AUSTIN – Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the pace in first practice on Friday for the U.S. Grand Prix while Lewis Hamilton, sitting on the brink of a sixth drivers' title, chilled on a cold day.
Verstappen, who was stripped of his Mexican Grand Prix pole last Saturday after failing to slow for yellow warning flags, appeared determined to get on the front row in Austin, lapping the Circuit of the Americas with a fastest lap of one minute 34.057 seconds.
The Dutchman was 0.169 quicker than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who was best of the rest.
Hamilton, a six-time winner of the U.S. Grand Prix, spent most of the 90-minute practice testing tyres before getting on softs late in the session to jump up the timing sheets and put his Mercedes into eighth place.
Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas, the only driver still with a chance of overtaking Hamilton in the drivers' standings, was 17th best.