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Mercedes crushingly dominant to leave Verstappen trailing in Texas

Mercedes crushingly dominant to leave Verstappen trailing in Texas

F1 News

Mercedes crushingly dominant to leave Verstappen trailing in Texas

Mercedes crushingly dominant to leave Verstappen trailing in Texas
From Ian Parkes in Austin

Mercedes continued its love affair with the Circuit of the Americas in crushing fashion as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton left their rivals trailing in first practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

The team heads into this weekend's race with a proud record at the Austin track as it has won five of the last six events, including four one-twos.

It may only have been the opening practice run but it was the level of dominance that was eye-opening as Red Bull's Max Verstappen was best of the rest, albeit almost a full second adrift of fastest man Bottas.

By the end of the session, Bottas and Hamilton were separated by just 0.045secs, with Verstappen 0.932s down on the Finn's lap of 1:34.874s.

Bottas, however, goes into the weekend knowing he faces another grid penalty, on this occasion five places for taking a sixth internal combustion engine of the season as Mercedes' power unit issues continue.

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were fourth and fifth fastest, the former recovering from an excursion into the gravel midway through the session.

The Monégasque driver, however, was 1.460s adrift with team-mate Sainz nearly two-tenths of a second further back to underline Mercedes' superiority.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, Sergio Perez in his Red Bull and McLaren's Lando Norris were then the only other drivers within two seconds of the Mercedes pair.

Perez, whose time was set on the hard tyre, with everyone around him in the top 15 on the softs, was involved in a late skirmish with Haas driver Mick Schumacher.

The duo collided after the Mexican launched a late move up the inside of the German, sending him off track.

Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen were next up on the teamsheet, split by just two-thousandths of a second.

Williams' George Russell was 2.092s off the pace in 11th. Russell, however, joins Bottas and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel in taking a grid penalty.

Russell and Vettel, also powered by Mercedes, will both start at the back of the grid after taking on a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H.

Vettel was 14th quickest overall with Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin team-mate Lance Stroll ahead of him and behind Russell.

Alpine's Fernando Alonso was 15th, that after appearing as if he would sit out the session after stopping on track on his opening exploratory lap, with fluid coming from the back of his car.

But the team managed to get the two-time champion back on track after the car had returned to the pits and with repairs undertaken.

Schumacher and Mazepin, on home soil for the team, inevitably brought up the rear, with the Russian driver 7.365s back, over three seconds down on his team-mate.

United States Grand Prix first practice results

1. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] 1:34.874

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] +0.045

3. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] +0.932

4. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] +1.460

5. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +1.634

6. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +1.737

7. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] +1.924

8. Lando Norris [McLaren] +1.981

9. Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] +2.000

10. Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] +2.002

11. George Russell [Williams] +2.092

12. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +2.096

13. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] +2.098

14. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] +2.108

15. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +2.194

16. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] +2.584

17. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] +2.589

18. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] +3.080

19. Mick Schumacher [Haas] +3.992

20. Nikita Mazepin [Haas] +7.365

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