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FP1: Sainz leads Verstappen as four drivers make their debut at COTA

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Carlos Sainz set the fastest time ahead of Max Verstappen in the opening practice for the 2022 United States Grand Prix, with four drivers making their FP1 debut at Austin.

Ferrari driver Sainz set the fastest time of 1m 36.857s with Red Bull’s champion Verstappen jumping to second late on, 0.224s off the Spaniard’s pace. Lewis Hamilton therefore finished third, just under half a second off the pace in a Mercedes sporting its final major upgrade package of the season.

READ MORE: Why COTA remains a favourite for drivers and fans as it prepares for its 10th US Grand Prix

Lance Stroll finished fourth for Aston Martin, leaving Red Bull driver Sergio Perez – who will receive a grid penalty for his fifth internal combustion engine of the season – rounding out the top five.

Five drivers were substituted in for FP1 as per the 2022 regulations: Robert Shwartzman in place of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari; Alex Palou in place of Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren; Logan Sargeant in place of Nicholas Latifi at Williams; Theo Pourchaire in place of Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo; and Antonio Giovinazzi returning to the wheel in place of Kevin Magnussen at Haas.

United States 2022

Practice 1 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1SAI1:36.857
2VER+0.224s
3HAM+0.475s
4STR+0.603s
5PER+0.658s
View Full Results

Seven minutes into the session, Giovinazzi’s Haas swapped ends and he hit the barriers outside Turn 6 with the right-hand side of his car, bringing out a brief red flag. The Italian driver managed to get his car going again and limp back to the pits – but a damaged clutch left him last on the timesheets and out of the session.

Fernando Alonso finished sixth for Alpine with Mercedes’ George Russell just under a tenth behind in P7 for Mercedes, and Pierre Gasly another 0.008s back in P8 for AlphaTauri.

FP1 Highlights: United States Grand Prix

Behind ninth-place McLaren driver Lando Norris, Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10 for Aston Martin ahead of Esteban Ocon and Zhou Guanyu, the 12th-placed Alfa Romeo driver also set to take a grid penalty for his fifth power unit of 2022.

Alex Albon took 13th for Williams, leaving Yuki Tsunoda 14th for AlphaTauri and Mick Schumacher 15th for Haas.

As a result, the four rookies were next on the timesheets with Ferrari’s Shwartzman 0.030s off Schumacher in P16.

Palou finished 17th and Pourchaire 18th – both drivers only running mediums – while the home favourite Williams driver Sargeant finished 19th.

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