Lewis Hamilton closed out Friday’s track action at the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix on top of the timesheets, backing up his fastest lap time in FP1 by being quickest in the afternoon’s second practice session at the Circuit of the Americas.

After setting the pace in the wet/dry opening session, the Englishman clocked a 1:34.568 on Ultra Soft Pirelli tyres. The time was quicker than the lap he managed to claim pole position at the Texas circuit last year.

The Mercedes driver’s closest challenger came from Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The Dutch youngster finished four-tenths of a second slower on his best lap, but could well have gone quicker were it not for a wild moment at the second-last corner.

Sebastian Vettel, who has to finish inside the top-five this weekend to stop Hamilton from claiming a fourth World Championship title, finished the session third-fastest in his Ferrari. The German had an untidy session, complaining of a “jelly” like front end in his SF70-H as well as taking a trip through the Turn 19 gravel trap during the 90-minute session.

Hamilton’s nearest rival was Max Verstappen, who finished four-tenths adrift, but would have been closer without a wild moment at the penultimate corner.

The fastest three drivers’ respective teammates – Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Räikkönen – were all considerably slower and claimed fourth through sixth on the time sheets at the end of the session.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finished an impressive seventh-fastest ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa, while the Force India pairing of Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon mirrored their FP1 performance by rounding out the top ten positions.

The Renault pairing of Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hülkenberg made late switches to Ultra Soft rubber to vault themselves to the fringes of the top ten. The pair was separated by just 0.005 seconds on the stopwatch.

Daniil Kvyat had his first outing in the Toro Rosso STR12 since crashing out of the Singapore Grand Prix and placed thirteenth-fastest. He finished comfortably clear of rookie teammate Brendon Hartley, who focused on longer runs in the session as he tried to understand his new surroundings.

The two Haas Ferraris argued over track position during the session, with Kevin Magnussen outpacing teammate Romain Grosjean. The latter finished slowest of all in the session and was the only driver not to post his fastest time on the Ultra Soft rubber.

McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Williams’ Lance Stroll featured towards the bottom of the timesheets ahead of the two Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.

Saturday’s final practice session at the Circuit of the Americas will begin at 11:00 local time (GMT -5).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:34.668 Pirelli Ultra Soft 26
2. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:35.065 Pirelli Ultra Soft 30
3. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:35.192 Pirelli Ultra Soft 11
4. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:35.279 Pirelli Ultra Soft 39
5. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:35.463 Pirelli Ultra Soft 24
6. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:35.514 Pirelli Ultra Soft 29
7. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:36.304 Pirelli Ultra Soft 28
8. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:36.460 Pirelli Ultra Soft 30
9. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:36.481 Pirelli Ultra Soft 28
10. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:36.490 Pirelli Ultra Soft 34
11. Carlos Sainz Jr es Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:36.529 Pirelli Ultra Soft 30
12. Nico Hulkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:36.534 Pirelli Ultra Soft 18
13. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:36.761 Pirelli Ultra Soft 40
14. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:37.285 Pirelli Ultra Soft 17
15. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:37.463 Pirelli Ultra Soft 31
16. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:37.788 Pirelli Ultra Soft 27
17. Brendon Hartley nz Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:37.987 Pirelli Ultra Soft 41
18. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:38.165 Pirelli Ultra Soft 35
19. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:38.262 Pirelli Ultra Soft 22
20. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:38.387 Pirelli Super Soft 26

Image via LAT Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.