Lewis Hamilton has posted the fastest time around the Circuit of the Americas, finishing the opening practice session three-tenths of a second clear of team mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton set the pace early as both Mercedes drivers took to the track on the super soft compound tyre, with the Briton easily topping the timesheets by over half a second.

When Rosberg made the switch to the soft tyre, the German went fastest by almost a second than Hamilton’s best on the quicker super softs as the track had started to rubber in as more laps were registered.

The early slippery surface caught out a number of drivers, with Jolyon Palmer the first to lose control and spinning his Renault at Turn 18. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat also joined in on the sliding action, as he spun at the same corner further into the session.

Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo spent the entire first practice session on the medium compound tyre, with Verstappen managing to outpace the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen on the softs to finish third.

Ricciardo’s best time was good enough to see him finish seventh narrowly ahead of former Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.

It wasn’t the smoothest of sailings for Vettel in FP1, as the German struggled with traffic early on as he almost ran into the back of Palmer’s Renault, then spent half a lap with one hand on the steering wheel when his right mirror detached itself from the Ferrari bodywork at the penultimate corner.

The small debris left on the track brought out the virtual safety car briefly, as a Marshall ran on to the track to remove the Ferrari’s mirror casing.

The two Toro Rosso drivers of Kvyat and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten, just beating Felipe Massa’s Williams. Valtteri Bottas did manage to make it inside the top 10 behind Nico Hulkenberg in sixth.

GP2 driver Jordan Kind made his Formula 1 weekend debut as he deputised for Pascal Wehrlein for Manor, finishing in 20th position and ahead of Esteban Ocon in 22nd.

Alfonso Celis made another appearance for Force India in FP1 stepping in for Sergio Perez. The Mexican only managed to finish 17th quickest while Hulkenberg was fifth in the other Force India.

Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas

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Josh Kruse

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