Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the second practice session ahead of the United States Grand Prix, the Mercedes driver set his fastest time of a 33.232 to go three tenths faster than the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. The Mercedes driver benefited from the tow, and appeared faster in the middle sector.
Hamilton looks set to wrap up his sixth world title this weekend if he beats teammate Valtteri Bottas. The Englishman appeared to flow his way around the circuit and also looked to have a clear advantage over the Ferrari, on both the single lap and race pace.
Leclerc set the pace early on before Romain Grosjean crashed exiting Turn Five and hit the barrier head, setting a 34.434 on the medium tyres. That put the Monacan ahead before Hamilton put himself ahead using the hard tyres.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, the last of the frontrunners to set a time on mediums, lapping 0.315s off the pace and 0.343s ahead of fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel survived a late spin while on the hard tyres to be two and a half seconds of the pace. He remained a tenth and a half ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, the Finn asked where he had lost time, a combination of not having a Hamilton-lie tow and time lost on the straights, which he was also told was down to “something else probably”.
Alex Albon was slowest of the top six drivers, the British-Thai driver was a second off the outright pace and seven hundredths faster than the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly.
Gasly declared “that’s a good lap” after he jumped up to seventh place with a time good enough to keep him well-clear of eighth fastest Carlos Sainz’s McLaren. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll set a time late on to jump into the top ten, ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.
The Italian survived a spin when his rear stepped out coming through the Turn 6 right-hander, with his initial correction firing the car in the opposite direction to the original moment.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was over three-quarters of a second slower eleventh fastest. He survived a moment at Turn Nine going tenth ahead of the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, with his teammate Nico Hulkenberg thirteenth.
Lando Norris was fourteenth thirteenth ahead of Sergio Perez. Kimi Raikkonen was sixteenth fastest with a lap 2.155s off the pace, just ahead of the first driver to set a time on softs, Haas’s Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen’s teammate Romain Grosjean was eighteenth.
The Frenchman’s pace on the mediums before going off and bringing his afternoon to a premature end on his fourth lap was good enough to secure eighteenth place, with the two Williams drivers nineteenth and twentieth, Russell was the quicker of the pair, lapping just over half-a-second faster than Kubica.