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Hamilton tops damp opening practice in Austin – FP1 Report

United States Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas gave Mercedes a one-two start to the weekend in wet conditions at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Briton, who can wrap up a fifth drivers’ title in Austin this weekend, set the benchmark 1:47.502 in tricky intermediate conditions, with team-mate Bottas over one second behind.

The two Red Bulls will be hoping for additional rain over the rest of the weekend after taking third and fourth, with Max Verstappen leading Daniel Ricciardo.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel only managed a lap time that was two seconds off Hamilton’s pace and ran wide on a couple of occasions at turn one. He finished the session half-a-second ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The head of the midfield – Renault’s Carlos Sainz – was just over three seconds off the pace, and he was kept in close company by Haas’ Romain Grosjean and the two Saubers of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson.

Leclerc caused the only red flag halfway through the session, but this was for bringing gravel back onto the circuit when he had an off-track moment through the sweeping corners of sector one.

The two McLarens completed a solid session in eleventh and twelfth, with Fernando Alonso leading Lando Norris, who substituted for Stoffel Vandoorne and finished only two tenths of a second behind the two-time champion.

The only other development driver to have a run out was Toro Rosso’s Sean Gelael, who took over Brendon Hartley’s car for FP1.

Nicolas Latifi had been due to take over Sergio Perez’s car in FP1, but Force India changed their minds at the last minute.

To view the full results from the opening free practice session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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