Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MP4-5, Suzuka, 2016

Mercedes almost two seconds ahead in first practice

2016 United States Grand Prix first practice

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The Mercedes drivers occupied their customary position at the top of the times sheets in first practice for the United States Grand Prix, but with an inflated margin over their rivals.

Lewis Hamilton’s best time put him almost two seconds ahead of the closest non-Mercedes driver. He set the pace on soft tyres while third-placed Max Verstappen was 1.9 seconds slower on the mediums. Kimi Raikkonen was a similar gap behind on softs.

The Force India of Nico Hulkenberg appeared in fifth and Valtteri Bottas made it five different teams in the top six at the wheel of his Williams.

Both Toro Rosso drivers made it into the top ten, Daniil Kvyat experiencing a quick spin during his run.

A few drivers hit trouble during the session. Jenson Button was told to pit in the final minutes and Marcus Ericsson slowed with an apparent loss of drive from his power unit.

The Virtual Safety Car was briefly deployed due to debris – one piece shattered Sebastian Vettel’s right-hand wing mirror. Romain Grosjean lost a part from his Haas late in the session, and both he and Esteban Gutierrez stopped at the end of the pits shortly before the session ended. Gutierrez stalled his car and Grosjean found he couldn’t engage first gear.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.42825
26Nico RosbergMercedes1’37.7430.31527
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’39.3791.95128
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’39.4071.97921
527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’39.7122.28427
677Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’39.7762.34830
73Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’39.9632.53526
85Sebastian VettelFerrari1’39.9882.56015
926Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.1312.70316
1055Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.1402.71226
1119Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’40.1912.76327
1212Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’40.2872.85916
1314Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’40.3622.93426
148Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’40.8263.39815
1521Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’40.9703.54215
169Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’41.1703.74217
1734Alfonso CelisForce India-Mercedes1’41.4223.99427
1822Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’41.6634.23521
1920Kevin MagnussenRenault1’41.9424.51422
2042Jordan KingManor-Mercedes1’42.0124.58429
2130Jolyon PalmerRenault1’42.3324.90431
2231Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’43.8746.44627

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’37.428

+0.315 Nico Rosberg – 1’37.743

+1.951 Max Verstappen – 1’39.379

+1.979 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’39.407

+2.284 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’39.712

+2.348 Valtteri Bottas – 1’39.776

+2.535 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’39.963

+2.560 Sebastian Vettel – 1’39.988

+2.703 Daniil Kvyat – 1’40.131

+2.712 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’40.140

+2.763 Felipe Massa – 1’40.191

+2.859 Felipe Nasr – 1’40.287

+2.934 Fernando Alonso – 1’40.362

+3.398 Romain Grosjean – 1’40.826

+3.542 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’40.970

+3.742 Marcus Ericsson – 1’41.170

+3.994 Alfonso Celis – 1’41.422

+4.235 Jenson Button – 1’41.663

+4.514 Kevin Magnussen – 1’41.942

+4.584 Jordan King – 1’42.012

+4.904 Jolyon Palmer – 1’42.332

+6.446 Esteban Ocon – 1’43.874

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Mercedes almost two seconds ahead in first practice”

  1. King 2 seconds faster than Ocon!

    1. now please inform us of the car set up so we can tell the actual difference between the two drivers/cars.

      if you think FP1 times mean anything to a midfield/bottom end team I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

      1. It was just a statement, chill out

      2. The Duke, interested.

        Is it burnt or can it take Lewis back to a championship next year?

  2. Also as I predicted Celis was rubbish and 12 places down to Hulk. Haas have a nightmare in front of the home crowd, won’t do them any good. And McLaren, you said Suzuka was a one-off…

    1. Do you always get that excited on a Friday morning?
      Just a hint: If there’s a gap of 2 seconds between team mates in free practice, driver performance is actually the least probable explanation …

      1. Exactly, but hey, we don’t well informed fans who understand the sport. We want drama! WWF!

    2. It was a one off. They’re back to their normal position, knocking on the door of the top 10

      1. Button was 18th

        1. First practice hardly means anything anyways. Look where they are in second practice

  3. Great article! @keithcollantine can you add a column for tyre that the above time was set on in the table above? It would really help. Thanks.

  4. Hmm 4/10 to MAG..PAL should use all gears now…

  5. Hmmm…
    2 seconds in FP1. Dayum. But atleast Hamilton is in front like I predicted.

    But still 2 seconds…. Howcome? RbR didnt use softs, engine saving by Ferrari? They are good these Mercedes boiz.

  6. reading this article you’d think were back to the start of the 2014 season. There is no end in site it seems :-(

    1. Mercedes have dominated this season more emphatically than 2014. I don’t think I can see another season of this kind of dominance

  7. Is button using the upgraded engine? Love the site and the comment section!

    1. Yes, he fitted it at Suzuka. And thank you!

Comments are closed.