The 17th round of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, as teams prepared for the United States Grand Prix Sunday.
Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 5.513-kilometer (3.426-mile), 20-turn track were on the docket, with FP1 completed under a cloudy sky with intermittent drizzle. This forced teams onto the Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tire for the first 35 minutes of the session before the track finally dried out enough for slicks to be used.
The wet track conditions resulted in limited running, with the home country’s Haas F1 Team taking a conservative approach in FP1.
Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen combined for only 10 laps on the Green intermediate tires before switching to Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires. After six laps on intermediates, Magnussen ran 10 laps on Red supersofts, securing his fastest lap on his final tour – a 1:38.408 that placed him 11th overall. And after four laps on intermediates, Grosjean ran 13 laps on Red supersofts, earning a quick time of 1:39.336 on his 15th lap that put him 15th overall.
Leading the way in FP1 was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, whose fast lap of 1:36.335 was .593 of a second better than the next quickest driver, Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
When FP2 began two-and-a-half hours later, the sun was out and the track was dry. And as the weather improved, so did lap times.
Magnussen wrapped FP2 as the 14th-quickest driver with a time of 1:37.285, which was 1.123 seconds better than his best lap in FP1. His quick time came on the seventh of his 17 laps shod on a set of Purple ultrasoft tires. Grosjean shaved .949 of a second off his FP1 time with a 1:38.387 earned on his eighth lap utilizing the supersoft tire. He ended the session 20th overall with 26 laps completed.
Magnussen began FP2 on Yellow soft tires and after three laps switched to ultrasofts. Grosjean started on supersofts and ran eight laps before changing to ultrasofts.
Hamilton stayed atop the leaderboard, setting the pace in FP2 with a 1:34.668 that was .397 of a second faster than next best Max Verstappen of Red Bull. In addition to setting quick time, Hamilton also set a new track record, breaking his own mark of 1:34.999 earned during qualifying for last year’s United States Grand Prix.
Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 76 laps – 43 by Grosjean and 33 by Magnussen.