Max Verstappen is very short on speed compared to my two Mercedes in the first free practice at COTA. During the first practice session of the US Grand Prix, the Limburger takes 0.932 seconds longer to complete a lap at a circuit near Austin, Texas.
Valtteri Bottas is narrowly ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Both Ferraris drive faster than Gasly and Perez. Norris, Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen complete the top ten. Among the fastest, Perez drove only his fastest lap on the hard tire. The rest came quickly on soft rubber.
With a track temperature of 30 degrees and an outside temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, the first practice of the US Grand Prix begins under the bright sun. GPToday maintains this live report. Therefore, update this page regularly to stay informed of developments on the right track.
Shut up Alonso: the red flag
In the first minutes, several drivers immediately climbed onto the track. Alonso is standing in the Alps next to the track at Turn 12. The car doesn’t look very funny. There appears to be quite a bit of fluid leaking from under the car. The session is halted with a red flag while the Alps are being rescued.
If training continues after that and the drivers score a time, Lewis Hamilton’s name will appear at the top of the times table. Max Verstappen initially needs about twenty longer to get around the circuit. Then Bottas is six tenths from Hamilton. Both Mercedes score laps on Pirelli’s soft rubber. Verstappen also rides soft rubber in that first phase of training, while his teammate Pirellis rides hard. Charles Leclerc tried it on the medium rubber.
The Alpine team claims that Alonso stopped his car as a precaution.
The red flag, which is ours. Fernando stopped the car as a precaution. We are currently investigating what the problem is.
Session resumed, Esteban is on track and currently P4. #USGP
– Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) October 22 2021
Charles Lysirk spins and digs the Ferrari deep into the gravel. The bumps in the track would have contributed to this, according to radio traffic between Monegask and the Italians in the pit box. Team Mercedes notes that Valtteri Bottas will receive the five-place grid penalty for changing engine parts.
The ninth corner turned out to be a tricky corner with many drivers wanting to make the track wider than the race management would allow. Sebastian Vettel also goes too far, as lap time is taken from him. Conversely, there are also track limits that must be respected, as the FIA has previously made clear.
Verstappen scores the fastest time at the moment
With half an hour left to finish, Max Verstappen sets the fastest time at the moment. He leads 1: 36.049. He is currently faster than Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, George Russell, Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso is back in the Alps. So it looks like the Spaniard can still race in Austin.
Mazbin is out of work
17 minutes before this first practice session kicks off, Lando Norris runs a flat side on his front tire. Nikita Mazepin gets off the track when he loses control of his Haas car. The Russian driver is scratching very quickly on the gravel where he stops. With a lot of luck, he could still continue his way back to digging independently. The Haas driver is solid on the bottom and is currently three seconds short of Mick Schumacher.
Valtteri Bottas is recording the fastest time at the moment, while still being able to avoid slipping during his lap, and therefore doesn’t seem to be driving a perfect lap.
Captured fifteen minutes before the end of the race: Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz, Perez, Norris, Russell, Ocon, Strol, Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Latifi, Gasly, Tsunoda, Giovinazzi, Alonso, Schumacher and Mazepin.
Kimi Raikkonen spins before the flag drops. Both Alfa Romeos seem to be strong: the cars scored times in the top ten. George Russell seems fast, too. Remarkably, both McLarens don’t seem to have gotten on the trail there yet: the orange cars from Woking are currently outside the top ten.
First Free Practice Results:
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