Nico Rosberg has topped the first practice session of the United States Grand Prix ahead of the Red Bull pair of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo.
Rosberg proved that he was easily the most comfortable on the intermediate tyre in the morning session, as his team-mate could only manage fifth position, 1.5 seconds slower than Rosberg’s benchmark.
The wet conditions benefit customers of Renault as they were able to get much closer to the powerful Mercedes power unit. Both Red Bull cars were in the top three while Carlos Sainz was able to slot into fourth position a tenth of a second behind Ricciardo’s best time.
The drivers took to the track with a mix of intermediate and wet tyres as rain had just stopped prior to the commencement of the session.
Marcus Ericsson has the first to take to the track and set a timed lap of a 2:01.702 on the intermediate tyre. It didn’t take the Swede long to find a couple of seconds and he broke into the 1m59s on his second attempted.
Rosberg started his run early and quickly jumped to the top of the timesheets posting a 1:55.102, well over a second quicker than Kimi Raikkonen’s best effort of 1:56.884.
The German then bested his time to a 1:53.989 almost halfway through practice which remained unbeaten for the session.
Sebastian Vettel was the best placed Ferrari in sixth position, one-tenth of a second behind Hamilton’s best time, and two-tenths quicker than the next Renault-powered driver of Max Verstappen.
McLaren had the busiest session of all the teams completing a combined total of 38 laps between Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Alonso was running the new Honda power unit he trialled last round in Russia and finished in ninth position while Button was further back in 13th place.
The only reserve driver in the field was Sauber’s Raffaele Marciello who stepped in for Felipe Nasr.
Jolyon Palmer, Lotus’s reserve driver, will most likely make an appearance in FP2, as the conditions look set to worsen with thunderstorms expected in the second practice session. This allowed Romain Grosjean time in the car before the storm hits.
Lotus’s FP1 session was difficult on both their drivers as mechanical problems saw both cars spend lengthy amounts of time in the Garage. Grosjean’s was experiencing brake issues while Pastor Maldonado only managed his installation lap due to a gearbox problem.
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