Austin, Texas – Austin specialist Lewis Hamilton has set the day's best time on the first day of training at the Circuit of the Americas. The Formula One World Champion from England, who can fix his sixth World Cup title in Texas, made a lap in 1: 33.232 minutes on Friday afternoon in the second session of the afternoon session. The US Grand Prix will take place on Sunday (starting at 20.10 CET / live ORF 1, RTL and Sky).
Directly behind the Mexico winner, who had energetic slipstream help, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc from Monaco and Red Bull's top pilot Max Verstappen landed in rather chilly conditions. Behind him came Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari and Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
In the first session, the Dutch player Verstappen had marked the fastest time in 1: 34.057 minutes ahead of Vettel and the second "Bull" Alexander Albon. Hamilton and Bottas had used the unit primarily for testing the tire prototypes for 2020. Hamilton was eighth at the end, Bottas appeared only in 17th place in the result list. Heavy bumps and grip problems had also caused some slip-ups.
Only three race victories for Ferrari
In the battle for the first grid position Ferrari had last always convinced and made it six times to the pole position, but ultimately sprang from only three race wins. Most recently, Mercedes won three times in a row. "There is still a lot of work. We have closed the gap in qualifying, but in the race, they still exist, "said Vettel. Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 22.00 (CET).
In the pole position in the race for the victory in the drivers' championship is Hamilton. An eighth place finish in Austin is enough for another triumph. He is facing his sixth title, which had previously managed only the German Michael Schumacher, who is a record holder with seven World Cup successes. The only competitor who could still challenge the British title is his team-mate Bottas. However, that would only help with three wins, while Hamilton is unlikely to score almost any points in the three outstanding races.
If Hamilton manages to defend the title again, it would be his third coup in the series. The way was not that easy this year, said the 34-year-old. "I could not sit back. The competition is stronger than ever and our car was not great everywhere, "said Hamilton at a media event. With five triumphs, the Mercedes frontman is the sole record winner at the Circuit of the Americas. (APA)