Hamilton beats Leclerc to finish Free Practice 2 fastest in Austin

by Tom Cairns
Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in the 2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas - Free Practice 1

Lewis Hamilton finished his Friday running by setting the fastest time in Free Practice 2 at the Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix.

The Brit’s place at the top was held by Charles Leclerc in the opening ten minutes, beating Valtteri Bottas by more than three tenths, with Alexander Albon another three tenths in third at the time.

The session was halted a minute later after Romain Grosjean‘s spin in the fast complex of turns three, four, five and six, sent his Haas F1 Team car into the barrier and brought out the red flag for seven minutes.

After Free Practice 2 resumed, Leclerc went even quicker on a 1:34.434, as Max Verstappen leapt into second by clocking a time that was less than three tenths slower. Lewis Hamilton was third with half an hour gone on a 1:35.078, as the champion elect completed his time on the hard-compound tyres, unlike the top two on the medium.

The order after the first thirty minutes was Leclerc, Verstappen, Hamilton, Albon, Bottas and Sebastian Vettel making up the top six.

Moments later saw Hamilton continue to improve on his hard tyres, as his time was less than two tenths behind Leclerc, thus moving up to second.

With forty-eight minutes remaining, Valtteri Bottas was the first driver from the top teams to set a time on the soft compound, going ahead of Leclerc by over three tenths, followed by Sebastian Vettel’s 1:33.890 that topped the session by this point.

Charles Leclerc was next to be the fastest man, as his time on the soft tyres saw him above of his German team-mate by over three tenths of a second. Lewis Hamilton inherited first position with a 1:33.232.

Alexander Albon’s first attempt on the softs saw him a full second adrift of the fastest time but his personal lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn Nineteen. The Thai driver went again to post a legal time of 1:34.434, 1.2 seconds off his former GP3 Series rival Leclerc.

Qualifying simulations were completed with thirty minutes to go to allow the teams to do their usual race simulations for Sunday.

By the end of Free Practice 2, Hamilton ended the session on top ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen. Vettel was fourth despite a spin in the final sector during his stint on the hard tyres.

2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas: Free Practice 2 Classification

144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport1:33.232
216Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+0.301
333Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing+0.315
45Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari+0.658
577Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport+0.813
623Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing+1.202
710Pierre GaslyFRARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+1.277
855Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team+1.435
918Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+1.512
1099Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing+1.607
113Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team+1.692
1226Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+1.743
1327Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team+1.756
144Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+1.793
1511Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+1.877
167Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing+2.155
1720Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team+2.210
188Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team+2.557
1963George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing+3.517
2088Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing+4.051

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