FP1: Verstappen leads Leclerc and Hamilton as Sprint weekend kicks off in Austin
Max Verstappen set the pace at the one – and only – practice session for this weekend’s United States GP, as the Red Bull driver led rivals Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton after a busy hour of running in Austin.
With just 60 minutes on the clock to finalise their setups for the weekend, the drivers made their way out on track greeted by warm conditions looking to get up to speed as quick as possible ahead of qualifying later today.
After 20 minutes of running, it was Hamilton who set the early pace, as his time of 1m 37.394s was enough to lead Verstappen by 0.104s on the hard tyre, with the Mercedes driver putting the updated floor on the W14 through its paces.
Also trailing a new floor in FP1 was Aston Martin, but it was not good news for the Silverstone-based squad, with Lance Stroll forced to pit with brake issues, while Fernando Alonso was also brought in for precautionary checks.
Aston Martin later confirmed that Stroll would not be taking part in the rest of the session as Lando Norris went fastest. Moments later, his team mate, Oscar Piastri, had a squirrely moment and ran through the grass on the exit of Turn 9.
FORMULA 1 LENOVO UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX 2023
United States 2023
Practice 1 results
|1 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||1:35.912|
|2 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.156s|
|3 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.281s|
|4 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing||+0.300s|
|5 Kevin Magnussen MAG Haas F1 Team||+0.560s|
With 15 minutes left we saw the first of the soft tyre runners make their way out of the pit lane, as Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon, sporting one-off American inspired liveries on their cars, prepared for some qualifying simulation runs.
Another team rocking a colourful livery on their car this weekend is Red Bull, as Verstappen showed the RB19’s pace to go fastest with a time of 1m 35.912s, with Leclerc, in second, 0.156s off the Dutch driver’s time.
Hamilton went fastest through the first two sectors but went wide at the penultimate corner to end up third ahead of Sergio Perez. Haas are another team with a one-off livery this weekend, and they also brought major upgrades to Austin and Kevin Magnussen impressed many as he went fifth.
George Russell was sixth in the other Mercedes, as Albon wound up seventh, ahead of the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, the second Haas of Nico Hulkenberg, with the Alpine of Pierre Gasly rounding out the top-10.
Home favourite Sargeant ended up 11th for Williams, ahead of the Alpine of Esteban Ocon, the AlphaTauris of Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo – who was less than a tenth off his team mate as he marked his return after a five-race absence due to broken hand.
Norris and Piastri did not strap on a set of softs with all their times and the former was 15th for McLaren, with the latter down in 19th.
Alfa Romeo team mates Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas did put on the softs and were 16th and 17th, respectively. Alonso was able to continue on, but also did not put on the soft tyre and finished 18th, with Stroll bringing up the rear of the field.
The lone practice session of the weekend is now complete, and the drivers and their teams will now ready themselves for the United States GP qualifying later today at 1600 local time.