Vettel impresses as CoTA action gets underway
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.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:38.125||-||30|
|5||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:40.650||2.525||30|
|7||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.023||2.898||29|
|9||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:41.159||3.034||32|
|11||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.783||3.658||29|
|17||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||1:42.588||4.463||25|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:46.917||8.792||13|
|24||23||Qing Hua Ma||HRT-Cosworth||1:48.559||10.434||19|