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Formula 1 United States Grand Prix 2023

United States Grand Prix practice analysis: Hamilton on Verstappen hunt

Formula One teams had to put all the practice work into a single practice session at the United States GP before qualifying later tonight.

Hamilton US
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen got off to a flying start during the only free practice session for the United States Grand Prix.

The Dutchman went a second faster than the field straight out of the box on a set of Hard tyres as he set out to continue his dominance over F1.

But the gap quickly narrowed and Lewis Hamilton, in particular, stayed on Verstappen's trail. At one point, the Briton was even faster than the Red Bull driver.

The Mercedes driver did, however, need one more lap for that on the Hard tires, as Verstappen pitted after only three fast laps to get ready for the long run - Hamilton after four.

First laps on Hard tyres: Verstappen vs. Hamilton

Lap Verstappen Hamilton Difference
1 1.39,736 1.40,910 + 1,174
2 1.37,687 1.38,603 + 0,916
3 1.37,498 1.37,542 + 0,044
4 1.37.394 - 0,104

Soft tyres

Hamilton remained on pace with Verstappen as teams completed long-run plans ahead of the latest Sprint weekend before attention switched to Soft-tyre qualifying simulations in the closing stages.

Of the top four drivers, only Ferrari's Charles Leclerc completed two flying laps on the red-sidewalled tyres.

Whilst Verstappen finished top of the timesheets, the Dutchman was fastest only in the final sector at the Circuit of the Americas. Hamilton was faster than his old rival in both the first and second sectors - the middle sector lighting up the timing screens in purple.

Leclerc proved to be fastest on both of his laps, though the summary below shows only his fastest first effort.

Hamilton fell short of Verstappen in the final sector, leaving the difference at nearly three-tenths of a second. If the Mercedes driver manages to resolve that before qualifying, he could well become a formidable opponent for the Dutchman. The same goes for Leclerc, who may well come out strong in qualifying more often than not.

Another factor that has been underexposed in the practice sessions is track limits, with Verstappen crossing the boundaries on numerous occasions.

Check the sector times below. * indicates a purple sector.

Fastest lap on soft tires VER vs. HAM. vs. LEC vs. PER.

1. 25.860 25.892 25.830* 26.005
2. 38.675 38.722 38,652 38.725
3. 31.377* 31.454 31.711 31.482
Lap 1:35.912 1:36.068 1:36.193 1:36.212

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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