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Max Verstappen with the Red Bull livery special during free practice 1 at the US Grand Prix

US Grand Prix: F1 free practice 1 results

The US Grand Prix will host the penultimate sprint race weekend with free practice one providing the only practice session this weekend. Who will be quickest in the first timed session in Texas?

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Max Verstappen tops the timesheet in free practice 1 at the US Grand Prix

The light goes green for free practice 1 at the US Grand Prix
The light goes green for free practice 1 at the US Grand Prix. (Image Credit: @F1 on X)

Formula One returns to North America for the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June. Another returning factor this weekend is Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian will make his first appearance on the F1 grid since the Dutch Grand Prix. What can he achieve in Texas?

One of the key talking points in the build-up to this weekend, aside from the alleged Red Bull power struggle, was the track-side driver posters. Instead of Lance Stroll in his Aston Martin gear, large pictures of the team’s reserve driver Felipe Drugovich were seen around COTA.

The US Grand Prix is yet another sprint weekend, with free practice one the only practice session this weekend. Texas will host the penultimate sprint weekend of 2023, with the final outing of the format scheduled for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The start of free practice one

As the light turned green to indicate the start session, many drivers were queuing in the pit lane to get out on the track. George Russell led the two Haas drivers to start free practice one. While most of the grid appeared eager to start their laps, Lando Norris and Alex Albon remained in the pit lane and left five minutes into the session.

After all 20 drivers had set a time, it was Max Verstappen at the top of the timesheet with a 1:37.687. The Dutchman was followed by Norris, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, and Russell. With Russell and Verstappen trading fastest times.

A positive start for Haas

These early times will be encouraging for Haas, who have brought a major upgrade package this weekend for both cars.

15 minutes into the session, Magnussen posted a 1:38.100. This moved the Danish driver up to P2, with the time only 0.602 slower than Verstappen. Although he was soon replaced by Lewis Hamilton, who was only 0.044 behind the Dutch driver.

Issues for Stroll

The Aston Martin driver was asked to return to the pits as the team had found an issue on the car. Stroll was asked to cool the brakes when driving in a straight line, and to be “very gentle into the box and do not use the brakes” until he needed to stop the car.

25 minutes into the session saw all 20 drivers return to the pit lane. At this point in the session only the medium and hard tyres had been used.

At the halfway mark

After the first 30 minutes of free practice one, it was Hamilton at the top of the timesheet with a 1:37.394. Verstappen, Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Magnussen, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Ricciardo, Zhou Guanyu, and Oscar Piastri rounded out the top ten. Hamilton’s teammate Russell was down in P16 with the two Alpine drivers struggling in P18 (Esteban Ocon) and P19 (Pierre Gasly).

Mercedes are another team that have brought upgrades this weekend. The Silver Arrows may see Hamilton being 0.104 ahead of the reigning world champion as an encouraging sign.

Piastri had a huge moment after clipping the orange kerb at turn eight, and came very close to either spinning the car or crashing into the wall. But the young Australian was able to save the car so he could continue in the session.

Meanwhile, having only completed five laps in free practice one, Stroll’s session came to a premature end following his early issues. The Canadian was seen exiting the back of the garage, with his team set to make some part changes to the front-left section of the car.

With less than 20 minutes to go of practice, Norris jumped to the top of the timesheet with a 1:37.256. However, it is important to note that the McLaren driver was on a new set of soft tyres, with Hamilton and Verstappen setting their times on the hard compound.

Soft tyre runs

Logan Sargeant was the first driver to set a time with the soft tyre, which elevated the American up to P4. However, his teammate went further by jumping up to P1 with a 1:36.535. But the rest of the grid were yet to try out the softest compound. On his soft tyre run, Bottas jumped up to P5 in front of Sargeant. With Zhou going ahead of his teammate in P4.

But Verstappen reclaimed P1 once again on his soft tyre run with a 1:35.912, however Hamilton and Norris were still to set their soft tyre times. Riccardo’s soft tyre run was only 0.048 slower than his teammate, which is impressive considering the Australian’s break from the sport. The Haas team continued its good form, with both drivers setting times good enough for the top five on their soft tyre runs.

As more of the top teams were setting times, Leclerc was only 0.156 behind Verstappen and Perez 0.300 behind his teammate. Hamilton’s soft tyre run was good enough for P3, behind Leclerc. Meanwhile, only the McLaren’s and Alonso had not set times with the soft tyre.

Final classification

Verstappen finished the session quickest with his soft tyre run. Leclerc, Hamilton, Perez, Magnussen, Russell, Albon, Carlos Sainz, Hulkenberg, and Gasly rounded out the top 10. The two McLaren drivers, who didn’t run the soft tyre, ended up P15 (Norris) and P19 (Piastri). Alonso also didn’t use the soft tyres and ended the session in P18. While the returning Ricciardo was down in P14 behind his teammate. With Sargeant, at his second home Grand Prix of the season, down in P11.


Feature Image Credit: @verstappendaily on X

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