Vettel fastest as F1 returns to America

Vettel fastest as F1 returns to America

16 November 2012 – Championship leader Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets as Formula 1 enjoyed its first taste of Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on Friday morning. Fitting a new set of tyres for the extremely slippery new track surface, the Red Bull driver led the way from Lewis Hamilton and title rival Fernando Alonso.

F1 had been yet to visit the United States for five years, but almost three decades have passed since the sport was last in Texas. On that occasion it was Dallas and 1984. This time a brand-new, purpose-built, Hermann Tilke-designed venue is the setting and the only new circuit on the calendar this year. On a dry but cool morning, this was the start of the weekend which could decide the world title in Vettel’s favour.

The field was given one extra set of Slick tyres in order to learn the course - completely ‘green’ and complete with a layer of construction dust, having been laid just months ago. To nobody’s great surprise, a number of cars suffered off-track excursions and spins. The spectacular, uphill Turn 1 instantly proved popular but it was penultimate corner Turn 19 which caught out most.

1978 World Champion Mario Andretti watched on from the pit lane, but it was the current title holder who kicked off his 100th Grand Prix weekend in confident fashion by posting a lap time of 1:38.125. This saw off Hamilton by almost one and a half seconds, with over ten seconds separating the entire field, but lap times and margins remain somewhat irrelevant as the track conditions continue to improve.

Behind the top three, Jenson Button and Mark Webber completed the leading quintet from Felipe Massa, Nico Hülkenberg (who spun twice), Kamui Kobayashi (who made history by posting the circuit’s first ever lap time), Nico Rosberg and Sergio Pérez. All drivers complained of a distinct lack of adhesion as numerous first-time F1 visitors flocked to the scene. VIPs looked on from the striking viewing tower located on the infield, which features a glass floor looking onto the paddock.

Other factors contributing to remarkably slow and varied lap times are the fact that the session began one hour earlier than usual, that no support series had been on-track previously and that the surface temperature dropped by three degrees to just 15°C (59°F) midway through the 90-minute period. There is now a break of two and a half hours in which the teams are frantically working to improve their car setups, although ideal configurations are unlikely to be found before qualifying tomorrow.

As Vettel improved at the end of the session, Dhabi winner Kimi Räikkönen – who had been first on-track earlier today – parked his Lotus at the end of the pit lane.


Second practice begins at 1pm local time (GMT -6) and can also be tracked via the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Friday 9 December 2016

  2. Malja switches to Racing Engineering 09:27

    Malja switches to Racing Engineering

    Gustav Malja will make the switch to Racing Engineering for the 2017 campaign, following his appearance at the recent…

    GP2
  3. Brown eyes McLaren title sponsor by 2018 09:02

    Brown eyes McLaren title sponsor by 2018

    New McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown has set his sights on securing a title sponsor by the 2018 season, conceding that there…

    F1
  4. Force India sets 'stretch objective' of third 07:34

    Force India sets 'stretch objective' of third

    Force India is capable of challenging for third position in the Formula 1 standings in 2017, off the back of its most successful…

    F1
  5. Video of the Day: Formula 1 cars at Daytona 05:26

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 cars at Daytona

    Ferrari's F1 Clienti single-seaters hit the legendary Daytona Speedway at the recent Finali Mondiali.

    F1
  6. Thursday 8 December 2016

  7. Video: 4x4 thrill ride with Nico Rosberg 16:12

    Video: 4x4 thrill ride with Nico Rosberg

    Competition winners join Nico Rosberg for a thrilling off-road experience at Mercedes-Benz World.

    F1
  8. Overview: Search to replace Rosberg 15:08

    Overview: Search to replace Rosberg

    Ever since Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from Formula 1, one question has been asked: who will replace him and line-up…

    F1
  9. Silverstone to open motorsport museum 14:35

    Silverstone to open motorsport museum

    A museum is to open at Silverstone after being awarded a £9.1 million lottery grant. Silverstone Heritage Experience, which…

    F1
  10. Paul Ricard confirms layout, race slot 12:10

    Paul Ricard confirms layout, race slot

    Paul Ricard will use its 5.8km track layout, featuring a chicane on the Mistral Straight, and hold a late-August slot when it…

    F1
  11. Force India protégé joins Carlin's F3 effort 10:10

    Force India protégé joins Carlin's F3 effort

    Force India academy driver Jehan Daruvala will graduate to the European Formula 3 Championship next season, becoming the second…

    F3
  12. Wolff: Bottas 'very important' to Williams 09:55

    Wolff: Bottas 'very important' to Williams

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has suggested that he will not attempt to sign Valtteri Bottas as Nico Rosberg's replacement, given his…

    F1
  13. Villeneuve: Verstappen must be self-critical 09:02

    Villeneuve: Verstappen must be self-critical

    World Champion Jacques Villeneuve says that Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen must be self-critical if he is to fulfil his…

    F1
  14. Gasly aims to be on grid for French GP 07:28

    Gasly aims to be on grid for French GP

    New GP2 champion Pierre Gasly says that he is determined to secure a place on the Formula 1 grid for the French Grand Prix's…

    F1
  15. Video of the Day: Mercedes-Benz party 05:34

    Video of the Day: Mercedes-Benz party

    Mercedes-Benz staged its annual, action-packed motorsport celebration in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, last weekend, with recent…

    F1
  16. Wednesday 7 December 2016

  17. 18:32

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  18. Chilton stays in IndyCar with Ganassi 18:09

    Chilton stays in IndyCar with Ganassi

    Max Chilton will remain in the IndyCar series with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2017. Chilton, 25, made the switch from Formula 1…

    Indy
  19. Carlin names Habsburg as first F3 driver 15:47

    Carlin names Habsburg as first F3 driver

    Carlin has announced its first driver signing for the 2017 European Formula 3 season, with Euroformula Open runner-up Ferdinand…

    F3
  20. Marko: Both Red Bull drivers locked in 15:09

    Marko: Both Red Bull drivers locked in

    Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has made clear that both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are under binding contracts, amid…

    F1
  21. Kvyat calls for driver vote over halo device 14:04

    Kvyat calls for driver vote over halo device

    Daniil Kvyat has called for a driver vote on the 'halo' in order to provide governing body the FIA with a clear answer over…

    F1
  22. Repsol extends Honda deal through 2018 13:11

    Repsol extends Honda deal through 2018

    Spanish energy company Repsol has extended its MotoGP sponsorship contract with Honda until the end of 2018, the Japanese…

    MotoGP
  23. MotoGP presents updated 2017 calendar 12:36

    MotoGP presents updated 2017 calendar

    MotoGP organisers have presented an updated calendar for the 2017 season, with the German Grand Prix brought forward to early…

    MotoGP
  24. Ricciardo: Verstappen arrival 'pushed me on' 11:51

    Ricciardo: Verstappen arrival 'pushed me on'

    Daniel Ricciardo has explained that Max Verstappen's race-winning arrival at Red Bull "pushed me on" for the remainder of the…

    F1
  25. Rahal signs Servia for Indy 500, view to more 10:27

    Rahal signs Servia for Indy 500, view to more

    Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has signed Oriol Servià to compete in next year's Indianapolis 500, with a view to adding more…

    Indy
  26. Michelin: Return a 'tremendous challenge' 09:03

    Michelin: Return a 'tremendous challenge'

    Michelin can be proud after overcoming the "tremendous challenge" of its comeback as sole MotoGP tyre supplier in 2016…

    MotoGP
  27. Red Bull: Gasly can still have F1 future 07:28

    Red Bull: Gasly can still have F1 future

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says that Pierre Gasly can still have a future in Formula 1, despite the newly-crowned GP2…

    F1
  28. Video of the Day: Force India's academy star 05:36

    Video of the Day: Force India's academy star

    Discover more about the developing career of Mumbai-born Force India academy driver Jehan Daruvala.

    Misc
  29. Tuesday 6 December 2016

  30. Provisional 2017 F1 entry list revealed 18:49

    Provisional 2017 F1 entry list revealed

    Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, has issued the provisional entry list for the 2017 season, with Stoffel Vandoorne revealed…

    F1
  31. King 'happy' with Manor Formula 1 displays 15:14

    King 'happy' with Manor Formula 1 displays

    Jordan King says he "feels happy" with the performances he delivered during his pair of Formula 1 practice outings with Manor in…

    F1
  32. Video: Vettel, Räikkönen at Finali Mondiali 14:02

    Video: Vettel, Räikkönen at Finali Mondiali

    Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen put on a show at the 'Finali Mondiali' at Daytona.

    F1
  33. Formula V8 3.5 adds 'World Series' to name 12:32

    Formula V8 3.5 adds 'World Series' to name

    Formula V8 3.5 promoter RPM has announced that the series will tweak its name for 2017, adding in 'World Series', following…

    FV8 3.5
  34. Red Bull/Aston Martin tie-up to continue 10:30

    Red Bull/Aston Martin tie-up to continue

    Red Bull has announced that its collaboration with British luxury sportscar manufacturer Aston Martin, centred on the design of…

    F1
  35. Mercedes considering Alonso for vacancy 10:00

    Mercedes considering Alonso for vacancy

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the team is considering Fernando Alonso as Nico Rosberg's replacement, describing him…

    F1
  36. F1 penalties: Who topped 2016's charts? 09:02

    F1 penalties: Who topped 2016's charts?

    Formula 1 currently manages driving offences through reprimands and penalty points, held on individual Super Licences. But who…

    F1
  37. Marchionne: Ferrari has found 'solution' 07:32

    Marchionne: Ferrari has found 'solution'

    Ferrari now has a "solution" to return to the front of the Formula 1 grid, after its win-less 2016 campaign, according to brand…

    F1
  38. Video of the Day: Prema drivers on GP2 05:37

    Video of the Day: Prema drivers on GP2

    Prema team-mates Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi reflect on finishing first and second in GP2.

    GP2
  39. Monday 5 December 2016

  40. French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi 15:58

    French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi

    Organisers behind the returning French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard have dedicated the development to late Formula 1 driver Jules…

    F1
  41. Overview: History of the French Grand Prix 15:12

    Overview: History of the French Grand Prix

    It was announced earlier on Monday that the French Grand Prix will return at Paul Ricard from 2018. GPUpdate.net looks back at…

    F1
  42. French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed 13:41

    French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed

    Formula 1 will again feature the French Grand Prix on its calendar from the 2018 season, with a five-year deal to stage the…

    F1
  43. McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave 12:39

    McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave

    Fernando Alonso will not be leaving McLaren to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, according to…

    F1
  44. Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes 10:32

    Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes

    Pascal Wehrlein says he would feel "ready for the job" of replacing Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, following the…

    F1
  45. Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge 10:02

    Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge

    Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says he expects the team to be in a position to challenge Mercedes for both Drivers…

    F1
more news