Vettel impresses as CoTA action gets underway

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F1 Grand Prix, GP United States, Circuit of The Americasus

Sebastian Vettel topped the first free practice session at Circuit of the Americas and was thereby an impressive 1.4 seconds quicker than second fastest man, Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso was third quickest, another 6 tenths down on P2.

The beginning of the session was marked by recognition laps, particularly as not all teams have the luxury to allow their drivers to discover the new track in a simulator. On top of that, the track initially appeared to be very dusty and slippery, an expected characteristic of tarmac that has never been raced on before.

As the session progressed, times improved, but they were still quite far down on the expected laptime. Halfway through the session, Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets, a full 5 seconds slower than what was expected for a single-lap performance.

In the closing minutes, many cars were on track to benefit from the improved track conditions. While Alonso was unable to improve and remained slower than Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel put in two impressive laps to go 1.4 seconds quicker than Hamilton, the closest competitor on the timesheet. The German however completed his final 3 flying laps on a new set of Pirelli's wet-weather intermediate tyres. Without rain, it is no surprise that no other car chose to use this compound during FP1.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamTimeGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:38.125-30
24Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1:39.5431.41828
35Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:40.3372.21229
43Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:40.5282.40329
52Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:40.6502.52530
66Felipe MassaFerrari1:40.9662.84126
712Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:41.0232.89829
814Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1:41.0362.91128
98Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:41.1593.03432
1015Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1:41.4733.34829
1111Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:41.7833.65829
1216Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:41.8253.70028
1317Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:41.8333.70829
149Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:41.8803.75523
1510Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:41.9983.87327
1618Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:42.5394.41430
177Michael SchumacherMercedes AMG1:42.5884.46325
1825Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1:43.2885.16323
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1:43.4435.31828
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1:43.5225.39723
2124Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1:44.4646.33924
2219Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1:44.5486.42329
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1:46.9178.79213
2423Qing Hua MaHRT-Cosworth1:48.55910.43419