Lewis Hamilton was the fastest around Circuit of The Americas on Friday morning as running commenced in preparation for the USA Grand Prix. Damp and overcast conditions didn't change much at the front as Vettel came closest to Hamilton's pace, followed by Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel was however more than half a second down on the Championship leader. Max Verstappen in fourth was already more than a second behind, almost matched by Stoffel Vandoorne.
Felipe Massa followed in 6th while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was 7th fastest. Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were 8th and 9th while Carlos Sainz, for the first time driving in a Renault, completed the top 10.
The session kicked off with light rain and saw Hamilton going fastest on the intermediate tyres. Verstappen and Ricciardo at the time were the closest challengers. It was only past halfway into the session that Verstappen managed to better Hamilton thanks to making use of the improved conditions. Still on intermediate tyres, it was clear that at some point in the session, slicks would become more appropriate.
It was his team mate at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo, who first went fastest on slicks, using the supersoft tyre. It was only later than Hamilton improved on that, thanks to the now-pink ultrasofts tyres. Bottas momentarily went second fastest until Vettel improved by another tenth to leapfrog the Mercedes driver again for second place.
McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne slotted into fifth. The Belgian, who is set to take another grid penalty for taking on a new engine, was McLaren spearpoint in the morning as Fernando Alonso was unable to set a time due to technical issues.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:36.335||18|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:36.979||+0.644s||10|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:37.339||+1.004s||21|
|5||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Honda||1:37.352||+1.017s||26|
|6||19||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:37.570||+1.235s||23|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||1:37.808||+1.473s||25|
|9||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:37.861||+1.526s||20|
|11||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:38.408||+2.073s||16|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||1:38.534||+2.199s||25|
|14||39||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1:39.267||+2.932s||28|
|15||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:39.336||+3.001s||17|
|16||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:39.366||+3.031s||14|
|17||38||Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso||1:40.406||+4.071s||25|
|18||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:40.448||+4.113s||19|
|19||37||Charles Leclerc||Sauber Ferrari||1:40.828||+4.493s||25|
|20||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||-||-||4|