Verstappen torpedoes his way to P1 as Mercedes struggle: United States GP FP1 results
Over the past week since the Mexican Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has been painted as the pantomime villain or Formula 1 after getting involved in a couple of near-scraps at the last race, resulting in drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, and Sebastian Vettel criticising his aggressivity behind the wheel.
However, the Dutchman has responded by taking the fastest time at the Circuit of the Americas in the first practice session with a lap of 1:34.057, just edging out Vettel and Red Bull team-mate Alexander Albon.
This was a session filled with side plots.
Almost immediately after taking to the field, the majority of drivers complained about how bumpy the track was, with some even going slightly airborn over the harsher areas of the circuit. Hamilton said over team radio: "These bumps are insane out here. I don't think this track is safe."
Thankfully, it was safe, bar a couple of spins most notably from Carlos Sainz.
Several drivers had the opportunity to test the 2020 tyre compounds, and although it worked well for some, like Verstappen, it didn't for others, namely Hamilton and Bottas, who finished eighth and 17th.
Williams test driver Nicholas Latifii was given an outing in place of George Russell, but it wasn't a productive day for the Canadian, who had to prematurely leave the action after just seven completed laps after a gearbox issue.
It was a session to forget for Charles Leclerc, too, as he very quickly had to go back into the garage after a throttle pedal issue. He returned and actually set a time that would have put him in the top five, only for it to be rescinded after he ventured off-track limits.
"However, the Dutchman has responded by taking the fastest time at the Circuit of the Americas in the first practice session with a lap of 1:34.057, just edging out Vettel and Red Bull team-mate Alexander Albon." It should be added that he got over on the stewards and kept his mouth shut for a change. He was outside the track limits when he set his time.
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