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Hamilton tops US F1 GP practice sessions as Ferrari challenge fades
Posted By: Editor   |  20 Oct 2017   |  9:47 pm GMT  |  83 comments

Lewis Hamilton led the second free practice session of the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix, ahead of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton also led a damp FP1 session, with the fastest time of 1m35.335s, putting him 0.593 seconds clear of runner-up Vettel.

In FP2, Hamilton led Red Bull’s Verstappen – who signed a new contract lasting until 2020 on Friday – by 0.397s, with Vettel third.

Vettel spun on the bumpy and fast-paced penultimate corner and spent 20 minutes in the pits having completed just two laps before that. He emerged on super-softs and jumped to third, having set a fastest lap of 1m35.192s.

The Ferrari frontrunner retreated to the pits citing a front axle issue, complaining, “the front of the car feels like jelly.”

At the start of the session, the majority left the pits on super-softs and it was Kimi Raikkonen who went fastest early on with a time of 1m36.667s.

Raikkonen’s fastest time on ultra-softs was a 1m35.514s, 0.846s off the top, and he ended the session sixth.

Leapfrogging the Ferrari was Max Verstappen who set a time of 1m36.116s, two tenths ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, 15 minutes into the session.

The Mercedes pair equipped ultra-softs 20 minutes later and shot to the top of the table through Hamilton’s time of 1m34.668s. Bottas filed in six tenths down, ending up in fourth place.

Long-runs were performed with the ultra-softs, with teams anticipating a one-stop race on Sunday, though the session ended with drivers on a mix of ultra-softs, super-softs and softs. Red Bull and Mercedes were closely matched on their race simulations.

Though he had to pit with damage, Fernando Alonso ended the session seventh, but 1.636s off the top. Felipe Messa’s fastest time was 0.156s slower than Alonso’s, but the Williams veteran finished ahead of the Force Indias who rounded out the top 10, with Sergio Perez ninth.

Romain Grosjean, who was incensed by Daniil Kvyat and team-mate Kevin Magnussen’s presence in front of him early on, ended the session 20th having foregone an ultra-soft run.

Haas counterpart Magnussen (14th) completed a dicey lunge on the Frenchman 10 minutes into the session, after both Haas cars spun separately at low speeds in sector three.

Toro Rosso stand-in Brendon Hartley completed the most laps with 41, and Daniil Kvyat completed one fewer, though Kvyat ended up 13th and Hartley 17th.

Vettel completed the fewest amount of laps, with 11 under his belt. 

Will Hamilton end up on top in Sunday’s race? Have your say in the comment section below.

Results, FP2:








Lewis Hamilton





Max Verstappen

Red Bull/Renault





Sebastian Vettel






Valtteri Bottas






Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull/Renault





Kimi Raikkonen






Fernando Alonso






Felipe Massa






Sergio Perez

Force India/Mercedes





Esteban Ocon

Force India/Mercedes





Carlos Sainz Jr






Nico Hulkenberg






Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso/Renault





Kevin Magnussen






Stoffel Vandoorne






Lance Stroll






Brendon Hartley

Toro Rosso/Renault





Pascal Wehrlein






Marcus Ericsson






Romain Grosjean





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See after fp3 Ferrari is very close. We will see in a few minutes.

Off topic:

McLaren needs to paint their cars like the 1974 Indy 500 winning car they had. Alonso had the same color last year there. Maybe they could then get Pennzoil as a sponsor as the color is the same and they can only have a faster car next year. Anyhow they can’t use tobacco although Ferrari still reminds me of Marlboro from their paint scheme.


Super Formula.

Talk about taking opportunity to get desired outcome.


Sebee, you mean summoning a typhoon?!



And then not postponing the race.

After all, why take all the effort if only other outcome than one they locked in is non-Japanese guy winning championship?

Tornillo Amarillo

FP3, anybody any comment ?

Ham-Vet is a new fight this afternoon!

I think Wow! Massa is doing his job in P6 auditioning for keeping the seat, impressive! Kubica should be worried.

And Renault has the 2 drivers up there (P7&8), it is what they wanted it, no more Palmer at the back, there is already a difference for them.


Someone asked about race pace. They were all around 140.5 Red Bull and Ferrari too with a lot less runs tho but that seems close.


Oh shit!

Is F1 really working in a 2018 Netflix deal?

That would be huge! First sport property on Netflix. HUGE!

I hope this is on, because it would be so smart for F1 and Netflix.

Almost makes you wonder if Netflix should pay F1 or if F1 should pay Netflix for this deal.


Is anyone else momentarily freaked out that MSC is back behind the wheel of the Merc when you catch a quick flash of that red helmet Hamilton is sporting this weekend? I get he loves Michael Jackson, but I find it weird that he would pay tribute to the singer via his helmet. Maybe it’s just me.
What motivates a decision like this? Is it because he is a) Dangerous b) Invincible or c) off the wall?
…Who’s bad?


I see that Hartley has FOM 3-letter code of HAR, but wasn’t Haryanto that as well, just last year? I thought it stayed with them for 2 years after their last F1 race?


I’m pretty sure Max started with VES so as not to be confused with Vergne. As long as we know who is who, all good?

I also recall Michael being shown as SCH then MSC when Ralf was competing.


I think it’s fair to say that as the season appears to be over in terms of any sort of competition the general interest in watching is also almost over.
I will of course still watch to the last lap of the last race.
But just consider this, what sort of season would we have had without a resurgent Ferrari.
Whatever the new owners decide upon they really must try and bring the racing closer amongst more teams.
I would even suggest a change to the points system again.


practice is what it is, practice. it’s not a competition but does give an idea how the competition would look like.
it all starts being interesting when the competition kicks in.
i wonder if lap records have already been broken..


I like how close Ocon and Perez are and also Sainz and Hulkenberg. Great inter team stuff going on there. Sunday is going to be intense for those lads.
Hopefully the Ferrari will now do the opposite to the last few outings (where they were quick all practice and off the pace in the race)
Will Hamilton end up on top on Sunday? Unless something unexpected happens, he will definitely be on the podium, as for the title, I don’t think he will clench that here.


Ferrari seems hapless. How does such a well equipped team continue to contest the world championship with such poor results? They seem to lack the focus and awareness that is necessary to mount an effective and sustained serious competitive challenge. Meanwhile, Red Bull, a far less historically esteemed contender, makes Ferrari look feeble. It seems that it’s time for a major change of personnel at the top of the prancing- horse stables. Why wait any longer for the inevitable?


Apparently I was wrong. Vettel set his time on ultrasofts according to the delayed showing by NBCSN.

I just went by what I read. Only being able to get fp2 live through an app sucks. The race may in fact be cooler as it starts late. Still anything can happen as race pace is very close.


What on earth us up with Bottas? He’s fallen off the radar big time lately. I wonder if he is dealing with personal issues or something, because it is a striking rut he is in.


He’s taken his rightful place as the #2 driver! Nobody expected him to beat Hamilton over an entire season! The odd win or 2 is about what was expected of him at Merc! He’s a solid driver!


@Matthew Agreed that his speed has dropped, also that Ham has improved, but VB has scored more points in last 8 races than in first 8 (123-111). Just goes to show how narratives sometimes unfold even despite the facts…


In this case I would argue it’s the points that are misleading, not the narrative; he was significantly off the pace at several races (e.g. Singapore, Malaysia, Japan) but still got decent points hauls because of Ferrari and Red Bull dropping the ball.


Yeah…something seems to be distracting him or messing with his head as he was much better before for the break. I was even saying he would be giving ham a warm time possibly like rosberg so ham will have 4 ppl to fight – bottas, vettel, kimi, max and honorable mention Ricardo


Hey Lewis;
If you do something to disrespect the national anthem, you have lost this supporter. Also, didn’t Vettel get in some trouble for disrespecting a national anthem recently?


Another thought, losing you as a supporter and people that have burned NFL shirts. Seems a little to Nationalistic, a bit like certain religions.


Is kneeling really disrespectful? People used to kneel to pray, so maybe it could be classed as showing more respect.


It’s very difficult for a foreigner to know what to do during another nation’s national anthem. During my 6 years in the USA and without guidance, I variously sat through the anthem (you would probably call that disrespecting) and standing. What I wouldn’t do, of course, is hold my right arm over my chest as I felt that would be wrong too. As kids, we were always taught to ‘stand to attention’ during our national anthem, a practice that has all but disappeared now. The point is, it’s difficult to know what to do when you are in a foreign country, as the anthem ritual is supposed to show allegiance to that flag, but I think what you’re actually saying here, is not so much Lewis ‘disrespecting the anthem’ but joining the protest. Why don’t you say what you actually mean?


Well, I posted what I actually meant on this site, two stories ago, also about Lewis and this subject and it never got past the moderator evidently. What I suggested to Lewis; this taking a knee in the N.F.L. during the national anthem has morphed into a left-wing political statement, and I advised him to stay out of politics. That never got posted.
I thought his musings in that earlier story were spot on – he said he was here to concentrate on winning, and didn’t want to get distracted.


I think Vettel was given a reprimand for not being present for the anthem in Japan. Were Tommie Smith and John Carlos disrespectful in 1968? It’s a huge shame we still have the same issues 50 years later.


It is a shame, especially in the US, its taken a step backwards lately. I’ve only been there once in the early 90’s for 2 weeks working with the American EOD, I loved it. However everything I’ve read or seen on YouTube etc recently, makes me not like it


It’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that Vettel disrespected a national anthem recently. He was late arriving for the national anthem at the last race as there was a problem with his PU and he was discussing this with his engineers. He broke a rule, and the rule is clear, so he received a reprimand. Whether the rule is sensible is debatable but it is a rule nonetheless and the fact it was broken is beyond dispute.


I can see 8 comments so far here & 7 of them ppl are just taking a p*ss here. Only because Bottas is a unworthy driver, doesn’t mean that the Mercs aren’t light years ahead of the ground. What happend to the facts lately!!


What happened to the facts lately

We are waiting on you making them up as usual


Is this best you could do? Come on mate!! Trust me when I say I have been bullied before and it doesn’t bother me. So try again.


The fact that you made the effort to reply to the comment would actually indicate the opposite.
When you diss every other comment and go on to belittle a driver who’s skill you can only dream about, expect negative comments heading your way, but you knew that already.
Bullied, really, get over yourself. Did you not spot the smiley.


Lol. I sort of agree actually. I wonder if Toto is ever going to pull a Marko if Bottas continues this well into next season… Probably not.


@KRB I’m not sure if it’s you or one of your pals asked me the same question about Kimi. I said it many times here if you can’t recall, I’m disappointed by the fact that Ferrari retained Kimi for next year. He is a FORMER F1 WDC. He is way past his best days. Who you’d prefer over who else is personal choice of yours. As far as number 2 driver contest is concerned, Bottas beat Kimi fair and square. He is just unworthy of driving that Mercedes. He is a Williams driver at best.


F zero, so who should Mercedes have taken instead?


Ok good to know. I think Bottas did really well at the start of the year. Since the summer break, he’s been off the pace, but you don’t give up on a driver on one half-season. Mercedes will in all likelihood win the WCC on Sunday, so Bottas has held up his end of the bargain.


Wouldn’t say it’s that clear cut. Even when Bottas has driven badly he’s got podiums through other cars DNF, Baku, Singapore, lucky at Silverstone. Bottas also hit Kimi twice at the start and got no penalties.

I’d say Bottas drove better in the 1st half and Kimi has actually driven better since Silverstone. However the results don’t show it (Singapore, Malaysia)


If we give 2nd at Silverstone to Kimi (though remember Bottas started 9th because of a gearbox penalty), and take away 2nd from Bottas in Baku (where he was lucky to be allowed to unlap himself early on, and then the race got crazy), and then look at points-per-finish, it’s still:

BOT 15.2, RAI 12.6

If you give Kimi 2nd in both Singapore and Malaysia (assuming Vettel finishes both starting from representative grid slots), then his PPF improves to 13.4, but he’s still nearly 2 PPF’s back of Bottas.


Is Kimi an unworthy driver to you? I would take Bottas over Kimi any day, and twice on Sunday.


Third-quick is not at all bad for 11 laps. Let’s see how qually goes.


Carlos is right on the money!

Tornillo Amarillo

Sainz in his first weekend with Renault is already fastest than Hulk in both free practices… Olé!


It is looking good for Sainz no doubt but…no points in practice buddy. Save the comparisons til after the race – or even after the season.


If he beats Hulk these last races then I think Hulk’s stock needs re-evaluating. After all, Perez didn’t have too much trouble with Hulk.


Good effort from Sainz to beat Hulk and Alonso as best of the rest with the Honda PU despite it being 1.6 off Lewis and 0.8 off Kimi!

Bottas can go to Williams when Massa retires so Lewis can have someone to race with.

Kind of sorry to say it, but… I can’t work out, in this world of massive time gaps between PUs, if it is a good or bad thing that fast drivers get grid penalties therefore at least giving some action as they battle through!


I hope the Ferrari has a minor problem or Sebastian is just having a minor lapse of confidence in the car. I would hate for us to be treated to a third race in succession with Sebastian suffering grid penalties or forced to start at the back of the grid because of a problem. I would rather like to have Lewis win the championship over the next four races than not luck into it on Sunday due to another Ferrari collapse.


Vettel could be on pole because he only ran 11 or 12 laps and got that time on the supersofts. So the ultrasofts should have an advantage anyhow. It will likely be hotter Saturday and possible rain Sunday.

This track should be the last one to favor Mercedes. Those Red Bulls have race pace and you can pass at Austin.

Hamilton has won here when he wasn’t on pole. He came from behind at least 3 times here to win here. Anything can happen tho. Reliability for Mercedes and not raw speed has gotten them the points lead.

Also rain can change lots. If Hamilton has no dnfs he will win the WDC no matter what but Bottas had one so you never know.


In contrast – I think it would be best for Ham to win the championship now – then, job done, we can have all out “no pressure” racing for the rest of the season


Luck into it?
He won’t luck into it.
You have to be there, on track, to be in it .
Luck has no bearing on the race.
This isn’t “The Unfortunate Events of Vettelling Snickett”
If you’re going down that root then Rosberg lucked in winning less races than Hamilton and then the unfortunate event of Hamiltons engine expiring at Malaysia. All added to Rosberg winning the Championship.
You can’t change the goal posts.
You win any which you can.
I understand you want it to go all the way..but that might not happen.


Apart from Singapore where Sebastian was the cause of the racing incident, the two mechanical DNFs have played to Lewis advantage. It is impossible to know what impact Sebastian would have had, but he would have been very competitive at both Malaysia and Japan. In pure race pace, the Ferrari has been equal or better than Mercedes for most of the season. The biggest difference is the overall reliability of the #44 Mercedes, compared to the #5 Ferrari. As a result Lady Luck has shone brightly on Lewis this year, just the same way she gave her favors to Nico Rosberg last year.

I never understood why fans feel luck diminishes accomplishment. Most athletes tend to be very superstitious and follow all sorts of stupid rituals to keep luck on their side. So yes, luck is extremely important in F1 – the kind of luck that pushed Lewis Hamilton to move to an also run F1 team with only one win on the vague promises of hybrid engine technology and the desire to escape the strict confines of McLaren. Not one person, expert or amateur, including Lewis himself would have told you in 2012, he would be on the verge of winning three of four possible WDCs in 2017, and be in the position to break nearly every main record including, if the car stay this competitive, Schumacher’s unthinkable 91 wins. At the end of the day it is all luck!


For tomorrow.. Ham on pole.. I hope Bottas find his own weaknes on time, .6 sec slower is a lot.
If the Mercs turn up the oil burning it will be a pole in one.


I dunno. Didn’t Vettel set his best time on super softs? The race pace looks very similar.

I guess it all depends on track temps. I heard 60% chance of rain Sunday so who knows?

Free practice 2 doesn’t seem to be the same indicator it once was. Hamilton has been fast on this track in the past but the surface is harder on tires than it used to be.


What race pace are talking about and whose? Vettel missed the entire race race simulation program in FP2 after doing just 11 laps.


“Will Hamilton end up on top in Sunday’s race? Have your say in the comment section below.”

Boringly, yes, he will.


Hayttom, you really should wait until it happens before you start complaining….



Slight mod… “Will Hamilton end up on pole on Saturday? Have your say in the comment section below.”

Even More Boringly, yes, he will.

Enjoy the teamate wars today everyone.

p.s. How the heck is Ocon going for a record consecutive number of race finishes for a rookie (Max Chilton’s record), with the amount of scrapes and dents he has had particularly with his teammate this year!!!


Maybe, maybe not. Not that I would complain if he did.


Lol lol lol


It’s obvious now that Red Bull are faster than Ferrari and have made mega gains. You could see that Kimi was towing Vettel around attempting to hold quicker.
Max may have a a penalty come race day. But the way Red Bull are going they’ll leave Ferrari sniffing their fumes.
Mercedes looking on another level. 👍


Hamilton is on it – I want him to win but not to walk it. I like a bit of excitement in my life! With Verstappen’s penalty Vettel will be in close attendance to Lewis (hopefully no mechanical issues for either) and we can actually have a battle between the two – maybe even an overtake or two for the lead (I know this isn’t motoGP but it would be nice wouldn’t it?).


He is not gonna walk it. He is gonna roll it backwards. And Bottas will be praying Toto hangs around for many years. Otherwise only race he will be participating that comes in dvd.


What’s with all the dissing on Bottas lately? I bet if I went back through the comments at the beginning of the year I could find comments from you praising him and suggesting he was going to show Ham a thing or two. What do you reckon – should we have a look?


It’s easier to diss on Bottas than face up to the reality that Ferrari had/have a car able to win the WDC this year.


It didn’t take long did it KRB ?
“Ferrari were never really in it” will be the new ‘truth’ before you can say 72 poles and counting 🙂


well said. loads of people who praised bottas after his wins now say he doesn’t deserve his seat!


That’s the way it is with Hamilton – the anti’s will always try a find a excuse for why he is winning and it is NEVER because he is quick.


Surprised at the effusive praise for Lewis from Pat Symonds. Pat of course knows all about Bottas’ abilities, so he would have a decent gauge on where Hamilton is at in relation.


Pat of course knows all about Bottas’ abilities, so he would have a decent gauge

You are of course bang on the money. However, I promise you that his opinion will simply be dismissed [by the antis] as just ‘another biased Sky pundit’.


An overtake or two for the lead really would be nice, before I start missing Nico Rosberg! aaaaah!

Should be fun watching the penalty drivers though. Surprised Marko hasn’t managed to dump all of Torro Rosso (and even Red Bull) grid penalties on Dan Kvyat’s car.


An overtake or two for the lead really would be nice,

Well, at least you got your wish on Sunday 🙂


Poor Daniil – should have walked rather than be humiliated by his team boss: even if he isn’t up to F1 his treatment epitomises the red bull way, which is one of the main reasons I dislike them, whoever is driving for them! (I know, no room for sentiment in f1) The systematic undermining of one driver to boost another seems to be part and parcel of their culture. I fear for Ricciardo in this environment especially now Max has a contact to 2020- perhaps a seat at Merc in 2019 if Bot doesn’t raise his game?


Clarkes, how many times did Nico overtake Lewis for the lead of a race? Or at all for that matter! I’m trying to remember how excited you got when Lewis overtook Seb for the lead of the Spanish GP…..




So far so good for Hamilton – but it’s just free practice…..:


@C63 go for it mate. Look for what you like. About the other point about Bottas, he had spent the entire season including preseason testing. The results, the gap to the rest of the top drivers let alone Ham, consistency, standing on the ladder shows he doesn’t deserve to be in a championship winning team. It’s hardly a rocket science.


@C63 go for it mate. Look for what you like.

Here’s another one where you are telling us how great VB is (it’s like shooting fish in a barrel)

9:30 amMay 2, 2017
Formula Zero1 Star2 Star3 Star
And how I have concluded that you don’t appreciate VB win? Because you said “all things equal”. It’s 2-2 in quail and races out of 4 (taking the team order out). He at least deserves a little appreciation and recognition for the potential.


@C63 go for it mate. Look for what you like.


There you go FZ – didn’t take too long 🙂
Just to provide a little context (in case you can’t be bothered to look for it yourself). This was your comment on an article asking whether Bottas was likely to become a WDC following on from his win in Russia. In essence I was saying that one swallow does not a summer make and you were telling me off for not giving him enough credit. Try and retain a little consistency – you’re up and down like yo yo mate 😎

10:28 pmMay 1, 2017
Formula Zero1 Star2 Star3 Star
Bottas has already outqualified LH, SV and KR. Now he is a race winner in his 4th race for Ferrari. So, your theory about VB not winning when all things being equal has a lot less weight than the pre season testing. At least give the guy some credit that he deserves.


Strong performance from Lewis having topped both sessions thereby showing great determination to wrap up the title in style preferably in the US as the US has the best media coverage

Max has shown strong performance too with P2 thus showing Red Bull’s chassis is currently working on all circuits

Vettel had a difficult day with P3 and what’s more, he is likely not to win the race as Lewis is the only driver to have won in different teams

Good effort by Alonso in P7 thereby showing he still got the skills to compete with the younger generation

Likewise, decent performance from Massa in P8 with the Force India lads expected to keep him on his toes this weekend in P9 and P10


James or the editor do the reports.


Good Summary. I think any team that is behind a Honda in P2 or P3 should be embarrassed really. Shows you have some serious issues to have Honda leapfrog you at this point. All being equal though – well done by Honda/Alonso. Still think it was a mistake for McLaren to split from Honda. Will we see the Torro Rosso passing the McRenault on track next year?


Or perhaps it shows Honda’s improvement through the season.


@ Kurik

Personally I think Mclaren had no choice but to split with Honda because Honda biggest problem was reliability so much so that the team couldn’t extra their full speed for fear of it breaking down.

As for Torro Rosso, this is the million dollar question to see how it all pans out with Honda but the signs are things may not change much reliability wise

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