Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Verstappen fastest at cold and bumpy Austin track

2019 United States Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen led the way in the first practice session at a cold and bumpy Circuit of the Americas.

Very cool air temperatures of little more than 10C when practice began, and track temperatures which only rose above 20C halfway through the session, made for tricky conditions on the Texan track. And the bumps, which were noticeably more severe than last year, surprised several drivers.

“This is the bumpiest track in the world,” remarked Lewis Hamilton after one of his later runs. Several other drivers commented on the severity of the bumps, particularly along the start/finish straight, the exit of turn nine and the pit lane exit.

Verstappen’s quickest time, a 1’34.057, put him on top by a tenth of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel, with Alexander Albon not far behind in the other Red Bull. Pierre Gasly made it three Honda-powered cars in the top four.

Daniel Ricciardo put his Renault in fifth place. Team mate Nico Hulkenberg was well down in 16th, but his Renault was briefly sidelined by a hydraulic problem.

Haas ran a new front wing on their car and Romain Grosjean was very happy with his balance. He praised the car’s rear end grip on his way to the sixth-fastest time.

Next was Charles Leclerc,who had to pit with a throttle problem early in the session. He also complained about poor downshifts in his Ferrari, which the team attributed to the bumpiness of the track.

The fastest Mercedes was only eighth. Lewis Hamilton, however, did set a time quick enough for fourth place, though it was deleted because he ran wide at turn 19. Several other drivers, including Verstappen, fell foul of the track limits at this part of the circuit as well.

Lance Stroll’s Racing Point was the seventh different car in the top nine. The second Haas of Kevin Magnussen rounded off the top 10, despite his MGU-K deactivating due to one of the bumps.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’34.05726
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’34.2260.16930
323Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’34.3160.25928
410Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’35.0080.95132
53Daniel RicciardoRenault1’35.2631.20629
68Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.3561.29924
716Charles LeclercFerrari1’35.3801.32323
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’35.4391.38232
918Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.5861.52931
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’35.6591.60223
1126Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’35.6611.60431
1255Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’35.7231.66626
137Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.8541.79722
1411Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.9711.91429
1599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’36.0371.98026
1627Nico HulkenbergRenault1’36.1242.06724
1777Valtteri BottasMercedes1’36.1592.10240
184Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’36.2632.20623
1988Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’37.9483.89128
2040Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’41.1127.0557

First practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’34.057

+0.169 Sebastian Vettel – 1’34.226

+0.259 Alexander Albon – 1’34.316

+0.951 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.008

+1.206 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’35.263

+1.299 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.356

+1.323 Charles Leclerc – 1’35.380

+1.382 Lewis Hamilton – 1’35.439

+1.529 Lance Stroll – 1’35.586

+1.602 Kevin Magnussen – 1’35.659

+1.604 Daniil Kvyat – 1’35.661

+1.666 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’35.723

+1.797 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’35.854

+1.914 Sergio Perez – 1’35.971

+1.980 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’36.037

+2.067 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’36.124

+2.102 Valtteri Bottas – 1’36.159

+2.206 Lando Norris – 1’36.263

+3.891 Robert Kubica – 1’37.948

+7.055 Nicholas Latifi – 1’41.112

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Author information

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 “Verstappen fastest at cold and bumpy Austin track”

  1. How does a track get more ‘bumpy’?

    1. The foundation (base course?) is “sinkning” which makes the track bumpier, just like a normal road does after a while.. The ground where the track is built on is/was very soft, so it’s no surprise really..

    2. @bernasaurus Partly due to what happens underneath the track – e.g. subsidence – and partly due to what happens on the surface. The F1 cars themselves can, over time, deform the track surface, due to the sheer amount of downforce they produce.

    3. I imagine cold winters plays a part as well.

      1. The average temperature inn Austin between January (62F/17C) and July (97F/36C) can be an issue.

    4. @bernasaurus – You can see what @keithcollantine describes some times on regular roads. Especially on roads that large trucks use that aren’t made for them. We have a spot near my neighborhood with a four-way stop. Cars and trucks have stopped and started repeatedly in the same spots on a road made for lower use levels, and the road surface in those start/stop spots is warped and eventually breaks up.

      Add in the forces applied by torque and downforce when accelerating and braking multiple race cars over multiple races over the years and…

  2. Redbull and Tororosso really want Gasly to finish ahead of Sainz

    1. He got lucky last race. Because Kvyat Torpedo Hulkenberg 😅. Or was Kvyat ordered?

  3. Only just exceeding 10 C, LOL. That indeed is very cold for the Austin areas’ standards historical climate data-wise.

    1. At least you’re not here right now… when I went out to the track today it was 3C (36F)…

      1. The average temp in Austin right now is supposed to be 24C (75F), but an arctic vortex has swamped the mid west part of the US.

  4. Hope it stays cold if that means it’s where the freakin’ Mercs finish.

    1. @jblank Hamilton set the fourth fastest time though. He did so in Mexico too. Then he went on to win the race …

      While the guy in the fastest car blundered away his race through three separate incidents.

      1. Don’t care. Can’t stand Hamilton and I’ll root against him and that team until he leaves the sport and until they stop winning every freakin’ championship.

        1. Very reasoned argument. Bravo sir. Bravo.

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