Verstappen tops the board starting off the race weekend in Austin

Published on 01 November 2019 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen topped the board in the first free practice for the USA Grand Prix. The Dutchman, who will be doing his one hundredth Formula 1-race this weekend, lapped the 5,470 meter long Circuit of the Americas twenty six times, doing a 1:34.057 as his best time. Sebastian Vettel and Alexander Albon rounded up the top three.

With nine degrees it’s very chilly when the first free practice gets underway in Austin. Valtteri Bottas is the first one to make to the track. His Mercedes has been fitted, just like team mate Lewis Hamilton’s, with so called ‘aero rakes’ to measure the car’s air flow.

Pirelli has provided two sets of the 2020 C4 prototype tyre for all the drivers. At the start of the session, we witness numerous drivers, including Max Verstappen, use this opportunity to gather valuable data. The Dutchman is the first to do a timed lap of 1:38.423. After three laps, he reports back to his team in the pit lane.

After twenty minutes, Max is back on the asphalt; this time round, again on the experimental rubber. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-driver is able to better his time to a 1:36.490, putting him second fastest.

After half an hour, Alexander Albon is at the top of the time sheet. He leads Lance Stroll, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Sergio Pérez and Romain Grosjean, who form the top six at that moment. Max has by then done a 1:36.097 on the regular medium tyre.

Shortly after we see a slow moving Nicholas Latifi on the track. The Canadian has taken control of George Russell’s car during FP1, but is now clearly suffering from a gearbox issue, causing him to limp back to the pits. This would eventually mean a premature end to his session.

Halfway the session, it is Red Bull that’s calling the shots with Albon (1:35.282) and Verstappen (1:35.546), but Sebastian Vettel betters that moments later on the softs with over half a second. Team mate Charles Leclerc manages to position himself between both Red Bulls with a 1:35.380.

With little over half an hour to go, Max reports back on track, this time on a set of the softs. The youngster betters his time to a 1:34.057, with which he snatches the lead from Vettel. After a short stop at his team, Verstappen does an even longer run on a new set of the softs. During this final stage of the session, nobody is able to touch Max’ time resulting in him being at the top of the leaderboard after this practice session.

USA GP contest: Win the grey Max Verstappen zip hoodie!

Results first free practice United-states:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:34.057 26
2Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:34.226+0.169s30
3Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda1:34.316+0.259s28
4Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:35.008+0.951s32
5Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:35.263+1.206s29
6Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:35.356+1.299s24
7Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:35.380+1.323s23
8Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:35.439+1.382s32
9Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:35.586+1.529s31
10Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:35.659+1.602s23
11Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:35.661+1.604s31
12Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:35.723+1.666s26
13Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:35.854+1.797s22
14Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:35.971+1.914s29
15Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:36.037+1.980s26
16Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:36.124+2.067s24
17Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:36.159+2.102s40
18Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:36.263+2.206s23
19Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes1:37.948+3.891s28
20Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:41.112+7.055s7