Valtteri Bottas emerged fastest in Friday Practice for 2021 US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA.
Bottas set the day’s fastest overall time in FP1 before finishing fourth in FP2 on a day where traffic issues proved tricky, as Max Verstappen discovered in FP2 to his cost after failing to set a qualifying simulation time.
Sergio Perez meanwhile emerged fastest in FP2 but his session-topping time ultimately fell 0.072s short of equalling Bottas’ FP1 effort for the fastest overall time of Friday Practice.
Now here is a full roundup of Friday Practice at 2021 US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Sergio Perez was first out on track but the session was quickly halted two minutes into the session after Fernando Alonso stopped his Alpine at Turn 12 with a mechanical issue, which ultimately caused a ten minute red flag.
Once the session resumed, Hamilton immediately set the pace on soft tyres as he eventually lowered his benchmark time in the opening 30 minutes to 1m 336.381 despite reporting “overheating” issues, despite briefly being displaced by Perez on the hard tyre compound as the Mexican posted 1m 36.798.
Charles Leclerc meanwhile suffered a spin after hitting a bump at Turn Five having arrived at the corner too quickly for his car to handle, although he escaped unharmed with the car avoiding the barriers.
Verstappen went top in the 37th minute on soft tyres as he posted 1m 36.049 in his first qualifying simulation, which ultimately was usurped by Valtteri Bottas with a session-topping 1m 34.874 despite confirmation of a sixth Internal Combustion Engine change and five-place grid penalty.
Hamilton and Verstappen eventually settled for second and third respectively after improving on their second qualifying simulation fliers, ahead of Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly who round out the top six.
Perez finished seventh despite being the only driver to set their fastest lap on the hard tyre as Lando Norris, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten.
Outside of the top ten, everyone but Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda and Mazepin set their best lap times on the softs, with the trio finishing 16, 18 and 20th respectively after setting their best laps on the medium tyre.
Raikkonen meanwhile encountered two spins in the closing minutes of FP1 after first getting clipped by Perez as he turned into Turn 12, before then spinning and stalling at Turn Nine after carrying too much speed on entry.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 34.874|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.045|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.932|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.460|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.634|
|6||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.737|
|7||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.924|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.981|
|9||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.000|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.002|
|11||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.092|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 2.096|
|13||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 2.098|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 2.108|
|15||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 2.194|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 2.584|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.589|
|18||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 3.080|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 3.992|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 7.365|
Several cars quickly ventured out onto the circuit once the light went green with Perez quickly setting the pace on 1m 35.883, just 0.004s ahead of Bottas with Verstappen ahead of Hamilton in third and fourth as the top four were split by less than one tenth.
Bottas improved on his next flier to post 1m 35.764 but Perez also found time as he went 0.048s quicker with Verstappen staying third despite improving.
Upon completion of opening runs, attention quickly switched to the qualifying simulations as Bottas went fastest in the 24th minute with 1m 35.360, only to be eclipsed briefly by Hamilton who posted 1m 34.842 to go top but his time was deleted due to him exceeding track limits at Turn 19.
Perez ultimately went fastest on the half-hour mark with a session-topping 1m 34.946 as Lando Norris recovered from a “loose” part on his first outlap earlier in session to finish second, ahead of Hamilton, Bottas and Ricciardo.
Verstappen meanwhile finished eighth after failing to even set a lap time, as the result of encountering traffic at the final corner before the start of his initial attempt, with the Dutchman then abandoning a second attempt at the end of the next lap.
That incident however wasn’t Verstappen’s only annoyance after going too slow into the final corner on an outlap just ten minutes into the session, leaving Hamilton to overtake him on the inside of the corner incurring Verstappen’s fury as he branded the Brit a “stupid idiot” for his overtake.
Race simulations proved uneventful for majority of drivers except for Alonso who lost the rear on entry to Turn 19 with three minutes left and spun backwards, although he recovered without hitting the barriers and returned straight to the pits.
Sebastian Vettel was the only driver who set his fastest lap on medium tyres as the four-time former champion finished 15th quickest.
|1||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1m 34.946|
|2||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.257|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.364|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.414|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 0.511|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.615|
|7||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.626|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.878|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.973|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.192|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.212|
|12||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.296|
|13||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.430|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.612|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 1.772|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.037|
|17||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.095|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.308|
|19||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.544|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 3.080|