United States GP: Hamilton completes practice sweep

United States GP: Hamilton completes practice sweep
By: Lawrence Barretto
Oct 21, 2017, 5:08 PM

Lewis Hamilton edged out Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to set the pace in final practice for the United States Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Romain Grosjean, Haas VF-17, spins into the gravel
Romain Grosjean, Haas VF-17, climbs from his car after spinning
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
A view of the circuit from the tower
Lance Stroll, Williams FW40

The Mercedes driver clocked a 1m34.478s, which is a new track record, to beat Vettel by just 0.092 seconds, with Valtteri Bottas two tenths off the pace in third.

Hamilton set the early pace, clocking a 1m35.125s on his second lap on the ultrasoft tyres, with Bottas 0.420s adrift in second.

Vettel, whose Ferrari team changed his chassis overnight, then slotted into second, 0.002s quicker than Bottas, with Kimi Raikkonen 0.02s further back in fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo was another half a second further back in fifth, with teammate Verstappen - who will have a 15-place grid penalty for engine component changes - ran wide at Turn 7 on his first lap on the ultrasoft tyres.

The Red Bull driver reported a "massive loss" of rear grip, which Red Bull suggested could be down to gusting wind at that corner.

Attention then turned to qualifying simulations, with the field bolting on fresh sets of the ultrasoft tyres in the final third of the one-hour session.

Verstappen improved to the second fastest time, less than a tenth behind Hamilton, but then the times started to tumble as Vettel pumped in a 1m34.570s.

The Ferrari driver's time at the top was short-lived, though, as Hamilton snuck back ahead.

Hamilton attempted a second flying lap on that set of tyres and though a 1m35.547s was fractionally slower, it did mean he clocked the two quickest laps of the session.

Bottas ended up third quickest, two tenths off the pace, with Raikkonen a fraction further back in fourth and Verstappen shuffled down to fifth despite a late improvement that reduced the deficit to 0.625s.

There were a flurry of low-fuel runs just minutes before the end of the session, with Felipe Massa popping into sixth, 0.868s off the pace in the Williams.

Nico Hulkenberg slotted into seventh, 1.130s off the pace and just 0.042s clear of Renault teammate Carlos Sainz.

Ricciardo left his second run on the ultrasofts until the final moments of the session, but though he set a personal best in the first sector, he backed out of it after running wide at Turn 9 and ended up ninth.

Force India's Sergio Perez completed the top 10, just over a tenth ahead of Esteban Ocon, who was told by his team to abort his final run because of traffic.

McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne completed their low-fuel runs earlier than rivals, initially sitting in the top 10 before dropping down to 13th and 14th respectively.

Brendon Hartley, who is competing in his first grand prix weekend, ended up 15th quickest, 2.340s off the pace in the Toro Rosso.

His teammate Daniil Kvyat managed just six laps after reporting something strange with the car and subsequently being recalled to the garage.

There was frustration for Romain Grosjean, who lost the rear of his Haas at Turn 7 midway through the session and ended up beached in the gravel.

1 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 15 1'34.478  
2 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 19 1'34.570 0.092
3 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 17 1'34.692 0.214
4 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 17 1'34.755 0.277
5 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 14 1'35.103 0.625
6 brazil Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 11 1'35.346 0.868
7 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 21 1'35.608 1.130
8 spain Carlos Sainz Jr.  Renault Renault 16 1'35.650 1.172
9 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 17 1'35.723 1.245
10 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 16 1'35.802 1.324
11 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 17 1'35.965 1.487
12 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 12 1'36.118 1.640
13 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda 15 1'36.239 1.761
14 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Honda 14 1'36.599 2.121
15 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Renault 26 1'36.818 2.340
16 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 16 1'37.271 2.793
17 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 17 1'37.319 2.841
18 germany Pascal Wehrlein  Sauber Ferrari 15 1'37.807 3.329
19 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 9 1'37.891 3.413
20 russia Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Renault 6 1'38.500 4.022
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