten along with Felipe Massa’s Williams, Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Carlos Sainz Jnr on his debut with Renault.

Toro Rosso’s test driver Sean Gelael went off twice during the session and ended up over a second off newcomer Brendon Hartley. The latter complained of problems with his crash helmet lifting at speed which the team wasn’t able to fix during the session.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’36.33518
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’36.9280.59320
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’36.9790.64410
433Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’37.3391.00421
52Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’37.3521.01726
619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’37.5701.23523
77Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’37.5981.26320
831Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’37.8081.47325
911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’37.8611.52620
1055Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’38.0931.75824
1120Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’38.4082.07316
1218Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’38.5342.19925
1327Nico HulkenbergRenault1’38.9042.56919
1439Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Renault1’39.2672.93228
158Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’39.3363.00117
163Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’39.3663.03114
1738Sean GelaelToro Rosso-Renault1’40.4064.07125
189Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’40.4484.11319
1937Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’40.8284.49325
2014Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda14

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’36.335

+0.593 Sebastian Vettel – 1’36.928

+0.644 Valtteri Bottas – 1’36.979

+1.004 Max Verstappen – 1’37.339

+1.017 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’37.352

+1.235 Felipe Massa – 1’37.570

+1.263 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’37.598

+1.473 Esteban Ocon – 1’37.808

+1.526 Sergio Perez – 1’37.861

+1.758 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’38.093

+2.073 Kevin Magnussen – 1’38.408

+2.199 Lance Stroll – 1’38.534

+2.569 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’38.904

+2.932 Brendon Hartley – 1’39.267

+3.001 Romain Grosjean – 1’39.336

+3.031 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’39.366

+4.071 Sean Gelael – 1’40.406

+4.113 Marcus Ericsson – 1’40.448

+4.493 Charles Leclerc – 1’40.828

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Drivers best times by tyre

DriverTeamBest ultra-soft timeUltra-soft gapBest super-soft timeSuper-soft gapBest soft timeSoft gap
Lewis HamiltonMercedesNone1’36.335None
Valtteri BottasMercedesNone1’36.9790.644None
Daniel RicciardoRed BullNone1’39.3663.031None
Max VerstappenRed BullNone1’37.3391.004None
Sebastian VettelFerrariNone1’36.9280.593None
Kimi RaikkonenFerrariNone1’37.5981.263None
Sergio PerezForce IndiaNoneNone1’37.8610.053
Esteban OconForce IndiaNoneNone1’37.808
Felipe MassaWilliams1’37.5700.2182’15.37939.044None
Lance StrollWilliams1’38.5341.182NoneNone
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1’37.352NoneNone
Sean GelaelToro Rosso1’40.4063.054NoneNone
Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1’39.2671.915NoneNone
Romain GrosjeanHaasNone1’39.3363.001None
Kevin MagnussenHaasNone1’38.4082.073None
Nico HulkenbergRenaultNone1’38.9042.569None
Carlos Sainz JnrRenaultNone1’38.0931.758None
Marcus EricssonSauberNone1’40.4484.113None
Charles LeclercSauberNone1’40.8284.493None

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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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12 comments on “Hamilton leads Vettel in damp opening session”

  1. Why is RB wasting their time with Gelael? Surely they don’t need the money. Sorry, but the guy is a joke (as a driver).

    1. Just what I was about to say. Surely KFC money isnt enough to leave him in with a shot. Hartley’s driving the car for the first time and he’s already wiped the floor with him.

      Driver’s Galael give aspiring drivers from Asia a bad name.

      1. @jaymenon10, well, according to the user known as GT-Racer (who has links within the F1 paddock), it is because Gelael provided surprisingly high quality technical feedback to the engineers when he first tested for Toro Rosso and has turned out to be a decent development driver for them, even if his results in junior series might be indifferent.

    2. Tasty chicken money.

    3. Must have been the most expensive track day for Sean !

    4. Jeez a lot of unkind comments regarding Sean. I’d never heard of him before today to be honest. His racing results don’t seem that bad and who cares where his money comes from? Good luck to him. You probably will never see him again but what an experience! Y’all are just envious…So get out there and make some cash, then you too can do F1!

  2. impressive so far for Hartley, lets see how he carried out the weekend

  3. What about Sainz? No words? Yes I know it’s only FP1 but still… To be honest, I find these drivers either parachuting in or changing teams this late in a season, strangely compelling!

  4. Hartley doesn’t look out of his depth at all. I’d say that was a pretty good debut. Can’t say the same about Gelael, though… he looks dreadful. Sainz immediately at home in the Renault too. Really liked what I was hearing after the session from Symonds, Horner & the Sky team regarding the direction of the Formula going forward. I’m really excited at the measured approach being taken by Symonds, Brawn & co and I’m truly optimistic about the future of this sport for the first time in a long time.

  5. I’m pretty sure Gelael was slow only because he was probably licking his gloves through the turns as part of his daddy’s contractual obligations.

    1. Well, that makes him multi talented then seeing as two (non rookies) were slower…Good skills!

      1. Slower in Saubers lol. It’s admirable you want to defend him, but he’s taking the place that many many more talented drivers could be taking. He’s only there because he can (technically) drive a car and daddy has money. He’s only won 3 races in his professional driver career, and that was in Formula Pilota China and Asian Le Mans series…. gimme a break.

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