FP1 Report: Mercedes around one second ahead of Red Bull around COTA

22-10-2021 18:30 | Updated: 22-10-2021 18:39
Breaking News
FP1 Report: Mercedes around one second ahead of Red Bull around COTA

Valtteri Bottas has topped the first free practice session of the United States Grand Prix weekend. The Mercedes driver confirmed he will use his sixth internal combustion engine of the season this weekend and therefore takes another grid penalty. The leader of the session ebbed and flowed between Mercedes and Red Bull, but the German team pulled ahead by one full second in the final quarter. 

During the session, Mercedes confirmed Valtteri Bottas is using another new internal combustion engine. It is Bottas' sixth of the season, after very recent changes. Hamilton also took a new ICE for the Turkish Grand Prix. 

Alonso had an issue with his car in the opening five minutes of the session. But Alpine managed to get the car back into the garage during the session, and seemingly fixed as the Spaniard returned to the circuit for the second half. 

False start 

The session got underway with Sergio Perez coming out first. However, the first green flag didn't last long as Alpine told Fernando Alonso to stop the car with an engine issue. As the marshals rolled the car away, liquid dripped from the car. The Alpine pit crew were unsure what happened with the car, but stopped the car as a precaution from the data. 

The session restarted with a flurry of cars emerging from the pitlane. After the first 15 minutes, Perez sat at the top of the timesheets. But Hamilton worked his way to the top of the timesheets, with just 0.077 seconds separating him from his Dutch rival on just the first lap of the weekend. 

With the soft tyres, Hamilton improved his time to 1:36.381 but reported his tyres were overheating. Verstappen regained the lead with around 20 minutes of the session left. But Mercedes seemingly turned everything up with their two drivers moving one full second faster than Red Bull in the final part of the session. 

In the Constructors battle for third place, Ferrari looked stronger than the McLaren cars. Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz sat inside the top five places whilst Daniel Ricciardo didn't reach the top 10. Lando Norris performed stronger, but the Brit had a bad lock up and ruined a set of soft tyres. 

Both Charles Leclerc and Nikita Mazepin ran wide and across the gravel during the session but neither driver caused a red flag stoppage. Late in the session, Perez had a little bit of contact with Mick Schumacher, and Kimi Raikkonen spun at the exit of turn nine. All cars were able to drive away. 

Video player

More videos

  • Small
  • Big