The F1 world championship is becoming a game of chess, where the reliability of the engines will count as much as the performance of the drivers. Valtteri Bottas, after unmarking the sixth internal combustion engine (which will cost him five positions on the starting grid), was the fastest in the first free practice session of the United States GP. The Finn in the flying lap reached 1’34 “874 on soft tires, a time of eight tenths higher than that obtained two years ago.
Mercedes put two W12s ahead of everyone on a track that is full of bumps despite promises to have milled the bumps that had sparked protests from the MotoGP riders. The work carried out was not at all conclusive and the single-seaters often and reluctantly crawl with the tea-tray and the front wing. It will be essential to raise the ground clearance in order not to damage the bottom, but this is equivalent to losing downforce and performance.
Lewis Hamilton is second at 45 thousandths from his winning teammate in Turkey: the black arrows that do not have a rake set-up seem to suffer less from set-up problems. Max Verstappen, in fact, is very detached from the W12s for being third in the list of times: with 1’35 “806 he pays more than nine tenths from the top. get right.
Well the Ferraris: after Charles Leclerc’s spin in the snake in the early stages, the Scuderia took the reds to fourth and fifth place. The Monegasque with 1’36 “334 precedes his team-mate Carlos Sainz by a couple of tenths. The gap from the top three is enormous, but for now the Cavallino team just needs to stay ahead of the opponents in the middle of the group.
Pierre Gasly with the AlphaTauri and sixth in front of nothing to Sergio Perez in difficulty with the second Red Bull: the Mexican at the end of the session became the protagonist of a contact with Mick Schumacher who did not see him arrive at speed. The German lost in the collision and spun with the Haas.
Lando Norris placed McLaren in eighth place ahead of an excellent Antonio Giovinazzi. The Alfa Romeo Italian climbed to ninth place followed by … 2 thousandths from Kimi Raikkonen.
Out of the top ten is George Russell who benefits from the fourth Mercedes engine on the Williams FW43B: the Englishman managed to stay ahead of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine by just 4 thousandths. Fernando Alonso is only 15th: the Spaniard stopped on the track due to a loss of fluids in the right side at the beginning of the session. To recover his car, it took the exposure of the red bandaira. The Asturian was able to return to lap in the last quarter of an hour and was satisfied with the 15th place.
Aston Martin is struggling with Lance Stroll, 13th, and Sebastian Vettel, 14th. The German has also mounted the power unit four and will start on the last row on Sunday. A difficult weekend seems to have begun for the “verdona”.
Daniel Ricciardo with McLaren does not thrill 16th ahead of Nicholas Latifi with Williams. Yuki Tsunoda’s approach with the second AT02 is very cautious: the Japanese only has the two Haas behind him with Mick Schumacher constantly ahead of Nikita Mazepin rather struggling to measure the American track.
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