Hamil­ton fastest in 1st prac­tice at US Grand Prix

Malta Independent - - SPORT / CLASSIFIEDS -

Lewis Hamil­ton has started his United States Grand Prix week­end as he means to go on by top­ping the timesheets in first free prac­tice at Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas.

The Mercedes driver, who comes into the week­end need­ing to make head­way into Nico Ros­berg's 33 point lead at the head of the stand­ings, en­joyed a trou­ble­free morn­ing to go quick­est with a 1min 37.428secs lap.

Good enough to put him three tenths clear of Ros­berg in sec­ond, he was also al­most two sec­onds faster than lead­ing Red Bull driver Max Ver­stap­pen in third po­si­tion, with Kimi Raikko­nen fol­low­ing up for Fer­rari in fourth.

Be­hind them, Force In­dia and Wil­liams showed well with Nico Hulken­berg and Valt­teri Bot­tas – run­ning the Halo at the start of the ses­sion for the first time - up in fifth and sixth po­si­tions, ahead of Daniel Ric­cia­rdo and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

Daniil Kvyat and Car­los Sainz rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth re­spec­tively for Toro Rosso, ahead of Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr, the Brazil­ian over­com­ing a brief is­sue to show well for Sauber in 12th.

Else­where, Alfonso Celis re­turned to FP1 du­ties for Force In­dia to go 17th quick­est, while GP2 race win­ner Jor­dan King made his F1 race week­end bow for Manor Rac­ing, the Bri­tish driver 20th, ahead of Jolyon Palmer and Este­ban Ocon.

Force In­dia an op­tion but STR still ‘pri­or­ity’ for Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat ad­mits Force In­dia could pro­vide a tempt­ing propo­si­tion for the 2017 For­mula 1 World Cham­pi­onship, even though he in­sists his pri­or­ity is to re­tain his seat at Toro Rosso.

With Nico Hulken­berg switch­ing to Re­nault for 2017, Force In­dia is lin­ing up a num­ber of driv­ers as po­ten­tial can­di­dates to join Ser­gio Perez in the podium win­ning team, in­clud­ing Kvyat.

As it stands, Toro Rosso is also yet to de­cide who will part­ner Car­los Sainz next sea­son, though Kvyat is ex­pected to come un­der pres­sure from GP2 ti­tle con­tender and Red Bull ju­nior Pierre Gasly for the re­main­ing seat.

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