Rosberg Overcomes Wet Track to Lead FP1
Overnight rains left a fair number of puddles behind, especially in several of the turns at Circuit of The Americas 3.4-miles track, conspiring to hold down lap times for the field to 20 Formula One drivers competing in this weekend’s 2015 United States Grand Prix.
The quickest P1 lap times last year– run in the dry – were in the 1:39 to 1:45 range. By comparison, the quickest around the track during this morning’s P1 session – turned in by Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Nico Rosberg – was a leisurely 1:53.989. He was followed closely by the Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, who finished with times of 1:55.224 and 1:55.592, respectively.
The rest of the field posted times that were 15 to 20 seconds slower than last year, with drivers reporting the best grip coming from the medium Pirelli tires.
Making a strong showing in morning practice was Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, with the fourth-fastest time of 1:55.667.
Reigning F1 champion and current points leader Lewis Hamilton was a shade slower, finishing fifth after completing just four laps, in a time of 1:55,693. The two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, finished sixth and eighth, with Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso sandwiched in between.
Vettel scored a time of 1:55,710, seventh-place Verstappen followed with a 1:55.710, and Raikkonen was clocked at 1:56.326.
Rounding out the top 10 were McLaren’s Fernando Alonzo and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, finishing with times of 1:56.839 and 1:56.866, respectively.
Manor Marussia driver, American Alexander Rossi escaped a last-place finish during P1 by besting teammate Will Stevens with a time of 2:01.154, compared to 2:01.907. Gearbox problems afflicted Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, resulting in him sitting out the session and his car failing to post a time.
Overcast skies are predicted for the remainder of the day, but drivers are hoping the rains hold off until after the P2 afternoon session, giving them a chance to attack the track with a bit more vigor.