United States GP | Rosberg responds to top FP2

Second free practice at the USGP topped by Nico Rosberg.

Second best as the weekend kicked off, Rosberg responded to top FP2 from Ricciardo. Hamilton had come out early with the mediums rather than the softs, but smaller gains were found when supersofts slipped on. 

First free practice at the United States Grand Prix saw Hamilton get things started with a 1:37.428 to edge out Rosberg by three-tenths of a second for the top spot.

Things in the afternoon session, however, saw the table flipped as Rosberg got the better of Hamilton by his own three-tenth margin on the supersoft tyres.

Initial runs for the Silver Arrows, too, saw Hamilton settle for second best Mercedes by a three-tenths margin. With Lewis running the hardest compound on offer this weekend, compared to the middle compound run by Rosberg.

Hamilton’s lap on the mediums also saw the Briton post the then best time through the opening sector.

When Rosberg moved atop the leaderboard, the German bettered the Red Bull’s best laps as Verstappen capitalised on a slow run by Ferrari.

Ferrari had initially sent both drivers out on the soft compound tyres in search of a double-flying lap run. But after a hot and cool down lap, the third lap did not present any gains for the Italian outfit.

Kimi was also slow on his out lap as he looked to take as little out of the tyres as possible. Unfortunately for his former team-mate, Raikkonen’s slow out lap held Fernando Alonso up as the McLaren looked to push on his out lap in order to gain heat with his medium tyres.

Unlike Ferrari, who failed to see any gains with a second run, Ricciardo was able to find more time with a second flying lap. Moving from behind to ahead of his team-mate by one-hundredth of a second.

Later runs should have resulted in gains for both Ferrari drivers. With Raikkonen posted a personal best middle sector, but ran deep at T19. Vettel conversely posted personal bests across the lap to improve by eight-tenths.

Raikkonen: “I don’t know why [I ran deep], the car is very bad at the rear,”

While Vettel improved by eight-tenths of a second, Nico Hulkenberg moved within four-tenths of his fellow German. While Mercedes’ German driver improved once more, with Rosberg himself finding eight-tenths of a second.

Rosberg’s lap saw the German post a new personal best first sector, before posting purple times in sectors two and three. While Hamilton could only post personal bests in the middle and final sectors as he found around half the expected gains between compounds.

With Hamilton only able to improve in the middle and final sectors, the window opened for Ricciardo to snatch second place. Going between the Mercedes drivers, two-tenths off the benchmark despite reporting the car “pulling to the right under braking, pretty much everywhere”.

When the session began, Pascal Wehrlein broke the silence after sitting out the morning for Jordan King to make his Grand Prix weekend debut. But the early stages of the session saw Pascal get to work, while Ocon spun off at turn 18 in the other Manor machine.

Ocon had lost control of his car before arriving at the turn 18 apex, spinning 180˚ before coming to a rest with three tyres in the gravel. With one tyre free, Esteban was able to reverse out and spin back on track. Later going P11 when on the supersoft tyres.

Esteban later found himself eventually pushed back down to P19, splitting the Haas’ duo and ahead of Ericsson & Wehrlein. With Haas struggling for performance at their first home Grand Prix.

Drivers who improved to move ahead of Ocon included Magnussen and the McLarens. With Fernando initially moving into P8, 1.4s off Rosberg, before Button demoted his team-mate by nine-hundredths of a second. only 6t gap between Button P8 and Palmer P17

Long runs were later interrupted by a red flag for debris on the track. With the small piece of debris coming to a rest through the high-speed esses.

Pos Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 33 1’37.358
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 33 1’37.552 0.194 0.194
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 32 1’37.649 0.291 0.097
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 35 1’38.178 0.82 0.529
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 27 1’38.258 0.9 0.08
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 32 1’38.508 1.15 0.25
7 Sergio Perez Force India 31 1’38.568 1.21 0.06
8 Jenson Button McLaren 29 1’38.713 1.355 0.145
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren 30 1’38.801 1.443 0.088
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 31 1’38.865 1.507 0.064
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 31 1’38.971 1.613 0.106
12 Kevin Magnussen Renault 23 1’39.159 1.801 0.188
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber 28 1’39.189 1.831 0.03
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams 34 1’39.197 1.839 0.008
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 36 1’39.202 1.844 0.005
16 Felipe Massa Williams 30 1’39.281 1.923 0.079
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 34 1’39.455 2.097 0.174
18 Romain Grosjean Haas 24 1’39.554 2.196 0.099
19 Esteban Ocon Manor 27 1’40.086 2.728 0.532
20 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 26 1’40.114 2.756 0.028
21 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 28 1’40.219 2.861 0.105
22 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 31 1’41.131 3.773 0.912