F1 US: Sainz stays ahead of Verstappen during first free practice

F1 US: Sainz stays ahead of Verstappen during first free practice

Jane Griffink

Friday, October 21, 2022 22:00 – Last update: 22:07

Carlos Sainz set the fastest time with 1:36.857 during the first US Grand Prix free practice. In his Ferrari, he beat Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Antonio Giovinazzi raised the only red flag for the course at Haas.

COTA’s first free practice session started with a strong wind, but that didn’t stop most drivers from getting out quickly. Tried different frames. Verstappen started on the soft tyre. Soon, a short-lived red flag followed where Giovinazzi ended up in a wall caused by a spider. However, the Italian, who was allowed to take command from Magnussen, managed to free Haas himself and drove into the pit lane. So the session could resume and Verstappen immediately knocked Ocon off pole in his first real run. However, Verstappen did this on a softer compound than the French.

Fast times are increasingly tightened

More than halfway through, Alonso and Vettel were surprisingly second and third respectively. They managed to get close to the fastest time, Verstappen’s time, at about half a second. Among the novices, Balu performed well. The 25-year-old Spaniard managed to keep pace with fellow McLaren driver Norris. With twenty minutes left on the clock, Hamilton also sat for a while and shot in second, just behind Verstappen. Alonso also managed to narrow his time towards Red Bull. The Spaniard was already drifting across the line and this ensured he was still a twenty off Verstappen.

Fight for fast times

Where Hamilton and Alonso had yet to steal Verstappen as quickly, Stroll succeeded. The Canadian led a fast lap and scored 1:37,460, a thousand faster than the Red Bull. Stroll couldn’t enjoy it for long, as Sainz broke into him a few minutes later. The Ferrari driver was a blow faster than the competition by six tenths. Then there was still 15 minutes to go and Hamilton made his way to second, ahead of Stroll and the Red Bulls.

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Sainz stays on top, Verstappen to P2

However, Verstappen went for it in the final stage and went to second place, twenty from Sainz. The top ten were eventually completed by Hamilton, Stroll, Perez, Alonso, Russell, Gasly, Norris and Vettel. We found the starters at the bottom of the times list.

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